The book is called âInvisible Men – Inside India’s Transmasculine Networksâ. The first thing that calls for a negative response is the foreword by Manu Joseph which begins with the statement “The fluid has a direction”, which is essentially a contradiction with the term genre-fluid. The foreword and the book seem to be talking about two entirely different things.
The blurb is a further contrast to the foreword and surprisingly also to the book.
“Nandini Krishnan asks the question, what does manhood really mean?” This question, unfortunately, is only answered by conclusions Krishnan draws from partial knowledge and vivisection of the lives of those she interviewed. Of course, identifying as a cis person gives you a certain privilege and she uses hers to the fullest.
The whole book looks like an endless article in a newspaper or magazine. To say that this is a totally journalistic approach would be to insult the profession. One of the major issues is storytelling which is messy and comes and goes with non-linear idiosyncrasy, making it almost impossible to follow any particular line of thought.
Plus, the narrative gets complicated by elucidating in detail, on tangential thinking or sometimes, taking a whole new perspective on a case study without any preamble. This book has had a lot of controversial reactions over the past year and it’s clear why. As much as one can appreciate the impersonal perspective from which the book is primarily written, so much does it fail to justify the purpose for which it was written.
The icing on the cake must be when she brings religion into the problem. She shamelessly connects the dots using religion and Vedic translations to reinforce her own values ââand principles about what masculinity and femininity are and what they should be.
Of course, this documents the life of the trans community well as well as showing how cis people are otherwise allowed. For someone who wants to study a problem and not read about an individual’s struggle in life, this book has plenty of material. Stories on personal accounts such as those included in the book need a touch of humanity. What remains a mystery is whether the book is meant to be social stigma documentation or if it is more. It looks like a thesis defense where all the research is used to prove a point. The book disrespects these individuals by treating them as experimental evidence just to supplement a notion that Krishnan believes in.
It is laborious to categorize this book into particular genres because it does not stick to any of them. It is a messy dump of unconscious thoughts and prejudices which is mainly a counter-argument to the said objective of the book. A misguided attempt that unethically exploited the trust placed in the author, a terrible breach of privacy, this book is solid proof of why an entire community of people is fighting for basic human rights. nowadays.