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The City of Portland, Oregon

Portland, Oregon

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Transgender Issues

The Portland City Council annually proclaims March 31st as Transgender Day of Visibility (TDOV). At the conclusion of the 2021 council event, the TDOV community organizers requested Council members and staff put in the work of individual and interpersonal learning necessary to effect lifelong allyship. They emphasized the responsibility of those in positions of power in modeling the personal investment it takes to achieve true equity, for the trans community and others.

To that end, they have provided the following beginners' list of reading materials to engage with, along with a link to where they can be purchased or downloaded. This will be a growing list meant to serve as a starting point for becoming a culturally-informed ally. Any additional suggestions are welcome, and can be sent to

 Vanderburgh, Reid

Transition and beyond


  • The Invention of Women: Making an African Sense of Western Gender Discourse (link)

"A work that rethinks gender as a Western construction, The Invention of Women offers a new way of understanding both Yoruban and Western cultures. Author Oyeronke Oyewumi reveals an ideology of biological determinism at the heart of Western social categories -- the idea that biology provides the rationale for organizing the social world. And yet, she writes, the concept of OC woman, OCO central to this ideology and to Western gender discourses, simply did not exist in Yorubaland, where the body was not the basis of social roles. Oyewumi traces the misapplication of Western, body-oriented concepts of gender through the history of gender discourses in Yoruba studies. Her analysis shows the paradoxical nature of two fundamental assumptions of feminist theory: that gender is socially constructed and that the subordination of women is universal."

  • Making Sex: Body and gender from the Greeks to Freud (link)

"Laqueur retraces the dramatic changes in Western views of sexual characteristics over two millennia. Along the way, two "masterplots" emerge. In the one-sex story, woman is an imperfect version of man, and her anatomy and physiology are construed accordingly. The body is a representation, not the foundation, of social gender. The second plot tends to dominate post-Enlightenment thinking, while the one-sex model is firmly rooted in classical learning. The two-sex story says that the body determines gender differences, that woman is the opposite of man with incommensurably different organs, functions, and feelings. Science may establish many new facts, but even so, Laqueur argues, science was only providing a new way of speaking, a rhetoric and not a key to female liberation or to social progress. Laqueur posits that destiny is anatomy. Sex, in other words, is an artifice."

  • Brain Storm: The Flaws in the Science of Sex Differences      (link)

"Female and male brains are different, thanks to hormones coursing through the brain before birth. That's taught as fact in psychology textbooks, academic journals, and bestselling books. And these hardwired differences explain everything from sexual orientation to gender identity, to why there aren't more women physicists or more stay-at-home dads.

In this compelling book, Rebecca Jordan-Young takes on the evidence that sex differences are hardwired into the brain. Analyzing virtually all published research that supports the claim of "human brain organization theory," Jordan-Young reveals how often these studies fail the standards of science. If a series of methodological weaknesses, questionable assumptions, inconsistent definitions, and enormous gaps between ambiguous findings and grand conclusions have accumulated through the years, then science isn't scientific at all. 

This book argues that the analysis of gender differences deserves far more rigorous, biologically sophisticated science."

  • Skin, Tooth, and Bone: The Basis of Movement is Our People      (link)

"This Disability Justice Primer lays out the fundamental principles of Disability Justice, as well as the steps that could be taken to embody work towards a truly inclusive and just world. It pushes forward the disability movement beyond a single-issue discourse centred on rights to promote an intersectional movement led by those most impacted by ableism and historical systemic oppression. 

The text takes the readers through the three components of Bones (the textual and critical framework critical to the work of Sins Invalid and pursuit of Disability Justice), Teeth which represent "words and thoughts from disability justice advocates, including concrete suggestions for more accessible organizing", and Skin which represents images that the authors "seek out and wrap [themselves] in."'

  • The Revolution Starts at Home (link)

"The Revolution Starts at Home is as urgently needed today as when it was first published. This watershed collection breaks the dangerous silence surrounding the "secret" of intimate violence within social justice circles. Just as importantly, it provides practical strategies for dealing with abuse and creating safety without relying on the coercive power of the state. It offers life-saving alternatives for survivors, while building a movement where no one is left behind."

  • decolonizing trans/gender 101 (link)

"decolonizing trans/gender 101 is a short, accessible disruption of the hegemonic and imperial aspirations of white trans/gender theory. it seeks to remedy the reductive (and, thus, violent erasure) that nature of trans/gender 101s that seek to explicate (but really construct) a white trans/gender discourse assumed to have universal legitimacy. a legitimacy that has widespread implications and consequences far beyond the borders of whiteness."

  • Youth / Families Resource: the Queer and Trans Resilience Workbook (link)

"In this important workbook, you’ll discover how to cultivate the key components of resilience: holding a positive view of yourself and your abilities; knowing your worth and cultivating a strong sense of self-esteem; effectively utilizing resources; being assertive and creating a support community; fostering hope and growth within yourself, and finding the strength to help others. Once you know how to tap into your personal resilience, you’ll have an unlimited well you can draw from to navigate everyday challenges.