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Resources for Those Seeking Information and Support Regarding Gender

A list of organizations and resources that I have found particularly useful. Includes: Home, School & Family | Support for Significant Others | Legal Resources | Support for those Transitioning | Online Communities | Supportive Religious Resources | Gender Newsfeeds

Gender and Public Policy / Legal Services

  • Human Rights Campaign (HRC). Largest civil rights organization pursuing equality for LGBT Americans. Produces several useful indices comparing government, business and health care organizations’ LGBT policies and practices. HRC produces several indices that track LGBT laws, policies and practices for different institutions: Corporate Equality Index; Healthcare Equality Index, State Equality Index, Municipal Equality Index. Their Buyers Guide is useful for consumers who want to purchase from LGBT-friendly organizations.
  • Lamba Legal. Committed to the civil rights of LGBT people and those with HIV through impact litigation, education, and public policy work.
  • National Center for Transgender Equality. Pursues equality for transgender people through advocacy, collaboration, and empowerment.  NCTE helped to publish Injustice at Every Turn. Revealing report based on the 2011 National Transgender Discrimination Survey of 6,450 transgender people. Survey is being updated in 2015.
  • Sylvia Rivera Law Project. Works to guarantee that all people are free to self-determine gender identity and expression. Especially active in legal support and prison reform.
  • Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund. Committed to achieving equality for transgender people through public education, test-case litigation, direct legal services, community organizing, and public policy efforts.

Gender at Home and In School

  • Campus Pride. Dedicated to safer, more LGBTQ-friendly colleges and universities. Produces Campus Pride Index, a guide to universities’ LGBT policies, services, and practices.
  • Gender Spectrum. Provides consultation, training, and events to help families, educators, professionals, and organizations understand and address gender identity and expression.
  • GLSEN. Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network. Teachers dedicated to improved LGBT climate in K-12 education.
  • PFLAG. Parents, Families, Friends, and Allies United with LGBT People to Move Equality Forward. Grassroots network committed to LGBTQ equality through support, education, and advocacy.
  • TransActive. Provides services and expertise to empower transgender and gender diverse youth and their families to live healthy lives, free of discrimination.
  • TransYouth Family Allies. Empowers children and families by partnering with educators, service providers, and communities, to develop supportive environments in which gender may be expressed and respected.

Gender at Work

  • Out and Equal. World’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to creating safe and equitable workplaces for LGBT people.
  • Transgender Veteran Americans Association. Advocate for open trans military service, secure benefits for trans families, trans well-being, and trans veteran employment.
  • Sheridan, Vanessa. 2009. The Complete Guide to Transgender in the Workplace. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO.

Understanding Gender

Most of the major sites offer downloadable overviews for free. Here are two that I found helpful.

The three books below discuss gender in simple, engaging language. Each will appeal to a slightly different reader.

  • Bennet, DeAnna. 2014. Born This Way: Questions & Answers about Being Transgender. — 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 …?”).
  • Herman, Joanne. 2009. Transgender Explained for Those Who Are Not. — 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.
  • Teich, Nicholas M. 2012. Transgender 101: A Simple Guide to a Complex Issue. New York: Columbia University Press. — Well-rounded overview by a 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.

  • Vitale, Anna. 2010. The Gendered Self: Further Commentary on the Transsexual Phenomenon. Point Reyes Station: Flyfisher Press. — Based on the author’s experience in treating over 500 gender dysphoric individuals. Candid insights from a seasoned professional.
  • Seton, Sarah. 2008. Transsexualism: A Medical Retrospective. 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.”

Support for Significant Others

Many of the general support sites have special sections and materials for significant others. Below is a list of private discussion groups and resources developed specifically for significant others.

