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The Transgender Issue


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About the Author

Shon Faye was born in Bristol, and is now based in London. After training as a lawyer, she left the law to pursue writing and campaigning, working in the charity sector with Amnesty International and Stonewall. She was an editor-at-large at Dazed, and her writing has been published by the Guardian, the Independent and Vice, among others. Faye recently launched an acclaimed podcast series, Call Me Mother, interviewing trailblazing LGBTQ elders. This is her first book.


Few books are as urgent as Shon Faye's debut ... The analysis is thorough and heartbreaking ... it's a highly fact-based book backed up with statistics and case studies, but she manages to write it in a hugely emotive and powerful way ... Faye has hope for the future - and maybe so should we.

Faye puts forward a powerful case not of what separates us but what brings us together. Above all, her book is a cry for compassion for an embattled community and a plea to be treated with dignity and fairness. It is, surely, the very least anyone can do.
*The Guardian*

I am profoundly grateful that [this book] exists ... A book such as this one, in which a trans person has the opportunity to speak clearly and compellingly on their own terms, is a vitally needed antidote ... One book cannot, of course, outweigh such a continual outpouring of animosity. Nevertheless, as drops in the bucket go, this book is an important and weighty one.
*The Observer*

Enter Shon Faye. The journalist and former lawyer might have gathered a following on Twitter for her wry humor, but her first book offers a cold, hard, and, most importantly, convincing look into the facts surrounding trans rights both past and present, as well as a moving and impressively comprehensive overview of trans life in Britain today. Leavened by Faye's sharp, sparkling writing style ... The Transgender Issue is a vital resource for readers outside of the U.K. to understand just what is happening there in terms of trans rights - and how to bring about a long-overdue change to the conversation.

A detailed overview of the systemic violence and discrimination trans people face in Britain today ... [Faye is] sanguine, relaxed, and funny while eloquently delivering complex philosophical arguments which, as she explains them, sound so obvious that you wonder why you've never thought of them before ... The Transgender Issue is fundamentally not a culture-war book. It operates outside the narrow coverage of trans people in the mainstream, and lays bare the inarguable facts of being trans: that's it's rare, that it's misunderstood, that society makes it dangerous.
*New Statesman*

A welcome contribution to the trans debate ... Faye has written a clear and concise analysis of the presenting issues for trans people today.
*Evening Standard*

Faye's language is precise and the arguments well evidenced. This will be a challenging book for those lulled by the nonsense that sometimes passes for journalism about trans lives ... I don't recall a work like Shon Faye's that takes the status quo by the lapels and gives it such a shaking.
*Times Literary Supplement*

Draws on wide-ranging research to make her arguments ... Faye is highly intelligent and writes with compassion and clarity about marginalised groups that suffer a lot.
*Sunday Times*

Sets the record straight on a lot of subjects, many of which are hard to misrepresent with the facts in front of you ... Once picked up, the book was hard to set down ... The book isn't just about highlighting problems - there are plenty of solutions offered, many of them radical.

The Transgender Issue, argues this [feminist] inheritance with energy and clarity ... Faye writes well.

Incisive and illuminating in addressing myriad aspects of trans life in the UK, without ever being dogmatic.

An important work of non-fiction that should change the tired conversation we've been having about trans people. Not only that, it's a book for anyone who cares about building a fairer and more just society.

A passionately reasoned defence ... If you know what you think about all this, she - Faye - might move you to think again.
*The Times Books of the Year 2021*

Shon Faye has written a book that models clarity in its writing and its moral vision. Focused on the UK, this book will doubtless have a strong and lasting impact in the world. One learns here how to distinguish between arguments that merit a response and those which should be refused because they are either cruel or stupid. This is a monumental work and utterly convincing - crystal clear in its understanding of how the world should be.
*Judith Butler, Professor, University of California Berkeley*

The Transgender Issue is an urgent interrogation of the manufactured moral panic which scapegoats and marginalises trans people. With precision, wit, and clarity, Shon Faye exposes how cultural and institutional discrimination against transgender people makes all of us less free. If you're sick of seeing people's humanity reduced to cannon fodder for the culture war, read this book.
*Ash Sarkar*

