Vernon A. Rosario, M.D.,
author of The Erotic Imagination, clinical faculty, UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute
"Alice bravely explores the limits of gender, sexuality, and relationships-a sexy, poignant, and often hilarious memoir of transgenderism."
Vern L. Bullough, Ph.D., author of Crossdressing, Sex, and Gender, past president of the Society of the Scientific Study of Sex
"Alice in Genderland is a fascinating story, well worth reading."
Linda Jensen, contributing writer,
"Few know the transgender scene like GIRL TALK magazine's Alice Novic. This exciting new memoir by her male alter ego takes us along with him and the people he loves, as he encounters and explores each twist and turn around him and within him. As much Lewis and Clark as it is Lewis Carroll, Alice in Genderland blazes a new trail in the world of crossdressing."
Darya Kristina Teasewell from LA USA
"By its very nature, the transgender world is not black and white. There is a constant search for definition by those in the community and those outside it, and all too often, that search falls flat. To many outsiders, we are gay men in denial or perverts with some kind of mother complex. They see TG women as football players in dresses, much in the same way they see all gay men as swishy Nellies. The rainbow flag of GLBT pride is closer to the truth; trans experience is a spectrum, just as gay, lesbian and bi experience is. One way or another, all of us t-people have struggled to put our blended lives into words that let others know who we really are. Alice in Genderland does just that. It is no whitewash; it's the richly textured, multi-hued story of a crossdresser and represents a refreshing change in trans literature.
Before I review the book, I have to make a few of things clear from a journalistic standpoint. Alice (Dr. Novic's femme persona) is my friend, and she kindly recognizes me in her acknowledgements section. Second, I was going through much the same experiences, in much the same high heels, at much the same time Alice was. I was there on some of those nights she describes at our late, beloved Queen Mary Show Lounge in Studio City, California-a mere fifty feet from where I work today.
I first met Alice back in the nineties, as we giddily tested the limits of our newfound womanhood and flirted up a storm in the nightclubs of Los Angeles. I was the redhead in fishnets and platforms towering above the crowd looking regal and being bitchy. She was this impeccably groomed, well schooled, not necessarily well behaved girly-girl. Perhaps I'm lucky not to have become a character in her book, but recognizing many of the people she simply but splendidly describes made Alice in Genderland especially fun for me.
Not every trans person is a woman trapped in a male body, and Alice knows she's more than that. Alice/Richard describes how the secret desires of his youth evolved into the full-blown female identity, which he now adopts for a night every week. He is proudly both Richard, husband, dad and successful psychiatrist, and Alice, a sweet, elegant woman frequenting restaurants and clubs-and dating a man for five years. Crossdressers like Alice, who only occasionally venture into their femininity, are often ignored or unfairly portrayed in books about the TG lifestyle. Alice's example stands out in stark contrast to the popular misconception of CDs as selfish and strange and lacking the commitment of true transsexuals.
She is honest and evocative in the way she presents her sex life and emotions, serving up scenes that show her initial terror and shame over her female desires, her fascination and confusion, and ultimately her exhilaration and pride. I don't know if I'll ever forget the disaster that ensues as Richard confesses his urges to his unsuspecting, young fiancee. Sex and conflict can be such vital forces in our womanly awakenings, and Alice owns up to it in a way that's refreshing and rarely found in TG autobiographies. Her depictions of tranny nightlife, especially the Queen Mary, are fabulous and spot on. I feel like I can hear La Bouche's "Be My lover" pounding out on the back patio of the QM in a glorious blur of summer nights in the late nineties.
Though Alice is a very knowledgeable psychiatrist, she tells her story without it degenerating into a clinical treatise or a how-to book for the novice CD. She meets an impressive array of people on her journey and renders them warmly without glossing over the grittier aspects of their lives. This is not a book for prudes or those with a judgmental streak. In fact, one of the most remarkable things about Alice's life is the open relationship she develops with her wife and the way it allows her to explore her sexuality far beyond the boundaries of most married (or even single) crossdressers.
In well researched appendices at the end of the book, Alice opines on the many puzzles of tranny life, based on her own personal and professional experience. She strives to describe and explain things as clearly as possible, even if that occasionally puts her at odds with current political correctness. Some of her ideas may generate heat for the way they dovetail with the notions of Michael Bailey, author of the controversial Man Who Would Be Queen. I'm personally not a fan of Bailey, at all, but since Alice is actually one of us, I respect her perspective. Alice expresses herself sensitively and encourages us all to keep an open mind.
