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Transgender Health Issues
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INTRODUCTION To be transgender is to have a gender identity that does not correspond to the identity assigned you at birth. This is an unusual state of being in a world in which the vast majority of people never give gender identity a second thought·they are identified at birth as male or female, grow up to be boys or girls, then become men or women, all in concordance with their original gender identification. When youÊve always taken something as basic as gender identity for granted, it can come as a shock to learn that itÊs not that simple for everyone. People generally resist having their basic assumptions about the world challenged, and the very existence of transgender people constitutes a chal- lenge to a whole host of often unstated assumptions about gender, begin- ning with the belief that there are exactly two genders and everyone fitting neatly into one or the other. Not everyone appreciates having so simple and tidy a worldview overturned, and while some respond with curiosity and a desire for more knowledge, others react with defensiveness, fear, and hatred. One goal of this book is to provide everyone, no matter their cur- rent understanding of transgender issues, with information that will help them move toward a better understanding and acceptance of transgender people, as well as an appreciation of how complex issues of gender iden- tity can be. Another goal is to provide information and resources to people of all ages who are actively seeking information about transgender issues, whether to help clarify their own situation, to help a friend, or simply to become a better informed citizen of the world. This is a book about transgender health issues, so it includes infor- mation about specific health concerns of transgender people, such as the