Trans Power

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 21 Oct 2019

Member Reviews

I haven’t read any book on trans experiences quite like this one. TRANS POWER brings up perspectives and conversations that you don’t tend to hear very often. The intimacy, the love for people in the community is so powerful I almost feel protective of the words inside. I love how NOT binary this book is. It creates an incredibly affirming, empowering space.

Juno says after interviewing Michael, “They always push me to extend my line of thinking beyond my comfort place to a place where it tests the idea.” And really, that’s what TRANS POWER does for its readers. This is an emotional read that encourages readers to push their intellect beyond simplistic statements of what it means to be trans into deeply nuanced discussions. Best of all, it ends on a euphoric high note that truly smashes the patriarchy.
Was this review helpful?
an astonishing collection of interviews with trans folx of all kinds--Roche writes with a brash elegance that is at once moving, personal & delightfully centering of interviewee
Was this review helpful?
'All those layers of expectation that are thrust upon us; boy, masculine, femme, transgender, sexual, woman, real, are such a weight to carry round. I feel transgressive. I feel hybrid.'

Juno Roche continues to spark such powerful for me because that's what she is: Thoughtful. Empowering. Insightful. POWERFUL.

Beautiful book written by a talented and notable member of LGBTQIA+ community. Excellent follow up novel to her debut novel, Queer Sex that covers intimacy, sex, and romance with queer and transpeople. TransPower is a collection of interviews from trans and nonbinary people speaking on their experiences first-hand. 

Anyone looking to hear of the trans experience from those who live it everyday, this is an excellent resource. An excellent addition to any LGBTQ+ shelf.
Was this review helpful?
I connected with Juno Roche and they're story. Transness is something I wasn't all that informed on and it was so interesting reading all of these difficult and wonderful stories, interviews, from so many different points of view. 

I found it fascinating how the different people interviewed in the book have identify and adapt. Definitely interesting to read about that's for sure.

Thank you so much for allowing to engage with this book.
Was this review helpful?
A very honest raw and powerful book. It is a collection of a variety of stories and interviews.
A real eye opener. Recommended read.
Thank you to both NetGalley and Jessica Kingsley Publishers for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest unbiased review
Was this review helpful?
For my first read of June (coming late, but I have just got married) I wanted to really get into the spirit of Pride and read LGBTQ+centric books. It's important that I note that I read this as a cis white female and so this book was not really aimed at or written for me. I picked it up to better educate myself on Trans issues as I feel it's important that we inform ourselves in order to be allies.

I certainly learnt a lot from this book. Roche interviewed a variety of different people, each with different Trans and Queer stories, experiences and lives. I found each of them interesting and I think Roche had a great style of interview - relaxed and informal, conversational rather than questioning. I can imagine that's extremely important when talking in such detail about matters that people usually struggle to speak about so openly (sex, genitals, dysphoria, masturbation, etc.). There was also a real sense of raw emotion and honesty about this book which was refreshing.

I struggled with some elements - mainly the discomfort I felt while reading. There is a lot of crude language and unapologetic opinion on gender, privilege and what being an ally means. Roche writes from a point of high emotion and frustration, which meant that her words had a very unedited feel about them. I disliked the repetition, the same point being made a number of times but worded differently. But really, as I said, this book is not MEANT for me so it's no wonder that I'm uncomfortable. I appreciated being challenged and being given the opportunity to hear voices that desperately needed to be heard.
Was this review helpful?
So, I admit, I never read the description of this book. I saw pink, I saw "Trans Power", and instantly clicked "request" on NetGalley. This will be published in October later on in the year, if you're interested. If I did, though, I probably would never have read it because sex (especially penises) make me horribly uncomfortable. That was entirely my mistake, though. As a trans person myself, it still makes me happy to see queer sex being spoken about so openly from a transgender ex-sex worker.

Despite that, there are some things about this that I did really enjoy. I liked how transgender POC were spoken about, and how their race plays a part in their sexual relationships and their experiances being transgender. It speaks about certain violence that they face, and how they process being transgender in comparison to someone who is white (in that case, the comparison is against Juno herself).

I also liked how it spoke about the love that two people can share for each other when one or both is transgender. I think this is especially important for other transgender people to read about and know that being trans doesn't mean they can't have a loving relationship and be attractive. For the cis people who read this, it may give them a new perspective and outlook on how they percieve transgender people.

