April 21, 2010

Speaking Their Voice - Trans Bodies, Trans Selves

A parent of a transgendered child and active member of the Trans Youth and Family Allies (TYFA) recently brought to our attention this amazing new and very timely resource that is currently in production - Trans Bodies, Trans Selves.  Trans Bodies, Trans Selves edited by Dr. Laura Erickson-Schroth is a resource guide for transgender and other gender-variant people, covering health, legal issues, cultural and social questions, history, theory, and more. It is a place for transgender people, their partners and families, students, professors, guidance counselors, and others to look for up-to-date information on transgender life.

Laura Erickson-Schroth, MD, MA is a recent graduate of Dartmouth Medical School. Growing up in Brooklyn, NY, a child of feminist and environmental lawyers, she was guided by their love of activism and service. Laura attended Hunter College High School in Manhattan and then Middlebury College in Vermont, where she became involved in feminist and LGBT student groups. During medical school, she returned home to New York City for a year to earn a master’s in Women and Gender Studies at The Graduate Center at the City University of New York. During her last year in medical school, Laura chose electives in transgender medicine, transgender surgery and gender variant pediatrics. These clinical rotations complemented the relationships she had with friends who are transgender. They made her acutely aware of the lack of comprehensive resources that exist for gender-variant people as they make important decisions in their lives and compelled her to begin working on a book that would attempt to provide these resources. Laura has finished a one year fellowship as the Director of Student Programming for the American Medical Student Association, and is starting a residency in Psychiatry.

I believe that the conversation about transgender and gender-varient individuals has become more productive over the past several years, but there is a lot of work still to be done.  As a feminist and social worker I am thrilled to see a comprehensive resource like this available for not only the trans-community but for the benefit of educating the general public.  I think the more information there is about gender and identity, the more opportunity to break down harmful social constructions of gender and work towards eliminating sexism, racism, and classism in our world.    

For more information about this above pictorial represenation of gender variance, please visit this website from scottishtrans.org.  As always contact us with your thoughts, comments and questions!


  1. Great, but where are the children under that umbrella?

  2. Hi Meg,

    Great point! I know a big part of TYFA's work and advocacy is having our trans childrens voices heard and understood. As if understanding the transgender experience of adults, it is certainly even harder for our children! It saddens me deeply when our children's experience of self in general and especially around gender and sexuality are dismissed simply becuase they are kids who "don't know any better."

    No this "umbrella" is not perfect. I would add to this transgendered and transexual girls and boys as well.

    Thanks for your comment. Keep 'em coming!

  3. Yup. In "It's Perfectly Normal" a book for kids about their bodies, the first chapter is "girl or boy, female or male...sex and gender." Right there they lost at least 2, maybe 3 percent of their audience. I think 1-2 percent of people are intersex, with trans and gender varient, don't know high that percentage goes.

    Anyway, I'm going to write the umbrella book!

    Btw, where do those umbrella logos come from?


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