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Candid Answers to Private Questions

Gerald Ramsey, Ph.D.

1996, The Crossing Press

144 Pages

From the Cover

This ground-breaking book is the first to address transsexual issues in nonmedical language.

Many hard-to-ask questions are candidly answered in Transsexuals by clinical psychologist Dr. Gerald Ramsey.  Among the issues discussed are:

What is a transsexual?

How does transsexuality most commonly affect families?

What actually happens during transsexual surgery - male to female and female to male?

What is required for a diagnosis of transsexuality?

What, when, and how should transsexuals tell their families?

What kinds of biases do physicians and therapists bring to their work with transsexuals?

How often to transsexuals regret their decision to undergo surgery?


"Dr. Ramsey has written a very comprehensive work, dealing with all aspects of the difficult path that transsexuals travel.  It's a must read for students and clinicians who work with transsexuals, and for anyone who reaches out to them: - Sheila Kirk, M.D., International Foundation for Gender Education

"Transsexuals provides a very important source of rehabilitative information for transsexuals and for those with whom they live, work, and socialize.: - John Money, Ph.D., Professor of Medical Psychology and Pediatrics Emeritus, Johns Hopkins University and Hospital

Table of Contents


  • What is gender dysphoria?  What is a transsexual?
  • What is the difference between a transsexual and a transvestite?
  • What is necessary for a diagnosis of transsexuality?
  • Even  if a person identifies as a "transsexual," isn't he or she really a homosexual?
  • What does the term "intersex" mean?
  • Would a legitimate surgery team be likely to operate on any and all persons who meet the diagnostic criteria for transsexuality?
  • Are there more male than female transsexuals?
  • It makes me angry that gender problems are called "disorders."  How do you feel about such diagnoses?
  • Is transsexuality strictly a Western phenomenon?


  • I think you are an evil S.O.B.  If it wasn't for "doctors" like you, my baby wouldn't be getting butchered up.  How can you live with yourself?
  • It's easy for you doctors to pontificate, but how would you feel if your own child were a transsexual?
  • My son is a decorated Marine, the father of three healthy children and a Christian.   How can be possibly be a "she"?
  • What did I do to make my child a transsexual?
  • I have prayed and prayed for my daughter, and she still wants to become a man.   What else can I do?
  • How does transsexuality most commonly affect families?
  • When and how should I tell my family I am a transsexual?

Table of Contents (cont'd)

  • My daddy is a girl now, clothes and all.  Does that mean I'm going to become a girl, too?
  • My daughter is a transsexual,.  Why is she so obsessed with sex?
  • I am in love with a transsexual.  After surgery, what are the odds we'll stay together?
  • I am a preoperative transsexual.  At what point should I tell my new sweetheart about my situation?
  • My fifteen-year-old son has been in analysis since he was four.  Why, after ten-plus years of therapy, does he still want to be a girl?
  • My daughter was molested when she was three years old.  Is that why she wants to be a boy?
  • I am a female-to-male transsexual who has recently completed surgery.  How do I approach my employer about using the men's bathroom?
  • How do you know whether to call a transsexual "he" or "she"?


  • How confident are you that transsexuality is a reality?  Do you have any ethical or moral qualms about what you do?
  • How do child, adolescent and adult transsexuals present themselves to the therapist?
  • At what age may a person be regarded as a candidate for surgery?
  • How does the young child experience transsexuality?
  • What are the adolescent years like for the transsexual?
  • What is meant by the terms "superman" and "superwoman"?
  • What about depression and suicide among transsexuals?
  • In your experience, what kinds of biases do physicians and therapists bring to their work with transsexuals?
  • Will the doctors think I am not a transsexual if I refuse to take hormones?
  • I am a candidate for sex-reassignment surgery, and I do masturbate.  Does this mean I am not a transsexual?
  • Although I have very little interest in sex, I feel I am a very sexual person.   Does that make sense?
  • Why should I continue to see my therapist after I've completed surgery?
  • What about God?  Will I go to hell for being a transsexual - especially if I elect to undergo reassignment surgery?


  • Cross-Dressing: How does one begin?
  • Along with cross-dressing, what else can I do to disguise my birth sex?
  • I have begun to experiment with cross-dressing, but find that I am not yet comfortable with my new - and evolving - sexual and social identity.  How can I bring myself up to speed on dating?
  • Can a transsexual have a baby of his or her own?
  • What about adoption?
  • How do I get my birth certificate and other legal documents changed to reflect my new gender?
  • Why should I have to go through a committee to have plastic surgery on my genitals?   I didn't need anyone's permission to get my nose job!
  • In general, what steps are followed by gender committees?
  • Do the criteria for who is a candidate for surgery change from committee to committee?
  • I understand the gender team will want a detailed sexual history.  What does this involve?
  • Why are pre-surgical visits with the gender team so important?
  • How commonly do transsexuals wind up regretting their decision to undergo surgery?
  • Do you encourage transsexuals to reevaluate their sexual orientations?
  • Why are therapy and surgery so expensive?
  • Why don't insurance companies cover transsexual surgery?


  • Will you describe and discuss transsexual surgery?
  • How do surgeons build a penis?  What are some of the risks and complications?
  • How do surgeons build a vagina?
  • What was that about orgasm?
  • What other feminizing or masculinizing surgical procedures are common?
  • What are the positive and negative effects of hormone treatment?
  • I am a transsexual, but I do not wish to undergo hormone treatment or surgical reassignment.  Am I being reasonable?
  • What is the future of transsexual treatment?
  • What is the Harry Benjamin Society?

EPILOGUE: Two decades later


  • Gender Identity Disorders
  • Standards of Care
  • Articles on Hormone Studies
  • Articles on Female-to-Male Surgery
  • Articles on Male-to-Female Surgery

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