Jennifer Finney Boylan

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Jennifer Finney Boylan
Born (1958-06-22) June 22, 1958 (age 59)
Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, United States
Residence Belgrade Lakes, Maine
Nationality American
Alma mater Wesleyan University
Johns Hopkins University
Occupation Author, activist, professor
Years active 2003–present
Known for Transgender activism
Home town Valley Forge, Pennsylvania

Jennifer Finney Boylan (born June 22, 1958)[1] is an American author and political activist. In 2014 she joined the faculty of Barnard College of Columbia University as the Anna Quindlen Writer-in-Residence, having previously been professor of English at Colby College in Maine. She is a trans woman. Her 2003 autobiography, She's Not There: A Life in Two Genders, was the first book by an openly transgender American to become a bestseller.[2] She has two sons, Zach and Sean, with Deirdre Boylan whom she married in 1988 as James Boylan.[3] Jennifer began her male to female transition in the year 2000.[4] The transformation started with therapy, feminine clothing, and then taking female hormones.[5] While undergoing sexual reassignment surgery Jennifer feared that her marriage to Deirdre would certainly come to an end.[6] Today, the couple is still married and residing between New York City and Belgrade Lakes, Maine, with their two sons.[7] Nine years after she began her transition she published an article for The New York Times claiming, "my spouse and I love each other, and that our legal union has been a good thing – for us, for our children and our community".[8] She made appearances as a friend of Caitlyn Jenner on the reality television show I Am Cait.

Early life[edit]

Boylan was born in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. She graduated from The Haverford School, a private, all-boys prep school in Haverford, Pennsylvania, in 1976. She graduated from Wesleyan University in 1980 before completing graduate work in English at Johns Hopkins University. Boylan was faculty at Colby College from 1988 to 2014.[2][9] In 2000 she was voted "Professor of the Year" at Colby College.[10]

Work and media exposure[edit]

Up until 2001 Jennifer Boylan had been published under the name James Boylan.[11] Boylan has written a total of 13 books, including novels, collections of short stories, and her autobiography. She has also written contributions to the op-ed section of The New York Times.[2] Her autobiography, She's Not There: A Life in Two Genders, was positively reviewed by Scott Tobias of The A.V. Club, who described it as a "candid and exuberantly funny memoir of self-actualization."[12] Publishers Weekly was more critical. It lauded the book as "frequently poignant" but also said Boylan too readily glossed over the difficult prejudice that transgender individuals must face from others, and this caused the book to feel "incomplete."[13]

Boylan has made appearances in a variety of media outlets to discuss her life, books, and activism. She's been featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Larry King Live, The Today Show, 48 Hours, and NPR.[2]

She also serves on the Policy Advisory Board of Gender Rights Maryland.[14]

In 2013 Boylan was chosen as the first openly transgender co-chair of GLAAD's National Board of Directors.[15]

She is a nationally recognized advocate and has spoken on numerous college campuses including Harvard, Yale, Cornell, Columbia, and Barnard.[7] Boylan serves on the Board of Trustees of the Kinsey Institute for Research on Sex, Gender and Reproduction. Her memoir Stuck in the Middle with You: Parenthood in Three Genders illustrates her experiences and the differences between fatherhood and motherhood. Stuck in the Middle with You: Parenthood in Three Genders received a positive review in the LA Times, which published "Boylan remains a role model for her brisk prose and high spirits as well as for her public advocacy and attention to her wife and sons."[16] She also served as a member of the judging committee of the Fulbright Scholars which is administered by the U.S. Department of State. Boylan made an appearance on 20/20 on April 24, 2015 in support of celebrity Caitlyn Jenner revealing she is a trans person. She regularly appears as a friend and consultant on Jenner's documentary series I Am Cait.[17]

She plays the Zither.[18]

She is also the author of the popular Falcon Quinn series.


Boylan has also published four young adult books under an unknown pseudonym.


  • Sexual Metamorphosis: An Anthology of Transsexual Memoirs (April 12, 2005) ISBN 978-1400030149
  • The Book of Dads: Essays on the Joys, Perils, and Humiliations of Fatherhood (May 12, 2009) ISBN 978-0061711558
  • Love Is a Four-Letter Word: True Stories of Breakups, Bad Relationships, and Broken Hearts (July 28, 2009) ISBN 978-0452295506
  • How Beautiful the Ordinary (October 6, 2009) ISBN 978-0061154980
  • It Gets Better (March 22, 2011) ISBN 978-0525952336
  • Truth & Dare: 20 Tales of Heartbreak and Happiness (April 26, 2011) ISBN 978-0762441044


  1. ^ She's Not There: A Life in Two Genders, Broadway, 2003.
  2. ^ a b c d "Professor Jennifer Finney Boylan (Maine) (May 2011 – Present)". GLAAD. Retrieved 2012-12-26. 
  3. ^ "Jennifer Finney Boylan Named Inaugural Anna Quindlen Writer-in-Residence at Barnard". 
  4. ^ Finney Boylan, Jennifer (May 11, 2009). "Is My Marriage Gay?". Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr. 
  5. ^ Leung, Rebecca. "Trapped: Jenny Boylan". 
  6. ^ "Interview with Author and Transgender Jennifer Finney Boylan". 
  7. ^ a b "Professor Jennifer Finney Boylan". 
  8. ^ Finney Boylan, Jennifer. "Is My Marriage Gay?". Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr. 
  9. ^ "Jennifer Finney Boylan -". WCSH6. 27 May 2014. 
  10. ^ "Jennifer Finney Boylan". 
  11. ^ "Jennifer Finney Boylan Home Page". 
  12. ^ Tobias, Scott (2003-08-26). "Jennifer Finney Boylan: She's Not There: A Life In Two Genders | Books | Book Review". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 2012-12-26. 
  13. ^ "SHE'S NOT THERE: A Life in Two Genders". Publishers Weekly. 2003-04-21. Retrieved 2012-12-26. 
  14. ^ "Policy Advisory Board". Gender Rights Maryland. Retrieved February 4, 2013. 
  15. ^ Reynolds, Daniel (2013-11-08). "GLAAD Appoints First Transgender Cochair". Retrieved 2013-12-05. 
  16. ^ "Jennifer Finney Boylan's remarkable memoir about parenting, Stuck in the Middle with You". 
  17. ^ Stelter, Brian. "The Reaction to Bruce Jenner is Love". 
  18. ^ Season two, episode six, I Am Cait.

External links[edit]