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A Global History of Gender, in All Its Varieties

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BEFORE WE WERE TRANS: A New History of Gender, by Kit Heyam In “Before We Were Trans,” the nonbinary British academic Kit Heyam undertakes an inherently impossible task: to encompass the story of a planet in a single book.

But this impossibility proves the value of the effort: As they demonstrate in this astute, self-aware and riveting study, the history of gender nonconformity around the world is so vast that no book can begin to contain its reaches.

And yet, it’s worth a try. “The narrow trans narrative we see emphasized in contemporary media,” Heyam writes, “makes it difficult to tell histories that fully reflect the reality of trans life today.” To remedy this, the author — who has a Ph.D.

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