Because I run a camp for transgender youth, Camp Aranu'tiq, I end up interfacing with parents soon after they have found out that their child is transgender. These parents are looking for resources for not only themselves but their family and friends. In my effort to help these parents find solid answers to the questions they face, I searched for resources. Most of the literature I came across was geared specifically toward helping professionals who already have a baseline understanding of transgenderism. Therefore, I decided it was time to write a book that could be used by parents, teachers, family, friends, professionals, and students alike.
I began to write down what I thought people should know about transgenderism if it was their first foray into the area. I supplemented my knowledge with research and interviews and tried to keep it light. Yes, transgenderism is a serious issue to those who are trans, and to their family and friends, but I know from my own experience that if there is a void of levity, one can end up feeling hopeless, especially given the lack of understanding in the American public surrounding trans issues.
The approach of Transgender 101: A Simple Guide to a Complex Issue is easy and conversational. When writing the book, I thought about the following: if you were sitting in a room with me, and I was explaining what "transgender" means in the simplest terms possible, what would I say? For instance, one of the chapters in the book, "Gender vs. Sexual Orientation," explains in laymen's terms the differences between gay or bisexual people and transgender people, and how they may overlap, but how they may not. I felt that this was one of the many areas that needed attention, because I constantly hear people use "transgender" and "straight" ("heterosexual") as mutually exclusive terms, which they are not. The book also details what it means to come out, to transition and live as one's true gender, to live in between genders, to face daily discrimination, and more.
15 essential things to know: