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Undercover Girl: Growing up Transgender

Undercover Girl: Growing up Transgender [Kindle Edition]

Jill Davidson
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

Growing up transgender is difficult. In the 1960s no one talks about people who want to be a different gender. Jill tries to make sense of her self, her family, and the events swirling around her. Friends pull her to a degree of happiness and sanity, into peer helping and then psychology. As a man, she falls in love and develops a career as a school psychologist. She appears a successful man, until near death experiences remind her of what is important, and she embarks, at age 50, to become a woman outwardly, while continuing to work in schools.

Jill, expecting a difficult transition, is surprised by the support she receives from colleagues, parents, and students as she goes about her work in her true gender. She learns some surprising and uncomfortable truths about why her transition in particular had gone so well - truths beyond gender.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 759 KB
  • Print Length: 356 pages
  • Publisher: Smashwords; 1st edition (27 July 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1466183039
  • ISBN-13: 978-1466183032
  • ASIN: B008QF0C54
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #136,522 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars not for me 19 May 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
not for me thanks pretty boring stuff not even read it all cant see the point in the book so...
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I liked it in the end because of the similarities Jill's life has with my own, I could relate to much of her experience. The only thing that I disliked about it was the rather haphazard approach taken early on concrning her childhood and teenage years,

Janet x
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not full of sexy "smut" but real issues and very interesting comments, Authentic and helpful ! alone with ones thoughts can and does kill.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.1 out of 5 stars  19 reviews
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Captivating and emotionally honest 8 Oct 2012
By Mary Kabrich - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
The story of Jill's transition is both unimaginably painful and joyous. With searing honesty, beginning with, "I never wanted to be trans," Jill provides a rich context of poignant memories from early elementary years in Catholic school up to the present with her role as a prominent school psychologist in Seattle School District. Throughout her journey towards wholeness, Jill is continually battling depression, panic attacks, and issues of self-worth. In so many ways one could imagine at age fifty with a satisfying marriage, family, and successful career, it would be easy to let go of her haunting desire to live as a woman. And yet to me (as someone who is not trans) Jill's story makes it crystal clear why she must go forward in life embracing the reality of who she is. A parent, who knew her as John, tells Jill: "I just want to tell you what a great thing you are doing. Most people don't have the courage to be who they are. Thank you for being here." Jill's story is touching and transformative and most definitely worth reading.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Terrific story, but needs editing 5 Mar 2014
By A. F. North - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Touching, personal, insightful story of a trans woman's transformation. But cluttered with details of meals eaten, meetings attended, auto and ferry boat problems. And what seems to be a problem for all writers of transgender stories, use of pronoun "I" where "me" is correct as in "give it to John and I" though one would never say "give it to I"!
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Continuously fascinating 6 Aug 2012
By Samuel Rafael - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Undercover Girl: Growing up Transgender examines, with exceptional depth, what it is like to be a gender variant individual, born in a male body, who makes a transition to a female gender role rather late in life. Apparently originally written in the form of a web blog and compiled into book form, the author (Jill Davidson), who is a wonderful writer working as a school psychologist, examines existential issues of life and death and more mundane ones such as sexuality, relationships, the effect of hormones and testosterone blockers, transitioning in the workplace, discrimination, transphobia, struggle with vocal presentation and most of all, her agonizing and continued journey to self acceptance. In this very personal and extremely frank account, the author takes the reader on a very lengthy, yet continuously fascinating, humorous, and sometimes gut-wrenching journey to the acquisition of her womanhood.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Memorable Life Story of Idenity Transformation.... 29 April 2014
By Michel Short - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
While avoiding all the typical media portrayals of trans persons as victims or villains: "Undercover Girl" is an emotionally articulate and often complex memoir authored by psychologist Dr. Jill Davidson, a dedicated respected health care professional, with numerous colleagues, associates, a multitude of friends, and supported by a loving family.
John MacDonald was born (1955) too married observant Irish Catholic parents, and raised in East Orange, NJ. the youngest, with two brothers and a sister. He attended Catholic schools and spent his summers of relaxation/recreation on a 264 acre family farm located in Hartford, NY. He had no interest in sports, cars, athletics, hunting, fishing, or the science kits his father encouraged him to build. Instead he preferred the company of girls, reading, and helping his mother with cooking, baking, and household chores. As a teen, with a keen interest in psychology, John volunteered on a teen crisis line for many years, but was forced to quit over his father's opposition to the line referring students for abortion services. Winning the fully paid tuition NY State Regents Scholarship he attended the University of Buffalo, majoring in psychology.

