The Transsexual Empire

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The Transsexual Empire: The Making of the She-Male
The Transsexual Empire (Janice Raymond book).jpg
Cover of the first edition
AuthorJanice Raymond
CountryUnited States
Radical feminism
PublisherBeacon Press
Publication date
Media typePrint (Hardcover and Paperback)
LC ClassRC560.C4
Followed byA Passion for Friends 

The Transsexual Empire: The Making of the She-Male (1979; second edition 1994) is a book critical of transsexualism by the American radical feminist author and activist Janice Raymond. The book is derived from Raymond's dissertation, which was produced under the supervision of the feminist theologian Mary Daly.[1]


Raymond investigates the role of transsexualism in society – particularly psychological and surgical approaches to it – and argues that transsexualism reinforces traditional gender stereotypes. Raymond also writes about the ways in which the medical-psychiatric complex is medicalizing gender identity and the social and political context that has helped spawn transsexual treatment and surgery as normal and therapeutic medicine.

Raymond maintains that transsexualism is based on the "patriarchal myths" of "male mothering", and "making of woman according to man's image". She claims this is done in order "to colonize feminist identification, culture, politics and sexuality", adding: "All transsexuals rape women's bodies by reducing the real female form to an artifact, appropriating this body for themselves .... Transsexuals merely cut off the most obvious means of invading women, so that they seem non-invasive."[2]

Publication history[edit]

In 1979, the first edition of The Transsexual Empire was published by Beacon Press, a nonprofit publisher in Boston run by the Unitarian Universalist Association. In 1980, the book was published in the United Kingdom by The Women's Press.[3] In 1994, a second edition was published by Teachers College Press.[4]


At time of publishing, The Transsexual Empire was respected and admired in mainstream media, with psychiatrist Thomas Szasz commenting that "[it] has rightly seized on transsexualism as an emblem of modern society’s unremitting—though increasingly concealed—antifeminism."[5] In a 1980 review, the philosopher Sarah Hoagland called it a "fecund discussion of patriarchal deception".[6] However, that interpretation has since gone out of vogue.[7]

Raymond's views on transsexuality have been criticized by many in the LGBT and feminist communities as extremely transphobic, and constituting hate-speech against trans men and women.[8][9][10][11]

In The Transsexual Empire, Raymond included sections on Sandy Stone, a trans woman who had worked as a sound engineer for Olivia Records, and Christy Barsky, accusing both of creating divisiveness in women's spaces.[12] These writings have been heavily criticized as personal attacks on these individuals.[13]

Carol Riddell argues that The Transsexual Empire "did not invent anti-transsexual prejudice, but it did more to justify and perpetuate it than perhaps any other book ever written."[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Highleyman, Liz (7 January 2010). "Feminist theologian Mary Daly dies". The Bay Area Reporter. Retrieved 27 September 2015.
  2. ^ Raymond, Janice. (1994). The Transsexual Empire, p. 104
  3. ^ Raymond, Janice. (1980). The Transsexual Empire, p. iv
  4. ^ Raymond, Janice. (1994). The Transsexual Empire, pp. iv, xiii
  5. ^ Thomas Szasz (10 June 1979). "Male and Female Created He Them". The New York Times. p. 3. Retrieved 21 June 2018.
  6. ^ Sarah Lucia Hoagland (1980). "The Transsexual Empire: The Making of a She-Male. Janice G. Raymond". Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society. 5 (3): 537–538. doi:10.1086/493740.
  7. ^ Michelle Goldberg (4 August 2014). "What Is a Woman? The dispute between radical feminism and transgenderism". The New Yorker Magazine. Retrieved 21 June 2018.
  8. ^ Rose, Katrina C. (2004) "The Man Who Would be Janice Raymond." Transgender Tapestry 104, Winter 2004
  9. ^ Julia Serano (2007) Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity, pp. 233–234
  10. ^ Namaste, Viviane K. (2000) Invisible Lives: The Erasure of Transsexual and Transgendered People, pp. 33–34.
  11. ^ Hayes, Cressida J., 2003, "Feminist Solidarity after Queer Theory: The Case of Transgender," in Signs 28(4):1093–1120.
  12. ^ Raymond, Janice. (1994). The Transsexual Empire, pp. 101–102.
  13. ^ Hubbard, Ruth, 1996, "Gender and Genitals: Constructs of Sex and Gender," in Social Text 46/47, p. 163.
  14. ^ Riddell, Carol (2006). "Sappho by Surgery: The Transsexually Constructed Lesbian-Feminist". In Stryker, Susan; Whittle, Stephen (eds.). The Transgender Studies Reader. United Kingdom: Routledge. p. 131. ISBN 978-0-415-94708-4. OCLC 62782200. Retrieved October 7, 2012.

External links[edit]