This book feels like a moment. In clear and eloquent writing, Shon Faye expands the discussion around trans history and experience, the huge impact on BAME trans people, and how economic and political inequalities intersect with trans experience. It's heartfelt but analytical, in-depth and utterly humane. Faye, with calm intelligence, unpacks so many of the problematic ways trans people are marginalised and discriminated against, with so many acts of violence perpetrated on trans bodies. I learned a lot from this book and it adds hugely to a wider conversation around inclusion of and support for our trans sisters and brothers. A landmark piece of work.
*Sinéad Gleeson*

A clear, intelligent, experience-based explanation of why the scapegoating of trans people must stop, while enthusiastically encouraging more trans people to join feminist, anti-racist movements for economic and social change.
*Sarah Schulman*

There is a full-blown moral panic under way in Britain about trans people, and The Transgender Issue is the wake-up call we need. It is an inspiring call for coalition, across the divides of class, race, sexual identity and gender. Shon Faye shows with courage and clarity that the struggle of trans people is the struggle of us all. This book is a game-changer.
*Owen Jones*

From the very first words of The Transgender Issue, it is clear the reader is in the hands of someone with absolute clarity about the world we live in, and the one we deserve. ... Refusing to water down the radicalism and urgency of her demands, Shon's argument for justice is both a heartfelt outcry against injustice, and an utterly convincing vision for change rooted in analysis and research.
*Florence Welch*

Writing with astonishing patience, clarity, and ethical force, Shon Faye has gifted us an essential primer for our times. The Transgender Issue calls us into a much-needed solidarity, and makes the project of constructing and inhabiting a more free and just world for everyone feel urgent, possible, and exhilarating.
*Maggie Nelson, author of ON FREEDOM*

With clarity, precision and great humanity, Faye definitively draws to a close the harmful debate on trans lives, supporting her findings with iron-clad evidence. Truly the final word on the matter, this is a book for anyone who wants our society to be a kinder, fairer, more inclusive one.
*Juno Dawson*

With extraordinary clarity and intellectual vigour, Shon Faye cuts through the concern-trolling, the sly bigotry, and the unserious moral panics that so often characterise the discourse surrounding transgender lives. Though she writes out of the authority of experience, her work transcends the personal, making a plain and impassioned case for solidarity and human rights. The result is an invigorating and deeply researched polemic, and a necessary addition to the evolving conversation on civil rights in the twenty-first century.
*Mark O'Connell*

An extraordinary achievement. A smart, academic and yet totally accessible and patient analysis of what it is to be trans in the UK today and a convincing argument for how we can and must improve ... I urge everyone to read it.
*Joe Lycett*

An utterly monumental work. A bullet proof text that places trans people at the centre of the conversation, and puts forth a vision of the world that can liberate us all. A truly exhilarating book.
*Amrou Al-Kadhi*

An important, thorough and excellently written book by the legendary Shon Faye. Buy it. Share it. Support her work. She is a fearless leader in this conversation.
*Jameela Jamil*

Everyone should read this.
*Little Mix*

I recommend everyone reads The Transgender Issue, which is a great starting point to learn about what it's like to be a trans person in Britain at the moment. At the end of the day, we simply can't do this work on our own.

A forward-thinking analysis of how capitalist and patriarchal systems backseat trans liberation ... a vital read that clearly communicates the extent of how deeply anti-transness is embedded in our society and how much work is to be done to achieve trans liberation.
*Gay Times Book of the Year 2021*

This vital, lucid book is so much more than an argument for justice on behalf of transgender people; it's a clarion call for gender liberation, a tonic for our politically reactionary times.
*Susan Stryker, author of TRANSGENDER HISTORY*

Shon Faye's work [has] so informed me and made me feel hopeful and human ... do read The Transgender Issue if you want someone to clearly and calmly explain UK trans politics in a voice that's both wry and kind.
*Alexandra Heminsley, author of SOME BODY TO LOVE*

Shon Faye makes a compelling case that transgender issues are inexorably linked with other social justice causes. The result is a bold and pragmatic guide for challenging societal transphobia comprehensively and intersectionally.
*Julia Serano, author of SEXED UP*

It's a manifesto for change, a call for healthier conversations about being trans, and a clear-sighted, landmark book that explains how a more compassionate society benefits us all.
*Exeter Living*

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