Early on in Black on Both Sides: A Racial History of Trans Identity, C. Riley Snorton tells readers, “Black on Both Sides is not a history per se, so much as it is a set of political propositions, theories of history and writerly experiments.” (6) I found Snorton's intentional disruption of our assumptions about what constitutes “a history”—a disruption that continues throughout the text—an apt analogy for the book's theoretical interventions. Trans bodies are most vulnerable to violence when they disrupt our (cis) demands that gender presentation and physical sex provide a mutually constitutive mirror for each other. Snorton's pathbreaking book, though, cares little for our comfort and asks us to sit within the paradox produced by any attempt to conceptually and discretely apprehend histories of blackness/transness, categories which, he asserts and documents, represent conditions of possibility rather than static...

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