It includes others like disabled people (one had seizures, ME and uses a wheelchair, for example) and non-binary people. I'm so used to us enbies being excluded from transgender discussions that I honestly wasn't expecting us to become a part of the book, and this was a pleasent surprise.

There were a few problems I had with this, though.

    I know that the whole point of this book is to explore sexual relationships between queer transgender people, but I would have liked it to mention or imply that some transgender people don't have sex/are asexual/are monogamous and that's okay
    The writing style was a drag, and it was difficult to read. It wasn't sense, and it didn't include information dumps, it was just boring and there's no other way to describe it - the writing didn't make me want to carry on reading it
    Most of the voices within this book come from AFAB transgender people, and maybe that's because Juno is AMAB and wanted to experiance new voices and learn new experiances that would be different from her own, but I would have liked to have heard more about AFAB transgender people
    The language used was uncomfortable, but I think that's just personal preference (and maybe the fact that I'm British). It was a bit too graphic and vulgar for me to be able to enjoy it and really get into it

This wasn't a bad read. Overall, I gave it 3/5 stars, but it just wasn't for me. It all boils down to personal preference and I do actually really enjoy reading non-fiction and I don't read it anywhere near as often as I read fiction, but I do tend to like it. This one just wasn't my cup of tea. I'm sorry! I think plenty of people, especially if you're comfortable with an open discussion on queer sex, would love this.
Was this review helpful?
One of the most important books I've read this year. I can't and won't pretend that I understand all of it; as a cis person, it's not really my place to demand that a book about being trans speaks to me and dumbs all of its nuances down so that I can palate it. It's all the more powerful because it demands to be appreciated on its own terms and not mine.

Much of this book was shocking to me and absolutely widened my frame of reference. I've always been guilty of assuming that the majority of trans people are essentially seeking to transition from one binary gender to another, probably because this is the dominant narrative that we're fed by the media, and it was difficult for me reading this book to accept that this is not the case; that being trans is itself an identity with nuance and is not merely a simulacrum of man or woman. I think I knew that objectively, but it was enlightening to see it stated with such impact. 

I've not read any of Juno Roche's previous work, but will definitely be seeking it out after reading this. It's high time we had more books by and about trans people which don't seek to twist the trans narrative into something that cis people can stomach because it's close enough to being cis that we can just sort of pretend it doesn't exist. Trans people have always existed, and this book starts a conversation about the myriad ways that a trans identity can present. 

This book is also accessible (although those with a disliking of the c word might want to brace themselves) in that it's not written like an academic textbook, which I appreciate. A lot of works on identity can be very verbose and dense, which can put off readers - of any identity - who might have difficulty engaging with such texts for reasons of accessibility. Absolutely required reading, and I'll be recommending this in all its guises in the future.
Was this review helpful?
Trans Power is a frank, explicit depiction of trans and non-binary experiences, especially in connection to their bodies and sexual desires.

The mission of Juno Roche in her book Trans Power is to invite (and confront) the reader into the raw, internal discussion of trans individuals as they navigate relationships and intimacy in their personal lives. Through interviews with various trans activists and figures, Roche asks honest questions (all (!) imaginable topics are seemingly on the table) and collects perspectives about where trans folk were, are, and may one day be.

In her opening chapter, “Transcentral,” she addresses her discomfort with her identity. “I don’t feel like a woman (or a man) anymore,” she writes. “Nor do I feel non-binary as it includes the word ‘binary’ […] I feel trans.” Where other texts on Booked Club’s QueeReads list by trans authors take a more distant, recollective approach to their personal identity (such as Eris Young’s They/Them/Their), Roche cracks open her life, musings, and insecurities right away, asking the reader to listen as their connection with their gender identity transforms in real time, gravitating between poles or ultimately levitating away from identifiable binary-weighed labels altogether. In a sense, her writing reminded me of slam poetry; covering her journey of finding power in her trans-ness while also stopping to meditate on the transformative moments along the way.

