CVIndependent

Mon12112017

Last updateWed, 27 Sep 2017 1pm

13 Feb 2014

Western Lit: Kaitlin Sine Riordan Courageously Writes About Dealing With Transgenderism in 'Bondage of Self'

Written by 

Many people have a hard time understanding and grasping transgenderism—and a local woman, Kaitlin Sine Riordan, is trying to change that by telling her story with her book, Bondage of Self.

Born a boy, Riordan was raised in Richmond, Va., by a father who was extremely self-disciplined and into bodybuilding, and a mother who was a housewife. During her childhood, she found herself confused about her gender identity.

She describes a moment, when she was 6 years old, on a shopping trip with her mother: She was playing with dresses in a clothing store. When her mother said she would tell Riordan’s father, she disciplined herself by bashing a toy rifle against her legs, leaving big, purple welts. It turns out that her father was cold and indifferent to the whole matter.

Riordan also shares details about her life as a teenager—revealing a person in serious pain. She played basketball and displayed the typical masculinity of a teenage boy, but would find ways to be home alone so she could wear women’s clothing. She later got married and was a devoted husband and father—but Riordan drank, straining the relationship with her wife and children. She was in management at a Philip Morris production plant, but secrets in the workplace eventually forced her into early retirement.

A key moment in Riordan’s life occurred when she started a relationship with a female co-worker who had no problem with Riordan’s love of dressing in women’s clothing; that woman would go on to become Riordan’s second wife. Meanwhile, Riordan started to reach out to others who were dealing with gender-identity struggles, including a support group who sought to embrace and encourage members to come as their “true gender.”

Riordan eventually found the support and the courage to go through the process of transitioning from male to female. She also confronted her alcoholism at Michael’s House in Palm Springs in 2008, after which she returned home and went through with her gender-reassignment surgery.

It’s obviously been a long road for Riordan, and she shows great courage in telling her story. She details the ridicule that many transgendered people suffer through, as well as the struggles one goes through while in the process of transitioning—including problems with friends and family, and the interpersonal issues one deals with while going through the many preparations. In the end, Riordan has emerged as a stronger, happier person.

While the book is quite descriptive, it exhibits flaws that are all too common with books that are self-published: There are grammar and punctuation errors, and several of the chapters should be split. When I asked Riordan about these flaws, and she said she is working with an editor on a second edition which she hopes to have out soon.

Those errors aside, Bondage of Self is a book that not only someone who is going through transgenderism will appreciate; it’s also a great read for people who want to better understand the trials endured by men and women struggling with gender-identity issues.

Bondage of Self

By Kaitlin Sine Riordan

Purple Books Publishing

370 pages, $19.95

Leave a comment

Make sure you enter all the required information, indicated by an asterisk (*). HTML code is not allowed.