Daniela Jauk and Kathryn Feltey review Imagining Transgender by David Valentine; an ethnography based on observations of the transgender community in New York City. It is the Ruth Benedict Book Prize winner of 2007 and the Lambda Literary Award Finalist for 2008. It is structured into three parts: The category “transgender”, transgender community and identity issues; and the emergence of transgender studies. The book brings together theoretical and political questions, rigorous qualitative research, and thick empirical descriptions about a “population” which, over the last two decades, has become politically important and increasingly influential in the United States (Currah et al. 2008; Stryker 2008). Success of the transgender movement is mirrored in the first federal legislation in the US to include gender identity discrimination: The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act was signed into law in October 2009.
By Daniela Jauk, Kathryn Feltey, 2010