The book „Transsexualism in Poland. Individual and social dimension of crossing the binary gender system” published in 2012 , is a recapitulation of the research done earlier. The publication contains the articles that had been published so far- they formed the basis to develop the subject furtherly. The purpose of the publication is to fill this gap within social science regarding transsexuality. The subject of transsexuality has been compiled in several separate analyses so far. Transgenderism and transsexualism have become the subject for specialist courses. However, this subject was not easily accepted in the academic world, being treated as a controversial issue and analyzed from the perspective of deviance sociology. However, along with the development of gender discourse and transgender studies, the negative attitude towards this subject gradually began to disappear.
The publication is divided into three parts. The first part, “Theoretical Context”, consists of two chapters forming an introduction to the subject. In the first chapter, “ Transsexuality as the Subject of Sociological Studies”, the author explains why the analysis of transsexuality is interesting for a sociologist. The author also demonstrates certain theoretical traps while analyzing the phenomenon from the point of view of one particular theoretical stance. In this chapter the author considers the dilemmas appearing during the empirical analysis. One of these dilemmas is accepting one certain definition of transsexuality and the impact of medical discourse while defining people as being transsexual . The methodology that the author used while collecting empirical material is presented here. This chapter explains what transsexuality and its scale are. However, the author did not make an attempt to analyze its origin, as the etiology of transsexuality has still not been fully discovered .
Chapter II, “History of Transsexuality Studies”, presents the initial studies related to transsexuality, at first within psychiatry, endocrinology and sexology, then also sociology. The research on sexual minorities and transsexuality in Poland is presented here. The attitude of the church towards transsexuality is also analyzed.
The second part of the book, “Individual Dimension”, was mainly (although not solely) based on the author’s own quality studies- interviews with transsexual people. Basic feature of this part is presenting transsexuality in an individual perspective. This part depicts transsexual people’s experience , regarding their self-definition , identity, bodily narration and their own identity strategies concerning their everyday life.
Chapter III, “Trajectories of identity”, analyzes the problem related to transsexual people’s identity, its relationalism and fluidity, the form in which they define themselves. The author focuses on transsexual people’s reflections on three critical stages in their lives: first, before they discovered their transsexuality; second, when they defined themselves through the prism of transsexuality; third, referring to the present or future perspective when they are becoming or they will become these who they long to be.
Next chapter, “Body And Embodiment”, is closely connected with the previous one. It presents the significance of the body in social space and its strong influence on an individual identity, which is highly significant for transsexual people. The body is depicted as a certain trap determining social perception of being a woman or a man. Transsexual people find it difficult to fit a binary division of sexes. Their bodies sometimes deny a conventional and structured division into feminine and masculine, thus destroying the accepted social order.
Chapter V, “Femininity, Masculinity- Transsexuality”, is related to transsexual people’s perception of femininity/ masculinity, the manner in which they construct themselves after sex reassignment. This chapter also presents the power of stereotypes, providing internet debates related to MP Anna Grodzka, from the perspective of the concepts what the femininity is ,proving that not being familiar with transsexuality matters is conducive to compartmentalizing transsexual people.
The last chapter in this part, “Transition”, analyzes the sex reassignment process. The author madean attempt to outline the stages of this process and how they affected an individual and his/ her relations with the environment and doctors. The author provides the analysis of what happens to transsexual people before they discover their distinctness and what happens to them when they are aware of their transsexuality. This chapter presents their relation with the family and friends, with their colleagues and the closest environment. The author also presents the support groups.
Third part, “Social Dimension”, consists with two chapters focusing on constructing social minority by transsexual people. The question is posed if transsexual people can be perceived as a social minority, what their status is among other LGBTQ representatives. It is demonstrated that transsexuality is the experience excluding these people from the dominant culture, hindering their co-operation with gay and lesbian movement. The feminist criticism towards transsexuality is presented in this part of the publication. Finally, I pose the question if transsexuals fit LGBTQ movement, queer concept or if they should form their own minority.
Last chapter, “Transsexual People in a Legal System “, analyzes the legal aspects concerning transsexuality. Here, transsexuality is presented from the perspective of respecting the civil rights. The reference to current legal situation in Poland is presented here as well as the Bill of May 2012 aiming to amend the Penal Code, adding new grounds of protection for transsexual people..
The publication is concluded with the reception of the queer theory to transsexuality in the present socio -political situation in Poland.