As far as text books about transgender go, The Transgender Debate
is informative and easy to read. It covers the basics about what gender and transgender are, what they mean and what can be done for individuals who are as transgender, as well as covering the history of transgender and the transgender movement.
Parts of the book I particularly enjoyed were the look at the history of the transgender movement, and also the brief mentions of what transgender would mean in cultures other than our own. It definitely made me want to do more research on different cultures and transgender, which is always a good thing for an introductory text book.
I also liked the fact that the book was written by a transman. You can tell the author has a passion for his subject, and that comes across in the writing. Even though it is a non-fiction text book, it comes across as a lot more personal because of the fact the author has gone through what he is describing.
However, there were some problems with the book that made me unable to give it the full five stars.
It is perhaps not as useful as it once was, having been published twelve years ago in the year 2000. This means that a lot of the information, particularly about the legal status of transgender people and the development of the transgender movement, is potentially out of date. This means that, as a reader, you are unable to take the information as fact; you have to search around to find out if what Whittle is saying is still the truth. This is obviously not the author's fault, but it inevitable happens with text books that cover an ongoing, changing area.
Another thing that bothered me was that, in places, the syntax and structure of some sentences was quite odd, or didn't make sense. This was only in a few places, but it was enough to bother me, especially when copying out quotes for use in research.
Overall, this is a good book to read if you want to know the basics of transgender theory, but you will have to read it alongside other books as some of the information may be out of date. Definitely worth a read, though, if you're interested in transgender and transgender theory.