In July 2012, aged thirty, Juliet Jacques underwent sex reassignment surgery-a process she chronicled with unflinching honesty in a serialised national newspaper column. Trans tells of her life to the present moment: a story of growing up, of defining yourself, and of the rapidly changing world of gender politics. Fresh from university, eager to escape a dead-end job and launch a career as a writer, she navigates the treacherous waters of a world where, even in the liberal and feminist media, transgender identities go unacknowledged, misunderstood or worse. Revealing, honest,humorous, and self-deprecating, Trans includes an epilogue with Sheila Heti, author of How Should a Person Be?
Shortlisted for Polari First Book Prize 2016.
"Brave and moving, Trans is necessary reading for anyone who cares about gender, power, freedom and desire. Juliet Jacques deals with the forces of cruelty and ignorance with a hard-won clarity and calm. A vital voice in our turbulent times." - Olivia Laing, author of The Trip to Echo Spring "Trans is a marvelously nuanced journey through gender, brilliantly contextualized in the disparate worlds of pop culture, football, mass media, and the NHS. This is a terrific read by an accomplished author." - Kate Bornstein, author of A Queer and Pleasant Danger "I Am Cait for the literary set. Jacques lays her transitioning experience bare - hormones and surgery and all - with an afterword by Sheila Heti." - New York Magazine "Brutally honest and funny." - Marie Claire "Jacques is trapped in the wrong narrative, and Trans offers the possibility of a more complete one, with a holistic personal story that does not reject pre-transition identity, and an understanding that gender lies on a continuum...the most sublime moments in Trans come when Jacques shares with us a vision she has gained - and often these are hard-won - into what it means to have a unified self, whether it's when she receives recognition from her parents for her success, has a great day on the soccer field, or simply feels good in her skin." - Amanda DeMarco, Flavorwire "Trans maintains the quick pacing and firebrand tone from Jacques's Guardian writings, while treading far deeper into theory and the author's personal life and further developing her natural skill for transmuting abstract concepts into engaging life stories...Her authorial voice mixes passion with a grittiness inherited from her history in several UK alternative music scenes. [Trans] maintains a slick, effortless tone characteristic of all Jacques' writing." Literary Hub "Juliet Jacques has a funny, ruthlessly honest voice that readers will dig." Book Riot "An honest, articulate account of one life so far" Guardian "Trans challenges us all, no matter what our gender or sexuality. Ultimately, it makes us look at our selves, and wonder what price we pay for the identities we assume, or which we have thrust upon us." Philip Hoare, New Statesman "As dedicated to educating the ignorant public as Jacques is, she's also committed to a narrative that nurtures people who share her experiences, and her writing is free of sanitized, after-school-special, feel-good endings...A hybrid memoir that offers alternative conversations to disarm and dismantle a hostile, antagonistic, and often violent cultural climate towards transgender individuals. " Vanessa Willoughby, Mask Magazine "[Jacques's] storytelling is clear-eyed and evocative." Cat Fitzpatrick, Lambda Literary "Trans is about what it's like to be an outsider, about the difficult interplay between gender variance and social acceptance[...] In making herself vulnerable, Jacques shows how likeable she is. At the end of the book I wanted to be her friend, and you will too." Ray Filar, New Humanist "Juliet Jacques's Trans ... provides a lyrical exploration of her own gender journey against the background of increasing media interest in transgender issues. Thoughtful and intimate, it's a fine successor to books such as Jan Morris's Conundrum." Helen Lewis, Guardian, Best Politics Books of the Year "Understated and urgent, Jacques comes across as a woman carrying an ambiguity she doesn't seem to want or feel able fully to shed ... She confounds the distinction, not just between male and female, but also between the emotional atmospheres which the various trans identities are meant - 'instructed' may be the right word - to personify." - Jacqueline Rose, London Review of Books
Juliet Jacques is best known for the Guardian's 'Transgender Journey', a column longlisted for the Orwell Prize in 2011. A regular contributor to the New Statesman, she has also written for Granta, TimeOut, Filmwaves, 3am, the London Review of Books, the New Humanist, the New Inquiry, and many other publications. She lives in London.