Many LGBT organizations offer online overviews . Here are two resources I found helpful.
- HRC offers Transgender FAQ, Understanding the Transgender Community.
- There are two resources that, while less polished, offer a nice overview. What Transsexuality Is—Definition, Cause and History provides a bief overview of the history, definition, statistics, and biology of transsexualism. A Primer on Transsexuality — A “grade school level explanation” of what transsexuality is all about. Oversimplifies the science a little, but gets at the essentials. Especially good at describing why it hurts so much to have the “wrong body.”
These three books discuss gender in simple, engaging language. Each will appeal to a slightly different reader.
- Born This Way: Questions & Answers about Being Transgender. Bennet, DeAnna. 2014. — Bennet answers 111 frequently asked questions based largely on her personal reflections. Will appeal to those who like a Q&A format (“What’s it like to …?”).
- Transgender Explained for Those Who Are Not. Herman, Joanne. 2009. — Short, easy read by a transgender woman. You feel as though you are an audience of one with someone who is telling it straight and simple.
- Transgender 101: A Simple Guide to a Complex Issue. Teich, Nicholas M. 2012. New York: Columbia University Press. — Well-rounded overview by social worker and transgender man. Slightly more emphasis on societal perspective (e.g., history, mental health controversy, discrimination).
Two other books cover the topic a bit more technically.
- The Gendered Self: Further Commentary on the Transsexual Phenomenon. Vitale, Anna. 2010. Point Reyes Station: Flyfisher Press. — Based on the author’s experience in treating over 500 gender dysphoric individuals. Candid insights from a seasoned professional.
- Transsexualism: A Medical Retrospective. Seton, Sarah. 2008. Aetheom Press. — Though its statistics are a bit dated, the author offers insights and scientific details that are particularly helpful to transgender individuals struggling with guilt. My favorite quote: “Contrary to current belief, transsexuals are not tormented by their condition: it is their condition, which prompts society to torment them.”