Support for Those Transitioning

  • Lynn Conway’s Site. Informational and support site for transgender and transsexual people created by a trans woman. Reflects years of fieldwork and empirical research.
  • Transsexual & Transgender Road Map. Includes over 1,600 pages of original content to support every aspect of transition. A great guide to many more communities and resources.
  • World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH). Professional organization devoted to the understanding and treatment of gender identity disorders. Produces Standards of Care, now in its seventh edition. Includes a new search tool for locating healthcare professionals.
  • Boedecker, Anne L. 2011. The Transgender Guidebook: Keys to a Successful Transition. — Step-by-step, self-help guide by a licensed psychotherapist who works with the transgender community.
  • Brill, Stephanie and Rachel Pepper. 2008. The Transgender Child: A Handbook for Families and Professionals. — Comprehensive guidebook summarizes latest psychological research and offers detailed, practical advice (e.g., what to expect, how to deal with grief, how to talk to doctors and lawyers).
  • Erickson-Schroth, Laura, Ed. 2014. Trans Bodies, Trans Selves: A Resource for the Transgender Community. — Modeled after Our Bodies, Ourselves. Its strength is that it is encyclopedic and kaleidoscopic in its coverage. You learn about everything trans from every part of the transgender community. With so many contributors, it can be a bit overwhelming.
  • Levi, Jennifer L. and Elizabeth E. Monnin-Browder, eds. 2012. Transgender Family Law: A Guide to Effective Advocacy. Bloomington: AuthorHouse. — A product of Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defender’s (GLAD) Transgender Rights Project. Covers full gamut of issues, e.g., changing legal documents, parental rights, divorce, partner violence, and estate planning. Targeted at attorneys but readable by lay readers.
  • Rose, Lannie. 2004. How to Change Your Sex: A Lighthearted Look at the Hardest Thing You’ll Ever Do. — Perhaps not as detailed or up-to-date as some other guides, but this book did more than any other to center me on my own personal journey.

Online Communities

These community sites are great places to gain perspectives and advice from other transgender people. They are listed by level of traffic. There are also many communities on the major social media sites, such as Facebook, Google+, and Yahoo Groups.

  • Susan’s Place. Very comprehensive community site: news headlines, chat room, online forums, resource links, articles. My only complaint: its erotic logo perpetuates a stereotype and belies its serious content. It may alienate some potential users. From what I can tell, it is by far the largest forum: over 1.5 million posts on over 145,000 topics by almost 20,000 members.
  • Laura’s Playground. Like Susan’s Place, its visuals do a poor job of conveying its serious content. Something for everyone, including significant others. Over 19,000 members and 600,000 posts.
  • The Transgender Boards. Classic discussion board with 8,000 members, over 250,000 posts and 15,000 topics.
  • The Gender Society. Forum includes 70,000 posts on 9,000 topics.
  • TG Forum. Its strength seems to lie in its blogs. Appears to have a much smaller number of posts and topics than the others.

Religion & Gender

  • Institute for Welcoming Resources. Provides resources and training to churches and other religious institutions interested in supporting transgender worshipers.
  • Religious Tolerance. Comprehensive set of resources for those wanting to explore religious perspectives on gender. Liberal in viewpoint, but captures perspectives of many religious conservatives in their own words.
  • Trans Christians. Offers encyclopedic coverage of conservative objections to transsexualism—and then offers blow-by-blow rebuttals.

Gender Newsfeeds

 

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Tina White

Tina White

Tina White is the Executive Director of the Blue Ridge Pride Center, in Asheville, North Carolina, and a member of the board of directors for the Human Rights Campaign.

Tina spent 35 years consulting to and working for global corporations. Her specialty was large-scale business transformation: redesigning companies to pursue new strategies and improve performance. She has since shifted her focus to activism, writing and speaking. She speaks and writes on issues of diversity & inclusion, organization transformation, social justice, and personal identity.

Tina is the author of Between Shadow and Sun. She describes her 50-year struggle with gender and her wife's efforts to embrace her revealed identity. She holds an MBA in Strategy, Marketing & Finance from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and an AB in Economics from Princeton University. She and Mary live in Asheville, North Carolina.

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