The overwhelming power of Trans Power for me was the pervasive reminder that I was entering and occupying a space that was not mine. At times, I felt like a fly on the wall that got stuck in some sticky tack and was forced to listen in, or like my radio was randomly picking up someone else’s signal. Although I felt invited at times, Roche is not afraid to make you (or herself) uncomfortable, and even addresses and interrogates her own positions and ideas aloud throughout her discussions with others. For this reason, I do not feel I have the ability or the authority to appropriately rate it on a five star scale. So here are my closing thoughts:

In this sense, Trans Power is a complex, fluid, pocket of physical and mental exploration—and it is not for everyone. I would not recommend it for everyone partially because of the explicit nature but also because of the complex writing style. This is in part because the writing itself is queer—quickly shifting between academic theory, erotica, diary recollections, interviews, memoir, and fantasy—sometimes all within the same paragraph. I definitely would suggest it to any fans of explorative books such as Maggie Nelson’s The Argonauts.

Overall, there is a lot to learn from and think about, but if I were to recommend it to someone, it would be a gender studies major, a queer reads enthusiast, or someone within the trans community seeking to take control of their internal power.

Especially within the empowering closing chapter “Trans in Beautiful.” It is full of celebration for the future of trans-ness, pointing to the progress and youth she has been observing and time trudges onwards, a logical conclusion to her internal struggle as she aspires to embrace trans—as a destination, as an aspiration. “Trans is that ocean, that landscape, that sky,” she writes. “Trans is beautiful.”

Trans Power will be published on October 21, 2019 by Jessica Kingsley Publishers. I would recommend it to high-level Queer Readers, especially those who liked Maggie Nelson's Argonauts.
Was this review helpful?
Content warning: strong sexual language, discussions around homophobia, lesbophobia, transphobia, addiction, misogyny, HIV, gender dysphoria, suicide, death

Heck. This impacted much more than I expected. This book actually changed how I thought about my gender? I’ve never felt trans enough, but Juno’s simple statement of “trans is a destination” just transformed me. The only reason I didn’t give this book 5 stars was because of the number of references to genitalia - it induced my dysphoria a few times.
Was this review helpful?
This is a powerful and honest collection of interviews. This book is filled with food for thought and I encourage everyone to read this to become familiar with these themes of intimacy, relationships, and sex in the trans community. 

Roche's writing is vivid and engaging. I highly recommend this!
Was this review helpful?
This book isn't for me.  I mean that both ways - it's not a book I would purchase for myself and it wasn't written for me.  It's. not. for. me.  It's not for me to judge, and because of that, I feel poorly for rating it lower than a four.  But I also feel that my rating might help someone else understand what it is not so that the book isn't judged unfairly by someone who didn't take the time to understand what it is.  Perhaps that's naive?  

This book made me feel uncomfortable.  I requested access to this book to try to educate myself better on trans issues.  And through Juno Roche's expertly pieced together mosaic of interviews covering trans and nonbinary perspectives, I do feel better educated.  I understand that the raw language was intended to be provocative (I counted the word "cunt" at least ten times in the first 45 minutes of reading it...and that's only after I started keeping track).  I am supposed to feel uncomfortable, to feel confronted by things previously held sacred.  To question what it means to be a woman. To be a man.  Whatever that means.  But it felt a little like being punched in the face just for having a dumb look on my face.  Maybe whoever punched me feels like I deserved it.  It doesn't mean I'm ready for it.

This book made me uncomfortable.  And perhaps I should feel uncomfortable.  Maybe I'm guilty of cis-privilege and I need the wake-up call to understand the experience this whole other group is feeling that I'm so blind to.  Regardless of that, I didn't enjoy reading this book.
Was this review helpful?
I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review, and before reviewing, I should note that I am a cis woman and I was looking into reading this hoping to learn more about the community, hoping to understand and educate myself more, and through this book, I believe I have.

Interesting and educational, this book is packed with interviews from the trans and nonbinary community of their experiences and lives. It doesn't hold back, full of honesty. Being a cis woman, I felt I learned so much by reading this book and I suggest that everyone should read it too. 

You don't really realise how much others go through until you bring yourself to read about it, I was stunned by many of these interviews and also completely grateful and awestruck for their honestly on such matters they discussed such as HIV, sexuality, surgeries and more.

Books like these are what I appreciate most as it gives everyone help, either lgbt+ people wanting to learn more, friends and families wanting to understand or simply beings wanting to educate themselves more on the matter.

