#Essential Reads: Meet the Invisible Men

Editor | Non-fiction

Who are the men that we never see?

Nandini Krishnan’s Invisible Men is richly detailed and thoroughly researched book which breaks down a lot of issues within the transgender community.

Female-to-male transgenders, or transmasculine people as they are called, are just beginning to form their networks in India. But their struggles are not visible to a gender-normative society that barely notices, much less acknowledges, them. While transwomen have gained recognition through the extraordinary efforts of activists and feminists, the brotherhood, as the transmasculine network often refers to itself, remains imponderable, diminished even within the transgender community. For all intents and purposes, they do not exist. In a country in which parents wish their daughters were sons, the daughters who do become sons are exiled.

In this remarkable, intimate book, Nandini Krishnan burrows deep into the prejudices encountered by India’s transmen, the complexities of hormonal transitions and sex reassignment surgery, issues of social and family estrangement, and whether socioeconomic privilege makes a difference.

With frank, poignant, often idiosyncratic interviews that braid the personal with the political, the informative with the offhand, she makes a powerful case for inclusivity and a non-binary approach to gender.

Above all, she asks the question: what does manhood really mean?

Renowned author Amit Chaudhuri says: “This timely book has been written with a mixture of authority and empathy; as importantly, its prose style is animated, fluent and humorous. It’s a serious book, but never too serious to make room for liveliness and a genuine engagement with its subject.”

The Author:

Nandini Krishnan is a writer, dancer and stage actor. Her first book, Hitched: The Modern Woman and Arranged Marriage, was published by Random House in 2013. Her journalism has appeared in long-form publications in India and abroad. She is the author of several plays and screenplays. An extract from her novel-in-progress was one of the five winners of the Caravan and Festival des Écrivains du Monde contest, 2014. Nandini lives in Madras with the eight dogs and three cats who own her.

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