Trans: A Memoir

In July 2012, aged thirty, Juliet Jacques underwent sex reassignment surgery – a process she chronicled with unflinching honesty in a serialised national newspaper column. Trans tells of her life to the present moment: a story of growing up, of defining yourself, and of the rapidly changing world of gender politics.

Fresh from university, she navigates the treacherous waters of a world where, even in the liberal and feminist media, transgender identities go unacknowledged, misunderstood or worse. Yet through writing, art, film, music, politics and football, Jacques starts to become the person she had only imagined, and begins the process of transition. Interweaving the personal with the political, her memoir is a powerful exploration of debates that comprise trans politics, issues which promise to redefine our understanding of what it means to be alive.

About the author

Juliet Jacques is a freelance writer, best known for the Guardian’s Transgender Journey column, which marked the first time the gender reassignment process had been serialised for a major British publication. 

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Why We Like It

  • A moving memoir and insightful examination of transgender politics
  • Open, humorous, honest and self-deprecating
  • Includes an epilogue with Sheila Heti, author of How Should a Person Be

‘An honest, articulate account of one life so far.’ – Guardian

Trans challenges us all, no matter what our gender or sexuality.’ – Philip Hoare, New Statesman



The Pigeonhole is delighted to be serialising Trans in the run-up to the launch of Verso’s paperback edition of the book. For more information about Verso’s editions of Trans, click here.

Juliet Jacques is a freelance writer, best known for the Guardian’s Transgender Journey column, which marked the first time the gender reassignment process had been serialised for a major British publication. The column was longlisted for the Orwell Prize in 2011. She was included in the Independent’s Pink List for 2012, 2013 and 2014, and is a regular contributor to the New Statesman. She has also written for Granta, TimeOut, Filmwaves, 3am, the London Review of Books, the New Humanist, the New Inquiry and many other publications. She lives in London.


‘Brave and moving, Trans is necessary reading for anyone who cares about gender, power, freedom and desire. Juliet Jacques deals with the forces of cruelty and ignorance with a hard-won clarity and calm. A vital voice in our turbulent times.’ – Olivia Laing, author of The Trip to Echo Spring

Trans is a marvelously nuanced journey through gender, brilliantly contextualized in the disparate worlds of pop culture, football, mass media, and the NHS. This is a terrific read by an accomplished author.’ – Kate Bornstein, author of A Queer and Pleasant Danger

‘Powerful and engaging... it’s hard not to see her as anything other than brave, even as she pushes readers to recognize that what is revolutionary is the very ordinariness of her day-to-day life.’ – New York Times

I Am Cait for the literary set. Jacques lays her transitioning experience bare – hormones and surgery and all – with an afterword by Sheila Heti.’ – New York Magazine

‘Brutally honest and funny.’ – Marie Claire

‘Jacques is trapped in the wrong narrative, and Trans offers the possibility of a more complete one, with a holistic personal story that does not reject pre-transition identity, and an understanding that gender lies on a continuum... the most sublime moments in Trans come when Jacques shares with us a vision she has gained—and often these are hard-won—into what it means to have a unified self, whether it’s when she receives recognition from her parents for her success, has a great day on the soccer field, or simply feels good in her skin.’ – Amanda DeMarco, Flavorwire

Trans maintains the quick pacing and firebrand tone from Jacques’sGuardian writings, while treading far deeper into theory and the author’s personal life and further developing her natural skill for transmuting abstract concepts into engaging life stories... Her authorial voice mixes passion with a grittiness inherited from her history in several UK alternative music scenes. [Trans] maintains a slick, effortless tone characteristic of all Jacques’ writing.’ – Scott Esposito, Literary Hub

Trans challenges us all, no matter what our gender or sexuality. Ultimately, it makes us look at our selves, and wonder what price we pay for the identities we assume, or which we have thrust upon us.’ – Philip Hoare, New Statesman

Trans is about what it’s like to be an outsider, about the difficult interplay between gender variance and social acceptance[...] In making herself vulnerable, Jacques shows how likeable she is. At the end of the book I wanted to be her friend, and you will too.’ – Ray Filar, New Humanist

‘Juliet Jacques’s Trans ... provides a lyrical exploration of her own gender journey against the background of increasing media interest in transgender issues. Thoughtful and intimate, it’s a fine successor to books such as Jan Morris’s Conundrum.’ – Helen Lewis, Guardian, Best Politics Books of the Year

‘[Jacques] has a Proustian rhythm and pace. Her evenness of voice, when discussing personal and emotional detail of the very intense and difficult parts of her life let the viewer share a comfortable intimacy with her, that I can only imagine was difficult to balance while maintaining a sense of self and privacy... [Trans] is a history as well as a personal history.’ – Seattle Review of Books


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