Aaron Raz Link, What Becomes You, with Hilda Raz


“Being a man, like being a woman, is something you have to learn,” Aaron Raz Link remarks. Few would know this better than the coauthor of What Becomes You, who began life as a girl named Sarah and twenty-nine years later began life anew as a gay man. Turning from female to male and from teaching scientist to theatre performer, Link documents the extraordinary medical, social, legal, and personal processes involved in a complete identity change.

Hilda Raz, a well-known feminist writer and teacher, observes the process as both an “astonished” parent and as a professor who has studied gender issues. All these perspectives come into play in this collaborative memoir, which travels between women’s experience and men’s lives, explores the art and science of changing sex, maps uncharted family values, and journeys through a world transformed by surgery, hormones, love, and . . . clown school. Combining personal experience and critical analysis, the book is an unusual—and unusually fascinating—reflection on gender, sex, and the art of living.

Aaron Raz Link has been a writing professor, a science educator for major museums, and a curriculum developer and lead instructor for a National Institutes of Health initiative program supporting diversity in science and medicine. He has also been a day laborer, a puppeteer, and the artistic director of Gorilla Theater, a company of performers from the streets. Hilda Raz is the author or editor of fourteen books, including her most recent, Letter from a Place I’ve Never Been: New and Collected Poems, 1986–2020 (Nebraska, 2021). She is editor of the Mary Burritt Christiansen Poetry Series at the University of New Mexico Press and poetry editor for ABQ (in)Print and Bosque Press


“Scientist Link begins his fascinating account of gender reassignment by explaining scientific classification. . . . Raz writes of her child with rare and moving candor. . . . Mother and son’s poignant account becomes one of steadfast maternal love in the midst of changes only partly physical. Both knowingly return, always, to the terrain of the heart.”—Booklist

“A blend of essay, memoir and intergenerational dialogue, this title is stranger—and smarter—than the average transsexual memoir. . . . [An] oddly moving, more illuminating and memorable than a straightforward memoir could have been.”—Publishers Weekly Web-Exclusive

“[Link and Raz] continue to surprise and challenge us as they pull from their knowledge of biology and feminism, and fairy tales and psychiatry, to wrestle with understanding Link’s transsexuality. The memoir welcomes readers into a study of the struggles and complexity of relationships in any family.”—Bloomsbury Review

Event date: 
Wednesday, June 30, 2021 - 6:00pm
Event address: 
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What Becomes You (American Lives ) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781496227843
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: University of Nebraska Press - April 1st, 2021