In Pleasure and Efficacy, Grace Lavery investigates gender transition as it has been experienced and represented in the modern period. Considering examples that range from the novels of George Eliot to the psychoanalytic practice of Sigmund Freud to marriage manuals by Marie Stopes, Lavery explores the skepticism found in such works about whether it is truly possible to change one’s sex. This ambivalence, she argues, has contributed to both antitrans oppression and the civil rights claims with which trans people have confronted it. Lavery examines what she terms “trans pragmatism”—the ways that trans people resist medicalization and pathologization to achieve pleasure and freedom. Trans pragmatism, she writes, affirms that transition works, that it is possible, and that it happens.
About the Author
Grace E. Lavery is a writer and academic who lives in New York. Her book Quaint, Exquisite: Victorian Aesthetics and the Idea of Japan (Princeton) won the NAVSA Best Book of the Year prize from the North American Victorian Studies Association. A noted scholar and prominent trans activist, she is the author of the transition memoir Please Miss.