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Praise for Born on the Edge of Race and Gender


“Willy Wilkinson's Born on the Edge of Race and Gender offers practical, deeply insightful, and powerfully moving personal perspectives on diversity and cultural competency drawn from his own life experiences as an Asian American trans man with decades of experience as an activist, consultant, and policy advocate working on HIV/AIDS, disability, and LGBT issues. This is a highly readable, teachable, and informative text that should appeal to queer and Asian communities, and to educators, policy makers, social workers, health care providers, and social justice activists who work with those communities.”


Susan Stryker, PhD, author of Transgender History

Director, Institute for LGBT Studies, University of Arizona


Born on the Edge of Race and Gender is far more than the traditional transgender memoir, as it places Willy Wilkinson's stories of childhood gender non-conformity and adulthood transition within the context of intersecting identities, and his several decade-long commitment to public health and policy advocacy for transgender communities. Smart, illuminating, passionate, and often humorous, it is a wonderful read for anyone interested in transgender activism, intersectionality, and social justice more generally.”


Julia Serano, author of Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity, and Excluded: Making Feminist and Queer Movements More Inclusive


“Awe-inspiring, daring, personable! Wilkinson brings every part of himself openly and freely to us in Born on the Edge of Race and Gender, a timely, must-read for anyone doing cultural competency work. A first-of-its-kind in many ways, this intersectional book shows how gender and race issues interplay, and highlights the issues of trans men of color, where the dialogue has been virtually silent.”


Kylar W. Broadus, Esq.

Co-founder and Executive Director, Trans People of Color Coalition


“Willy Wilkinson’s Born on the Edge of Race and Gender is an important addition to the ever-growing body of trans narratives in American literature. Willy’s nakedly honest stories about resilience, disability, racism, parenting, surgical complications, and more provide a refreshingly intersectional and nuanced perspective on life as a full, complex transgender person.”


Masen Davis, co-director of Global Action for Trans Equality


“It’s incredibly useful—even life-changing—whenever an experienced community health worker like Willy Wilkinson records the years of on-the-ground knowledge they’ve developed. It’s even more so when it comes to communities, like trans people and people of color, whose health disparities remain underexplored, particularly by workers who are of the people. But it’s truly a gift when that person also has the soul of a creative writer, as Wilkinson does. His professional expertise on the individual tolls of intersecting oppressions is deep, making Born on the Edge of Race and Gender useful to other health workers and future medical historians. However, the book’s even more enduring impact comes from a balancing of this informative impulse with a willingness to relate how transphobia, homophobia, and racism play out in his own life and across his own body in deft, emotional recollections that lead readers to more intimately grasp the urgency of the trans-inclusive health care reform he calls for. This is how change is made.”


Mitch Kellaway, reporter and coeditor of Manning Up: Transsexual Men on Finding Brotherhood, Family & Themselves


“Wilkinson’s dynamic and thoughtful exploration of his own gender- and racially blended experience shines a warm light on what might be complicated aspects of gendered life. In his graceful prose, he deftly unravels some of life’s mysteries and imparts a confidence that carries his readers to a less frightening edge than those edges he himself has touched. Transformation is to be expected, but we need not be afraid.”


Jamison Green, PhD, author of Becoming a Visible Man


“In Born on the Edge of Race and Gender: A Voice for Cultural Competency, Willy Wilkinson artfully weaves deeply personal and poignant narrative with historic and current cultural references to illustrate strides forward and backward along the road to equity. He also provides a much-needed upgrade to the misinformation surrounding the female-to-male genital reconstruction process and its outcomes.”


Zander Keig, LCSW, coeditor of Letters for My Brothers: Transitional Wisdom in Retrospect and Manning Up: Transsexual Men on Finding Brotherhood, Family & Themselves


“In this moment when transgender people are more visible than ever yet continue to face incredible violence and discrimination, Born on the Edge of Race and Gender is critically important in raising the visibility of transgender men of color, who are rarely made visible.”


Kris Hayashi, executive director, Transgender Law Center


“Not only is the gift of parenthood a sublime joy and right that many trans people can realize, but, as Willy is showing us, being an awesome dad can be an additional facet of one’s true identity.”


Thomas Beatie, author of Labor of Love: The Story of One Man’s Extraordinary Pregnancy

In this historic moment of transgender visibility in the U.S., writer, activist, and public health consultant Willy Wilkinson's Born on the Edge of Race and Gender: A Voice for Cultural Competency uses the power of storytelling to contextualize one of the most misunderstood social issues of our time. This poetic, journalistic memoir shines an intersectional beacon on the ambiguity and complexity of mixed heritage, transgender, and disability experience, and offers an intimate window into how current legislative and policy battles impact the lives of transgender people. Whether navigating the men's locker room like a "stealth trans Houdini," accessing lifesaving health care, or appreciating his son's recognition of him as a "transformer," Wilkinson compellingly illustrates the unique, difficult, and sometimes comical experiences of transgender life.


A seasoned public health consultant and cultural competency trainer, Wilkinson provides practical tools and resources to help community health organizations, educational institutions, and businesses create LGBTQ- and trans-affirming systems. Innovative, moving, and accessible, this multifaceted memoir explores the liberation of finding one's voice in a world that prescribes silence, and offers a fresh look at ways to systemically affirm diversity throughout society.

Trailer for Born on the Edge of Race and Gender, 2015

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