Side Affects

This week's review acknowledges the emotional toll transgender people face in today's society and confronts overgeneralized assumptions of what it means to be trans.

Side Affects: On Being Trans and Feeling Bad

Malatino, Hil. Minnesota, 2022
240p bibl index, 9781517912086 $88.00, 9781517912093 $21.95, 9781452967288

Side Affects book cover.

Following up on his earlier works, Queer Embodiment: Monstrosity, Medical Violence, and Intersex Experience (2019) and Trans Care (2020), Side Affects, Malatino’s third book, examines a complex and nuanced range of negative feelings that transgender people often experience in their lives. Malatino (Pennsylvania State Univ.) observes that feelings such as “fatigue, numbness, envy, rage, burnout” (p. 4) establish an “affective commons” that shapes subjectivities and identities as much as it motivates resistance, intervention, healing, and transformation. Side Affects is a response to popular misunderstandings of trans subjectivity, and more particularly the oversimplification and generalization one might encounter in popular representations of trans experience. Malatino’s argument is firmly grounded in current trans, queer, and feminist theory, while it invokes the methods of poststructural critique and phenomenological interrogation. Malatino contributes substantively to the ongoing research focused on transgender experience within gender and sexuality studies, cultural studies, and philosophy. Side Affects will be a crucial resource for students, teachers, and scholars in these fields, though undergraduates may find its theoretical apparatus and jargon somewhat challenging.

Summing Up: Essential. General readers, advanced undergraduates through faculty, and professionals.
G. Sikorski, Anne Arundel Community College
Interdisciplinary Subjects: Women’s & Gender Studies, Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Studies
Subject: Social & Behavioral Sciences
Choice Issue: Feb 2023

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