Friday, May 10, 2013

May’s book of the month; I Rise-The Transformation of Toni Newman

Reviewed for TMP by Sabrina Samone

It’s taken me a minute to finally get this book, then another to finally get the chance to read it.  Half way through I began kicking myself for taking so long.  Its description on Amazon states it’s a true rags to riches of an African American Transgender. It is so much more.

This seems to be the first popular memoir to be written in America by an African American transgender.  Written with a total open book honesty approach, it is a pleasant escape of the usual ‘how I transitioned on hormones’, transgender story.  Even if you choose to ignore that she is transgender, you’d see simply, the struggle of any woman finding herself in a world faced with the obstacle of being born poor and in rural America.  However, this is based on a true story of a gender confused young man into an educated proud African American Trans-woman.
It first sparked my interest because the author is southern and born only three hours north of me in Jacksonville, North Carolina.  Immediately, I thought, here is a girl like me that knows what it must mean being Trans in the south. She faced living in a homo and transsphoic minority group and battling gender dysphoria and plagued in a society filled with drug addictions and prostitution, Toni Newman found a way to rise.

What I loved most about this book is how it’s not simply about her taking hormones, or dwells on how those around her grew to change and accept her, but how she grew to accept herself.  Staying strong in a world that says, you can’t, she understood she could.  While I’ve written about trans-women attitudes towards trans-women who are showgirls, porn stars or in prostitution, she also proves in her memoir that it is not always an easy choice not to make.  Many Transwomen are lead many times unwillingly into the sex industry profession, faced with rejection of family, denied work and unable to afford the basics of life, many turn to satisfying the hypocritical fantasies of cis-gender society.  The society that will not acknowledge you has a human in public but willing to exploit Trans people as their sexual fetishes. Many, as did Toni Newman, used this in life not as a crutch or a way towards self destruction but only as a stepping stone and grows to learn to use the sex industry to become the fullest human they can become. In more ways than one, this book reminds the reader, all is not what it seems.

Also what’s even more exciting, you’ll soon be able to see part of the novel transformed as well, into the feature film Heart of a Woman, Directed by British Film Director Keith Holland and starring Transgender actress, Angelica Ross.

This is a powerful story of a Trans-woman of color that will not become a victim, a statistic or another Trans person for cis-gender society to pity, but about a woman who uses the resources given to rise.
The below interview with Author Toni Newman is from

For more info on Toni Newman the author and link to purchase book:


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                                Previous Transmuseplanet's books of the month

April’s Book of the month: the Other Side of Silence Men’s Lives and Gay Identities: A twentieth-Century History

March's Book of the Month: Peninsual of Lies: A True Story of Mysterious Birth and Taboo Love by Edward Ball

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