Gender blending, or transgenderism, is at the cutting edge of contemporary debates about sex, sexuality and gender. The term ‘transgender’ includes transvestites, transsexuals, drag queens, gender benders and all gender blenders, whether straight or gay, who in their cross-dressing and sex- changing ‘transgress’ the binary divide between the sexes. Blending Genders is concerned with those who attempt to blend various aspects of genders, either in respect of themselves or others. The book describes the personal experiences of those who cross-dress and sex-change, and details how they organise themselves socially—in both ‘outsider’ and ‘respectable’ communities. The authors consider the dominant medical framework through which cross-dressing and sex-changing are predominantly viewed. A comprehensive treatment is afforded to gender blending in literature, the press and the recently emerged telephone sex lines. The book concludes with a discussion of the lively debates that have taken place concerning the politics of transgenderism in recent years, and examines its prominence in recent contributions to contemporary cultural and queer theory. Blending Genders is the first comprehensive treatment of the social aspects of cross- dressing and sex-changing and, as such, can rightly lay first claim to an emerging field of transgender studies.
By Richard Ekins, 1996