While in college, John studied books/literature of trans issues and knew a few trans people, but never identified with them. He suffered from panic/anxiety attacks and sought therapy, not having an explanation for his therapists when asked: "Who are you?". John watched all the popular movies: "One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest", "Terminal Man", "The Parallax View", they offered no insight to his anxiety issues, student teaching was particularly difficult. Experimenting in communal living John lived at the "Hippie House", he observed/attended in the Viet Nam anti-war protests/demonstrations in Newark, NJ. Following graduation John married Linda (1977) in a ceremony with her rabbi giving a Jewish/Catholic blessing. Their only daughter Rachel was born in 1984.

John and Linda moved to Austin Texas where John attended the University of Texas on a full scholarship from the National Institute of Mental Health. The program was challenging with half of the students from the prior class dropping out. John sought 10 week counseling sessions to help him manage the severe stress/anxiety his therapist felt was associated with identity and his desire to succeed/excel. The (RP) research proposals were due, John's was accepted, his dissertation was: "Reading Comprehension of Adolescents with Learning Disabilities". John's 1983 graduation was a memorable ceremony in The Tower Plaza with Lady Bird Johnson as the guest speaker.

After a brief teaching position at the University of Kentucky (EKU), John accepted a position as a school psychologist with the Seattle School District and moved his family to Poulsbo Washington, located across the Puget Sound from Seattle by ferry. They both loved the majestic area, with views of Mount Rainier, shimmering waters of the Sound, towering rustic Evergreen trees.
John wouldn't decide to transition (MtF) until many years had passed. Exploring his female identity, he began by joining the Emerald City Cross-Dressing Club, eventually coming out to Linda who understood/accepted his desire to present as female. Calling him her "Big Barbie", Linda helped him shop for clothes/shoes/accessories, apply make-up, etc. Linda's love and support were vital as he transitioned to Jill Davidson. Linda was also undergoing chemotherapy cancer treatments at the time, all things were especially challenging. It was very interesting to read about trans history, legal/medical terms and procedures. Jill revealed all the details of emotional and physical transformation, and covered an extensive amount of information in "Undercover Girl". This is a long review, I thought it was important to highlight Davidson's family stability, and academic/professional accomplishments, which were many.
Davidson, is a public school psychologist, and advocate for LGBT education and rights, and lives near the Seattle area.
Remembering: Sylvia Rivera ~ (1951-2002 ~ NYC, New York) ~ Victoria White (d. 09/12/10 Maplewood, NJ) ~ Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) November 20th ~
2.0 out of 5 stars Long, with too much daily detail 2 Aug 2014
By David N. Parker - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
When I first came across this title, I thought it would be interesting to read and compare with other transition memoirs. To some extent it was. Jill realized at an early age that she was different, but it wasn't until she was approaching puberty that she learned there were others like her. In the mid sixties there wasn't much information about transsexuals, and what there was was pretty negative. Like many transsexuals of the period, Jill (John at the time) suppressed her sense of self and tried to "be male." She dated,but with little of the typical male obsession with sex; instead of wanting to fondle the girls breasts, she wanted to have them.

Marriage to Linda was supposed to"cure" her. It didn't. After nearly forty years and much soul-searching, Jill disclosed herself to Linda,very concerned about potential loss of her marriage and her much-loved partner. Linda's reasponse was both surprising and unusual. She responded " after 40 years, do you think that makes a difference?

The bulk of the memoir deals with Jill's work and learning how to feel comfortable as a woman. Her experiences were quite different than most transgender's. Her coworkers and employers accepted her transition and were mostly supportive. Her marriage and relationship with Linda remained strong as they confronted Linda's boughts with cancer and Jill's continuing need to feel more natural as a woman.

While the book contains an interesting story of one person's transition, it has far too much daily detail. Jill describes her outfits, her meals, and her daily activities so much that this seems like I am reading her diary.
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