It is not a book for few but a book for all to read and take in.
Was this review helpful?
A wonderfully raw and honest book full of interviews with members of the trans and non-binary community. Unflinching, powerful and personal, the range of issues and topics covered here makes it an important book for everyone to read and enjoy.
Was this review helpful?
I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.    

Thank you NetGalley!!

This book is filled with raw honesty.   The book is filled with information, interviews and experiences.        Everyone should take the time to read it.
Was this review helpful?
4* Another decent read from this author who's been there, done it and wears the t-shirt. Refreshing and interesting warts-and-all tale.

Queer Sex by this author was an eye opener for me. This is more of the same, with the same bluntness and honesty I've come to expect from Ms Roche, and which came across in her interviewees' words, too.

What this book left me with is that trans voices do need to be heard, and that trans people need to be seen. I think that the UK is a live-and-let-live country for the most, based on the London I know, but these narrative, as well as Stonewall, tell me that it's getting harder to be trans and out in the UK. This book will make you think, will enlighten you, and will make you want to do what you can in support.

ARC courtesy of Jessica Kingsley Publishers and NetGalley, for my reading pleasure.
Was this review helpful?
I received an ARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

I really enjoyed Roche's frank exploration of gender, sexuality and body in Trans Power. I felt that as a white cis woman I learned a lot about the various expressions of gender and identity that exist in the world and in others. At times, I found myself a little lost in the author's meandering, and wished for a tighter narrative, but I was very impressed by the perspective.
Was this review helpful?
I am a Cisgender white woman... I just need to put that out there before I try and "review" this book.  

Really, what I want to say about this book is that I learned a lot while reading it. I learned that I need to listen to people who are living a life that I'm not and be willing to hear what they are saying. I learned that being Trans isn't just about gender or one's body. Trans can be about HIV, race, racism, gender, bigotry, intimacy, sexuality, surgery, suicide, religions and truth. 

One of the topics that came up repeatedly in the book is about defining what "Trans" is... in terms of whether it's a noun or a verb... is it a destination? Is it a state? Is it fluid or static? Does the process begin or end, or is it even a process to begin with? 

"...Trans isn't something that we exit from, it can be something that we arrive into." - Travis Power

The people interviewed in his book are remarkable and every one of them has something unique and important to share. I think that Juno Roche has done a great job of choosing people who are inspiring and candid. There are performers, teachers, authors and more.

I can see that this book would be a big help to anyone who is struggling with their gender identity or the way in which they fit into the world.
Was this review helpful?
Trans Power is a book about trans identities, using interviews and personal memoir to explore different people's experiences and to consider sex, bodies, love, and more. Juno Roche talks to various influential figures to find out more about their gender, their identities, and how this intersects with other areas in their lives, and combines this with surrounding discussion on a personal and societal level. It is a powerful and raw book that highlights different voices and gives readers insight into a variety of experiences and identities.
Was this review helpful?
Another important book by Juno Roche, this book follows on from Queer sex, using a similar formula of interviews with key trans and non-binary people, in-between the authors personal reflections. Queer sex was the author's quest for love, this book is about their journey to love themselves including their body, as a trans woman who has had surgery. An open and honest exploration of how to have sexual pleasure, following current wisdom about finding out what you like before you can tell someone else. I particularly liked where Juno says: 

"We need to ask better questions around our surgery, not just the one of 'looking real'." 

followed by a list of questions that made me think about what questions might anyone have about their body and what it can and can't do. 

This book makes the case in several points that Trans and non binary people are pushing the boundaries of gender but that they are not alone:

"History is full of cis folk trying to please and blend into the gender binary to no avail. It's not like we are the sole owners of dysphoria; that shit exists all around,..."

Juno goes on to say how the system (of gender) is broken and it is certainly hard to argue against that.

I enjoyed this book but found it went further than Queer sex, if that was an introduction then this is the continuation, it was like being in the room whilst people discussed queer theory, interesting, sometimes confusing and challenging, but ultimately engaging. At times I would have liked more awareness and discussion of dysphoria that exists around different body sizes and ethnicities. I really enjoy the way Juno writes and concepts and found the book thought provoking and an important addition to Trans narratives. 

With thanks to Netgalley for a free ARC for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?