What Becomes You
Aaron Raz Link and Hilda Raz
University of Nebraska Press, 2007
About the Book:
“Being a man, like being a woman, is something you have to learn,” Aaron Raz Link remarks. Few would know this better than the coauthor of What Becomes You, who began life as a girl named Sarah and twenty-nine years later began life anew as a gay man. Turning from female to male and from teaching scientist to theatre performer, Link documents the extraordinary medical, social, legal, and personal process involved in a complete identity change. Hilda Raz, a well-known feminist writer and teacher, observes the process as both an “astonished” parent and as a professor who has studied gender issues. All these perspectives come into play in this collaborative memoir, which travels between women’s experience and men’s lives, explores the art and science of changing sex, maps uncharted family values, and journeys through a world transformed by surgery, hormones, love, and . . . clown school. Combining personal experience and critical analysis, the book is an unusual—and unusually fascinating—reflection on gender, sex, and the art of living.
“This book can’t help but challenge the reader to rethink what they know about gender, sex, family relationships, and themselves. A compelling narrative, this it the best book I’ve read this year.” —OutSmart
“In short, What Becomes You is a superb memoir. As finely wrought as Minnie Bruce Pratt’s S/he, it is careful and tender while simultaneously confrontational and challenging.”
—Julie R. Enszer, Lambda Book Report
“One of the hottest memoirs in the [queer studies] category this year is the unusual, shared story of a child’s transformation from female to male.” —Publishers Weekly
From Hilda Raz: "Sarah was born . . . two years after her brother John. I was lucky, able to decide not to have more children. Like my mother, I had wanted a daughter as well as a son. So now I was done. If men want sons to inherit the kingdom, women want daughters. But what a girl! She was never someone I could lead by the hand. Growing up, this child argued fiercely with my talk about women: generalizations about the patriarchy in the sixties, rants about male privilege in the seventies, obsession with female collaborations in the eighties, and women's memoir in the nineties. Her reading was never about women, never about gender relationships. She was a scientist, interested only in the natural world and the long histories of myth and science. This resistance seemed evidence to me of the astonishing variations women's brilliance might take. I knew she was supposed to help me understand the new generations of women. But Sarah had no interest in teaching me."