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Crossing, A Memoir

by Deirdre N. McCloskey

Book review kindly provided by by Dr Tracie O'Keefe DCH

This is the whirlwind autobiography of Donald McClosky the Harvard economist who, during the 1990's, transitioned physically and emotionally to become Deirdre. Professor McClosky tells of how he was very much the stereotypical male and was quite unaware of the constructs and politics that personally, socially and economically effect female life. The new professor Deirdre tells of how she became enlightened of women's role as educators, peacemakers and revolutionaries in an ever more socially aware global society.

Donald was almost committed to a psychiatric institution by his family because his sister believed that he was a manic depressive, she herself, was a professor of psychology. It seems that, years later, she apologised for not understanding Donald's sex and gender dysphoria. Deirdre, with typical middle class American etiquette, forgave her sister and attempted to rebuild bridges within the family that had been destroyed by her transition from Donald to Deirdre.

Much of her transition was, to some extent, cushioned by a wealth and status that allowed her to afford the treatment she needed. Being able to take time out provided her with the space she needed for her mind as well as her body. The book is well written, I did enjoy it and at times Deirdre writes with her tongue firmly in her cheek, candidly telling us about her own flaws, reflections and self analysis, which both amuse and shock us with her honesty in equal measures. I recommend this book to all secondary transsexuals or gender crossers, as Deirdre calls them, their families and professionals because it shows the great difficulties they can have when others around them fail to take that persons feelings into account.

Deirdre is a very well regarded economist and is probably much better regarded than was Donald, although she now sees economics quite differently as a feminist. Since she transitioned in her fifties, her history, having lived for fifty odd years as a man with a wife and two children gives us greater insight into how confusion plays a large role in dysphoria for some people. My only bitch about this book is that the print is really quite small and for my mature eyes this was quite a strain, however, it was worth it, and the story of the transition stands up as a piece of very entertaining literature.

Dr Tracie O'Keefe DCH is a clinical hypnotherapist, psychotherapist, and counsellor formerly practising at The London Medical Centre, Harley Street in the UK. Now the Director of the Sex, Gender, and Sexuality Identity Clinic, at The O'Keefe Institute, Sydney, Australia.
In association with Katrina Fox, she is the author of a number of books, details of which may be found on her website:
Their latest publication is Finding the Real Me: True Tales of Sex & Gender Diversity published by Jossey Bass Wiley

University of Chicago Press, 1999
ISBN: 0 226 55668 9
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