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200 × 120 × 15 mm
136 pages
01 Feb 2015
  • £15.00

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The Making of a Man Notes on Transsexuality Maxim Februari

In autumn 2012, writer and philosopher Maxim Februari – known until then as Marjolijn Februari – announced that he intended to live as a man. The reactions that greeted Februari, ranging from interest to concern and unease, made it clear that most of us don’t know what or how to think about transsexuality. Drawing on deeply personal experiences, The Making of a Man: Notes on Transsexuality explores this lack of understanding about gender, sex and identity.

The process of changing sex is a lengthy one, but to the outside world it takes place as a fairly abrupt switch. Over just 24 hours, as the testosterone took effect, Februari started to find himself addressed as a man rather than a woman. ‘What had changed?’, he asks. ‘I hadn’t had a haircut, I wasn’t wearing different clothes; it was just that the testosterone had altered the subtle signals by which my body suggested its sex.’

How are the sexual organs altered in a sex change? What are the clinical effects of testosterone? How is transsexuality dealt with by the law? This book covers these questions and many more. It also challenges the words we use to describe sex and gender, such as the seemingly minor but critical difference between the terms ‘transsexual’ and ‘transgender’, explores our stereotypes of effeminate men and butch women, and looks at the fine line between acceptance and prejudice. Februari also discusses the curious requirement in many countries that one must demonstrate a psychological disturbance – a ‘gender identity disorder’ – to be granted sex change therapy.

With his characteristically clear voice combined with intimate – sometimes moving, sometimes funny – ruminations, The Making of a Man wakes readers up to the ways, big and small, that our world is structured by sex and gender.

‘In his provocative new book, The Making of a Man, the Dutch novelist and newspaper columnist reveals with humor and insight what a body in transition goes through under the influence of testosterone . . . While details like these illuminate the journey of the transsexual, Februari has created something far more than a portrait of gender evolution . . . Februari has done our culture a service . . . His intellect and honesty allow us to see gender, in all its manifestations, as simply one component of the complicated human experience. Februari leads us away from a common belief that our perception of ourselves as male or female is determined by our genitals.’ — Washington Post

‘After announcing his intention to live as a man in 2012, Maxim Februari was faced with many reactions, ranging from uneasiness to overt interest, all marked by ignorance. In The Making of a Man he examines many of the questions faced by himself and others in the process of transitioning . . . a fascinating read.’ — Attitude

The Making of a Man has a little bit of everything in it . . . useful as a nonthreatening way to introduce a topic that still sets off alarms in many peoples heads.’ — Popmatters

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Maxim Februari is the award-winning author of essays and two novels, including The Book Club (2011), and is a columnist for the newspaper NRC Handelsblad.

1. Identity: Gender and Sex
2. Language and Etiquette: What You Should and Shouldn’t Say
3. Rules and Laws
4. Body
5. Society: The Tensions Surrounding the Transition
6. Testosterone
7. Relationships
8. Woman: “If I Were a Man…”
9. Man: “As if Men Have it So Easy!”
10. Famous Figures
Acknowledgements and Sources