When Harry Became Sally by Ryan T. Anderson | Erica Robbin
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When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment by Ryan T. Anderson

But can a boy truly be "trapped" in a girl's body? Can modern medicine really "reassign" sex? Is sex something "assigned" in the first place? What's the loving response to a friend or child experiencing a gender-identity conflict? What should our law say on these issues?

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Can a boy be trapped in a girl’s body? Can modern medicine reassign sex? Is our sex assigned to us in the first place? What is the most loving response to a person experiencing a conflicted sense of gender? What should our law say on matters of gender identity?

When Harry Became Sally provides thoughtful answers to questions arising from our transgender moment. Drawing on the best insights from biology, psychology, and philosophy, Ryan Anderson offers a nuanced view of human embodiment, a balanced approach to public policy on gender identity, and a sober assessment of the human costs of getting human nature wrong.

This book exposes the contrast between the media’s sunny depiction of gender fluidity and the often sad reality of living with gender dysphoria. Everyone has something at stake in the controversies over transgender ideology, and Anderson offers a strategy for pushing back with principle and prudence, compassion and grace.

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Rating: 5 out of 5.

When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment by Ryan T. Anderson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was really interesting. I had a lot of questions going into it. I find myself wanting to read banned books from time to time. Sales are currently banned on Amazon.

I listened to via audiobook narrated by Tom Parks who had rich, calm tone, which made for a pleasant reading experience.

I think those who have a lot of questions, wonderings, and need to get catch up to the current transgender climate and movement going forward will get a lot out of this one. Covers an array of past, current, and future social, philosophical, medical, cultural, and political implications.

I feel it takes a bit of a discerning reader to understand not only the context in which it was written but understanding will vary with application to the current social climate and daily experiences that people may have. It explored a lot of concepts I learned in university sociology, ethics, and philosophy courses, all of which would make for interesting ideas/topics for a writing essay. Would also make an interesting book club discussion for those interested in such subjects.

More U.S. centric which was fine, just something to note for audiences.

The Story
I suppose the best way to explain the story is that it goes into detail about a lot of topics surrounding transgenderism ranging from individual experience to activism and the differences between the two.

It explained a lot of concepts and goes into great detail, though some where more belabored, others less explored where I wanted more, but if you have such questions as I did, you may find this book to be more satisfactory to your interests. I’ll just leave it at that as the subject matter is controversial and deserves thoughtful exploration and in-person conversation with audiences willing to discuss.

The basics/definition from a physiological standpoint:
What is the measure of success and are there moving goal posts?
Innate versus social construct?
Nature versus nurture.
Embryology, biological function, sexual differentiation.
Disruption of development and the irreversibility.
Choice feminism.
Choice and equality.
What is the biological context and issues raised?
How is biology and fluidity viewed and reinforced?
Can a man know what it is to be a female? Female to be a male based on the classifications provided?
Concepts such as explaining how one feels to determine their reality.

Social implications:
Interests and needs.
What about women’s shelter concerns? Prisons? School camps, lockers, hotels?
Discrimination versus accommodation, how should invasion of privacy be defined and handled?
Shared public places, such as issues that may arise with gender identity bathroom access and changing rooms for sexual crime offenders.
What are viewpoints from around the world, UAE, Singapore?
Autogynophilia.
Sexual deviance.
Caution or skepticism.

The future, what does it look like moving forward:
Objective testing.
Gender structure.
The root of suffering versus happiness.
Does surgery alleviate the psychological struggle?
Surgical success as far as emotional, psychological well-being.
Self-rejection and betrayal.
No legal definition of gender identity.
Dignity of work dependent on pay.

The Writing
It was relatively complete according to the book description.

Organization was ok. At times I thought it made sense chronologically, others took on a more topic-based approach which sort of went back in forth in the timeline, but I could see how difficult it would be to explain concepts with a presupposition for another, especially if you want to convey a certain worldview/experience. Historical context, give or take 20-50 years up to current legislation, was reviewed at length which I very much appreciated.

Some opinion pieces made it more like a social commentary which was fine, sort of had to go into it knowing it’s not an academic resource but more of a rhetorical turned promotional approach with a defined endpoint/conclusion.

I think the subject matter would be intriguing to talk about as it relates to the writing/publication/reading world.

View all my reviews

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