The Transsexual Empire

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The Transsexual Empire: The Making of the She-Male
Cover of the first edition
AuthorJanice Raymond
CountryUnited States
SubjectsGender dysphoria, Trans people, radical feminism
PublisherBeacon Press
Publication date
Media typePrint (hardcover and paperback)
LC ClassRC560.C4

The Transsexual Empire: The Making of the She-Male is a 1979 book critical of transsexualism by 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 transgender people in society—particularly psychological and surgical approaches to treatment of transgender people—and argues that transgender identity reifies traditional gender stereotypes. Raymond also writes about the ways in which the medical-psychiatric complex medicalizes gender identity and about the social and political context that has helped spawn gender-affirming treatment and surgery as normal and therapeutic medicine.[2][3][4][5]

Raymond maintains that the notion of transgender identity 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."[6][2][3][4][5]

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.[7] In 1994, a second edition was published by Teachers College Press.[8]


The Transsexual Empire was well-received in mainstream media upon its publication, with psychiatrist Thomas Szasz commenting that "[the book] has rightly seized on transsexualism as an emblem of modern society's unremitting—though increasingly concealed—antifeminism."[9] In a 1980 review, the philosopher Sarah Hoagland called it a "fecund discussion of patriarchal deception".[10]

Raymond's views on transgender people have been criticized by LGBT and feminist writers as transphobic, and constituting hate speech against transgender people.[11][12][13][14]

The Transsexual Empire, 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.[15] These writings have been criticized as personal attacks on these individuals.[16] In 1987, Stone wrote "The Empire Strikes Back: A Posttranssexual Manifesto", a foundational text of transgender studies, in response to The Transsexual Empire.[17][18]

Carol Riddell argued in 2006 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."[19]

Natalie Washington called The Transsexual Empire a "book [...] so influential on modern anti-trans movements, in which [Raymond] suggests 'the problem of transsexualism would best be served by morally mandating it out of existence'"[20]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Highleyman, Liz (January 7, 2010). "Feminist theologian Mary Daly dies". The Bay Area Reporter. Retrieved September 27, 2015.
  2. ^ a b Roth, Nancy L. (1997). "The Transsexual Empire". Women and Language. Urbana, WI: Organization for the Study of Communication Language and Gender. 20 (2): 66–67. ISSN 8755-4550. ProQuest 198810578.
  3. ^ a b Culter, Connie (July 12, 1980). "The Transsexual Empire: The Making of the She-Male". Gay Community News. Boston: The Bromfield Street Educational Foundation. 7 (50): 11. ProQuest 199398282.
  4. ^ a b Coston, B. Ethan (May 2023). "Looking Back: Intimate Partner Violence in Transgender Populations". American Journal of Public Health. Washington, DC: American Public Health Association. 113 (5): 474–476. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2023.307262. ISSN 1541-0048. OCLC 01642844. PMC 10088961. PMID 36926968. ProQuest 2802096630.
  5. ^ a b Partridge, Cameron (2018). ""Scotch-Taped Together": Anti-"Androgyny" Rhetoric, Transmisogyny, and the Transing of Religious Studies". Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion. Indiana University Press. 34 (1): 68–75. doi:10.2979/jfemistudreli.34.1.09. ISSN 8755-4178. JSTOR 10.2979/jfemistudreli.34.1.09. S2CID 150084493. ProQuest 2048052511.
  6. ^ Raymond, Janice. (1994). The Transsexual Empire, p. 104
  7. ^ Raymond, Janice G. (1980). The Transsexual Empire. London: Women's Press. p. iv. ISBN 978-0-7043-3857-9.
  8. ^ Raymond, Janice G. (1994). The Transsexual Empire: The Making Of The She-Male. New York: Teachers College Press. p. iv. ISBN 978-0-8077-6272-1.
  9. ^ Thomas Szasz (June 10, 1979). "Male and Female Created He Them". The New York Times. p. 3. Retrieved June 21, 2018.
  10. ^ 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.
  11. ^ Rose, Katrina C. (January 1, 2004). "The Man Who Would Be Janice Raymond". Transgender Tapestry (104): 56–57. ISSN 1083-0006. Moreover, it is not hyperbole to say that Empire has been responsible for the deaths of untold numbers of transsexuals. If the anti-equality forces of the 198O's which picked up her transphobia...
  12. ^ Serano, Julia (March 8, 2016). Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity. Seal Press. p. 234. ISBN 978-1-58005-154-5. [...]Janice Raymond (who, in addition to writing the anti-trans screed The Transexual Empire, tried to convince the National Center for Health Care Technology to deny transsexuals the right to hormones and surgery)[...]
  13. ^ Namaste, Viviane (December 15, 2000). Invisible Lives: The Erasure of Transsexual and Transgendered People. University of Chicago Press. pp. 33–35. ISBN 978-0-226-56810-2.
  14. ^ Heyes, Cressida J. (June 2003). "Feminist Solidarity after Queer Theory: The Case of Transgender". Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society. 28 (4): 1093–1120. doi:10.1086/343132. S2CID 144107471. The Transsexual Empire has become the archetypal articulation of radical feminist hostility to transsexuality and has had a persistent influence on feminist perceptions of transgender.
  15. ^ Raymond, Janice. (1994). The Transsexual Empire, pp. 101–102.
  16. ^ Hubbard, Ruth (1996). "Gender and Genitals: Constructs of Sex and Gender". Social Text. Duke University Press (46/47): 157–165. doi:10.2307/466851. ISSN 0164-2472. JSTOR 466851.
  17. ^ Carlos, Matthew Steven (2005). "Stone Publishes a "Posttranssexual Manifesto."". LGBT History, 1988-1992. Great Neck Publishing. pp. 78–81. ISBN 9781429800037.
  18. ^ Stryker, Susan; Bettcher, Talia M. (May 1, 2016). "Introduction: Trans/Feminisms". TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly. 3 (1–2): 5–14. doi:10.1215/23289252-3334127. ISSN 2328-9252.
  19. ^ 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.
  20. ^ Washington, Natalie (October 5, 2021). "Who's included? Views of the report on transgender participation in sport". The Guardian. UK. Retrieved May 23, 2022.

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