Alison Li B&W

Alison Li is an historian of science and medicine. She writes about hormones and the culture in which they are shaped. Her latest work is Wondrous Transformations available now from University of North Carolina Press.

I’ve been hoping for a long time that somebody would write this book. Alison Li has produced a highly readable, authoritatively researched biography of Harry Benjamin, whose contributions to transgender medicine are not as widely known as they should be. A much-needed corrective.

Susan Stryker, Author of Transgender History
Wondrous Transformations: A maverick physician, the science of hormones, and the birth of the transgender revolution

Wondrous Transformations is the story of Dr. Harry Benjamin (1885-1986), endocrinologist and sexologist best known for his contributions to transgender medicine. Read more

“A smart and readable contribution to transgender studies.” – Publishers Weekly

“This thoughtful, thoroughly researched history provides a foundation and a lens through which to better understand contemporary issues of gender identity….Recommended.” – Choice

Available now from your favourite bookseller. Use discount code 01SOCIAL30 for a 30% discount at UNC Press.

With Wondrous Transformations, Alison Li has written a compelling and eminently readable biography that is at the same time magisterial in the scope and depth of its research. A must-read for anyone interested in the history of science, medicine, or trans iterations of the same.

Jules Gill-Peterson, author of Histories of the Transgender Child


2024 MacLennan Lecture, University of King’s College
I was honoured to present the 2024 MacLennan Lecture on March 12, 2024
“Wondrous Transformations: Harry Benjamin, Hormones, and the Early History of Transgender Medicine.”

Li’s engaging prose harnesses the affordances allowed in biography to craft an engrossing narrative. She has done an admirable job in bringing the two halves of Benjamin’s career together, and her work is a great service to the fields of trans history and the history of hormones.

Shir Bach, The watermark