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Review of Stephanie Castle, Feelings (1991)

Review of Stephanie Castle, Feelings (1991)

©1991, 2013 by Dallas Denny

Source: Denny, Dallas. Review of Stephanie Castle, Feelings: A transsexual’s explanation of a baffling conditionThe Journal of Gender Studies, 15(1), pp. 54-55.

Stephanie Castle. (1992). Feelings: A Transsexual’s Explanation of a Baffling Condition. Vancouver, BC: Perceptions Press.



Journal of Gender Studies Pages (PDF)


Review of Stephanie Castle’s Feelings: A Transsexual’s Explanation of a Baffling Condition 

By Dallas Denny


Sometimes we expect a lot out of a book or a movie, and are disappointed when it doesn’t deliver. It may be that the work is flawed or unambitious, but more likely, the problem is that we expected it to be something that it never purported or aspired to be. So it is with Feelings, a vanity press book by Stephanie Castle. Those who expect a scholarly work or a work of general applicability to all transsexual persons will be disappointed, for that is not Ms. Castle’s intent, as she makes perfectly clear in the Introduction. Nevertheless, I kept expecting more, and had to continually remind myself that I was imposing my expectations on the book rather than accepting it for what it is and what it was meant to be. Once I was able to concede to myself that Ms. Castle had written the book she had written, and not the book I wished she had written, I was able to settle down and enjoy it.

What Feelings is is a frank discussion of the ways in which transsexualism affected Ms. Castle’s life and personal relationships as she came to grips with her gender dysphoria and began to pursue sex reassignment. She does a wonderful job of explaining the predicament she and others like her find themselves in as they attempt to act with dignity under circumstances which must be some of life’s most difficult to deal with. Like a great white shark circling a struggling swimmer, she attacks issues from many angles, using circumstances from her own life for purposes of illustration.

Feelings, then, is not the standard transsexual autobiography. Although Ms. Castle discusses her life, she does not do so sequentially, but peripherally, to illustrate her various points. There is no attempt to convince her readers of her lifelong femininity, no anecdotes or attempts at humor, but only the story of what goes on in one man’s head as he accepts his desire to become a woman and begins acting upon that desire.

Feelings does a very good job of letting the reader know about Stephanie Castle’s transsexualism—and unfortunately, also about her personal views of the world, which are sometimes irrelevant to her transsexualism and neither needed nor desired by the reader. Although her sentences tend, in the British style, to be uniformly long and filled with commas, she writes cogently and clearly, and above all, frankly. Her book is a must-read for her friends and family, and perhaps also for the friends and families of other secondary transsexual people.