Diversity and the Transgender Experience
“Transgender people have been around since the beginning of time, and there are more of us than you think,” writes author Joanne Herman in her new book, Transgender Explained For Those Who Are Not. “Transgender people are very varied and diverse -- some transition genders as I did, some have an opposite gender presentation only part of the time and some have a unique gender presentation all of the time,” said Herman. “Contrary to common belief, few transgender people have surgery.”
Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines transgender as, “of, relating to, or being a person ... who identifies with or expresses a gender identity that differs from the one which corresponds to the person’s sex at birth.” The definition does not mention surgical reassignment and it does not speak to a person’s sexual orientation -- some transgender people are gay while others are straight.
The book covers what it means to be transgender and offers a much-needed resource, which is organized by topic into short, easy-to-read chapters. Herman tackles myriad subjects as she weaves her personal story with thorough research, statistics and analysis. She gives a voice to the thousands of people living in similar situations. As 2009 draws to a close, acceptance and tolerance have become increasingly important, and knowledge is the first step to achieving this goal.
Joanne Herman has a bachelor’s degree in government and economics from Dartmouth College and an M.B.A. from Northeastern University. She is the first transgender person elected to the board of directors of Point Foundation, a national Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender scholarship fund; Fenway Health, the largest LGBT-focused health center in the world; and GLAD, the New England-based LGBT legal rights organization. Herman is also the first openly transgender member of the congregation of Old South Church in Boston.