I think Alice in Genderland is an extremely good read for crossdressers, transsexuals, those who admire us, and anyone fascinated by the mystery and intersection of human identity and sexuality. Although her profession is to analyze others, she gives us a raw and riveting look at herself without resorting to facile explanations or cheap dramatics. Alice challenges us to think anew on what a loving relationship looks like and what gender roles really mean. But more than anything else, she tells a wonderful tale.
Dr. Richard Novic, is a Harvard-educated psychiatrist and crossdresser. Most of the time, he is a man at the office or a husband and father at home. But occasionaly maybe one evening a week, she is Alice Novic a woman about town, shopping, dining, dancing, and dating a man for over eight years.
Although Dr. Novic now leads a richly expressive life, however he suffered since childhood with a secret, a desire he was in no way equipped to handle, but one that eventually burst through his denial, a few months before his wedding day. Just once, he felt, and before this commitment, while he still could, he had to know how it felt like to be a woman. Like Alice in Wonderland, his curiosity led him to fall headlong down a rabbit hole, through desperate straits, mind-opening surprises, heart-rending changes, and boundless love. By the time he was back on his feet, he was a different person, living a lifestyle he hadn't known could possibly exist.
Dr Novic is now the author of 'Alice in Genderland' and is a regular contributor to (among other publications) Girl Talk magazine’s “Go Ask Alice” column and also the author of the newly-published , a modern (readable!) memoir by a crossdresser. Dr. Richard Novic, Alice’s male self, is a psychiatrist who lives with his wife in the LA area, and his femme self, Alice, has a steady boyfriend.
"I have combined my gender duality into one "box" what you see is what you get. I may one day be, glossy, blow-dried and made-up and another look like Ive been pulled through a hedge backwards. But at all times, I am the same person Vicky Lee an inbetweeny with (despite flirtatous experimentation) a monogomous relationship with my soul mate of over 30 years.
However having talked with thousands of trans people I know that there are some who strongly "comparmentalise" thier lives to the extent that there "trans persona" lives in a totaly seperate "box" and within this "box" thier trans persona may be intensly different to the "base persona" almost as if this is trans persona is a different person even extending to a different sexuality with a very different sex life. Most times this "second box" is very secret, very protected and comes with an awful mental and finacial strain to maintain. Not many life partners would understand or accept this level of duality in there partner. In Dr Alice's Novics case it appears to work and she share this experience with the world very candidly in her book 'Alice in Genderland'.
Dr Alice called me for some travel tips and a description of 'Sparkle' in Manchester 2006. She was considering a visit to the UK to witness this phenomenal event. I had of course read her book and recognised her to be an exceptional and unusual person with an openly alternative way of coping with gender and sexuality duality. I immediatly contacted Nikki May who organises the talks at the 'Sparkle' event who was thrilled to offer Dr Alice the opportunity of a book signing session and the keynote talk of the Saturday. Alice joined me at my hotel and we spent the weekend together. I have to say that Alice is one of the most insightful, charming and very gentle people I have met. I can confirm she is a terrific flirt, always with one eye on the guys around us. I can tell you I have spent a lot of time with gay guys, lesbian girls, trans people and straight girls (married and single) - and watching Alice carry on a conversation with me, but with one eye scanning (and engaging) with the guys around us was exactly like most of the straight girls of my acquaintance. In my experience this is not the same as the gay guys, lesbian girls, trans people. Alice is pretty unique, so very womanly yet still a married cross-dresser."
Review of Alice In Genderland
by Richard F. Doctor, Ph.D.
as featured in the INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL of TRANSGENDERISM
This book is the first to offer an in-depth look at the life of a crossdresser and focuses on the author’s quest for identity, self-acceptance and personal fulfillment. He opens his private notes and photograph albums to reveal two themes that become progressively integrated over thirty years. The first deals with sexual motivation and the second with gender identity. In search of sexual fulfillment, Alice Novic searches for novel and sometimes risky sexual experiences, some of which were very gratifying, but others resulted in self-recrimination, shame, and distress. Most of these harsh feelings are blamed on arbitrary middle-class sex negative values; through personal growth they are supplanted by a more hedonistic view. Shame is replaced by exceptional pleasure and a sense of well-being. This example of personal growth and conflict resolution is one of the major statements of this book.
The motivational foundations of the second theme, dealing with gender identity, are less explicit, because they deal with the evolution of Novic’s conviction, that despite his male anatomy, he desires nothing more than to become the most beautiful woman possible. This grows into a compelling and highly valued theme of his life. Learning to be a woman becomes a long but very rewarding process ranging from experiments with cosmetics to facial surgery. An important criterion for Alice’s public presentation is her ability to attract the attention of men. Here, success is somewhat uneven; while Alice finds plenty of dance partners in drag bars, the high quality relationships she seeks are few and far between. While struggling with the possibility that in the future Alice might want to live full-time as a woman, this is rejected in favor of an arrangement that permits him to incorporate three of his most valued life objectives: his responsibilities to his family, his professional work, and a once-a-week outing as Alice Novic including the joys of erotic encounters with a steady boy friend.
Through extensive psychotherapy and real life cross dressing experiences, Novic discovers that his intense desire to be a part-time beautiful woman is central to his personality, not simply a fantasy or an accompaniment to masturbation. He dedicates himself to learning how to appear to be a woman and practices this in the drag venues of Boston, Chicago, and Los Angeles. These fascinating haunts are his Genderland, but instead of encountering Humpty Dumpty, he meets many other crossdressers and transsexuals who teach him useful skills, serve as role models, and help him to gain greater self-acceptance. In Genderland,Alice’s adventures take her to a succession of Tri Ess and other support group meetings, but her best mentors and closest friends are usually other crossdressers or transsexuals. Alice progressively awards herself increasing latitude to experiment with the joys of being a beautiful woman. For her, attracting and dating men and the enjoyment of uninhibited sex becomes a fantasy-come-true. Ultimately, Novic negotiates with his wife for permission to enjoy four Saturday nights a month as Alice-on-the-town. All of this is in the service of expressing a deeply felt feminine gender identity characterized as feeling half-woman and half-man,combined with a bisexual propensity. . . .
This is an exceptionally thorough case history of a high functioning, insightful, and sensation-seeking cross dresser. It is not a research report or a theoretical treatise. Novic makes no claim that his pathway or his negotiations with his wife will necessarily provide a template for others. Written in a very engaging and lively style, the author opens the door of his crossdresser’s closet to reveal that a man can become a beautiful woman. How does he explain what compels Alice’s gender transformation? He doesn't’t. There is the persistent assertion that somehow innate brain-based determinants are at work, a view very much in vogue. The so-called fetal hormone hypothesis is emphasized while the social construction model of gender role development is played down. He is atheoretical.. . .
In describing Alice’s thirty years of transgender experience, the author tells us what he did, how he felt, and of the compromises required to sustain his roles as a family leader, medical practitioner, and part-time beautiful woman. The author does not tease us with the riddles, conundrums, or the complex puzzles of Lewis Carroll; he is far more direct, uninhibited, and proud of his accomplishments. Very likely, however, his description of steamy sexual encounters with boy friends would terrify the wives of many crossdressers. His wife, we are told, has learned to accommodate to his transgender preferences . . . and is described as a loving and flexible person, yet it is suggested that if she could make all of this go away, perhaps she would. . . . Much emphasis is given to the process of “coming out.” While regarding this as especially therapeutic, he explains that for various reasons he has been selective in revealing his life as Alice to friends, patients, and other professionals. Novic is realistic about the punishments society may exact for behaviors perceived as over-the-top. We are all living, he notes, in a sex-negative culture.
While struggling to clarify her identity, Lewis Carroll’s Alice found her way out of Wonderland and was all the better for the experience. Richard Novic’s Alice has also found gratification through her adventures in Genderland including the expression of her feminine identity. But as Novic points out, who can say where all this may lead? . .
272 pages. An unusual auto biography that explores compartmentalising of a life to achieve a balance to satisfy the duality of gender and sexuality that some people "enjoy" but few understand. This book also also captures the transgender scene of LA in the nineties. Describing well LA's now defunct 'Queen Mary Showlounge' a piece of transgender history. A unique and unusual transgender life story from a celebrated transvestite view point. Another must read book for all that want to understand the full breadth of the transgender umbrella.