“True Sex” By Emily Skidmore Validates Transgender Lifestyle With History

True Sex is a historic book of stories about transgender life

"True Sex" By Skidmore Validates Transgender Lifestyle With History

Emily Skidmore’s book “True Sex” pieces together transgender lives from the twentieth century

Emily Skidmore has written a book about the issue of transgender lives at the turn of the century. Holding a Ph.D. in History, she delves into the lives of several ordinary transgender cases. Most of these people spent their time leading normal lives in small towns and communities. Their goal to maintain an identity as the sex of their desire while keeping a low profile.

Skidmore’s interests include gender history, cultural history, and queer studies. National conferences such as the Annual Meeting of the American Historical Association, National Women’s Studies Conference and the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians have presented her research.


Currently, she has published her new book “True Sex: The Lives of Trans Men at the Turn of the Twentieth Century”

Her book delves into the stories of eighteen trans men alive between 1876 and 1936. Her goal with this work is to challenge the hypothesis radicals to define modern sexuality. She believes the narratives from her book, reveals the community, persecution, tolerance, race, identity, and geography of the individuals noted.

One example from her book occurred in 1883. A man named Frank Dubois created a life in Waupun, Wisconsin. Mr. Dubois was known as a hard-working man who was married to Gertrude Fuller. He lived a quiet life with his wife and contributed kindly to his small community. There was only one reason his “true sex” was unveiled. Dubois’s husband and two children arrived in Waupun searching desperately to find wife and mother.

It is unclear from the review how Mr. Dubois responded to the person hunt. Did Gertrude Fuller have any idea of the children from a previous marriage? I guess you’ll have to read the book if you want to know more details.


Skidmore outlines these lives and brings poignant issues into the light

However, the book can’t answer the questions of changing gender. Certainly, it is one thing to desire a lifestyle obscure to the norm. It is another ballgame completely to take hormone injections and put the body through the stress of rigorous voluntary surgeries to become the sex of your choice.

Why not just be happy with who you are and what you have? Everyone must make do with the strengths and weakness each of us is born. Somethings we would like to change. Everyone experiences these thoughts now and then.





However, with age comes wisdom

People learn how to overcome weakness and challenges. This is the human condition and the purpose of the process. Life isn’t easy neither as a man nor a woman. Each sex has its challenges. Why create more problems when there are enough already?

Many reviews of the book by Skidmore comment about the surprising contribution these queer history make to the LGBT communities. By reconstructing the lives of these men, she portrays a lifestyle that although hidden was common.

Attempting to rewrite history by the display of these eighteen transgender individuals, Skidmore attempts to validate the movement, trying to make it appear more common. Being the theme of her short story historic novel, you can be sure she has taken creative license to embellish their lives and perhaps their secret revealed.

With no disrespect to her expertise in history, Skidmore weaves stories from the scraps of information about people that existed over a century ago. There is no way to know their anguish or the true happenings in their lives.

The LGBT communities want validation, and Skidmore’s book gives it. If the lifestyle of these communities existed beyond acceptance, tolerance, and desire to integrate, there would be no need for such validation. It is a shining example of the justification of the means. Being a homosexual is thus truly a lifestyle choice. No matter what the reason or the evolution.

Everyone has choices in life. We are all responsible for the consequences of our choices, no matter if they are good or bad.


References: Inside Higher Ed, NYU Press, Texas Tech University