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True Selves:
Understanding Transsexualism - For Families, Friends, Coworkers, and Helping Professionals

Mildred Brown and Chloe Rounsley

1996, Jossey-Bass

234 Pages

From the Cover

Mildred Brown - one of the country's most experienced clinicians in the field of transsexualism - and journalist Chloe Rounsley have written the first book that combines authoritative information and compassionate insight into the transsexual experience.   Filled with wisdom and understanding, this groundbreaking guide paints a vivid portrait of the myriad conflicts transsexuals face on a daily basis and the courage they must summon as they struggle to reveal their true essence to themselves and to others.   Using real-life stories, letters, poems, and other compelling examples, the authors give a clear understanding of what it means to be transsexual.

The book breaks down common misconceptions about transsexualism and offers important recommendations for the friends, families, coworkers, and professionals who treat these frequently misunderstood individuals.  Guidance is given for dealing with both the phenomena and with the transsexual person.

The authors illustrate how the support of caring individuals can be crucial in helping to ease the burden of confusion, fear, and frustration that plagues the lives of transsexual people.

Table of Contents

Introduction:  A Question of Gender

1.  The Transsexual Dilemma
What Is a Transsexual? / Prevalence of Transsexualism / Ratio of MTFs to FTMs / Gender Dysphoria: The Invisible Handicap / Confusion About Terminology / The Motivation for Cross-Dressing / It's Not About Sexual Orientation / It's Not About Sex / It's About Gender Identity / Theories About Causation / Historical Perspective / Recent Well-Known Transsexuals / The "Grandfather" of Transsexualism

2.  The Childhood Years
"Who Am I, and Why Am I Different?" / Cross-Dressing / Games Children Play / Tomboys and Sissies / Taunting, Teasing, and Bullying / Young Actors, Chameleons, and Impostors

3.  The Teen Years
Nature's Cruel Trick / "Nobody Understand - I'm All Alone" / Problems with Self-Esteem / Cross-Dressing During Adolescence / Parental Conflict over Cross-Dressing / Longing to Belong / Dating / "I Must be Gay" / "I Must Be Crazy" / Escape Through Alcohol and Drugs / Self-Mutilations and Suicide

4.  The Adult Years
Functioning in Daily Life / Adult Cross-Dressing / Relating to Others / Dating, Sex, and Intimacy / "But He's (She's) Married with Children" / Gender Dysphoria Takes Its Toll

5.  Therapy
The Turning Point / Finding a Gender Therapist / Types of Patients / Standards of Care / Real-Life Test / Gatekeeper Issues / Determining a Diagnosis / The Therapist's Role / Issues in Therapy / Group Therapy / Coming Out to Self / Preparing to Come Out to Others / Coming Out to Others

6.  Beginning the Transition
Restructuring Identity / Making Legal Changes / Changing Outer Presentation / passing / Sex and Intimacy / Discrimination and Violence

7.  Transition and the Workplace
Whether to Stay or Leave / Ways of Coming Out at Work / Logistics of Transitioning / Bathroom Issues / The Transsexual's Reactions to Transition / Letters / Coworkers' Responses

8.  Bring the News Home
Parents / Spouses / Children

9.  Medical and Surgical Options
Hormones / A Spectrum of Changes / Surgical Options / Male-to-Female Surgeries / Female-to-Male Surgeries / Cost of Sex Reassignment Surgery / Surgery Is a Personal Choice / Life After Sex Reassignment Surgery

10.  Guidelines for Support
Common Reactions to the News / Help for Family, Friends, and Coworkers / How You Can Help the Transsexual

11.  In Their Own Words
This Moment / Remarkable Journey / Is There a Place for Me? / The Girl Beyond the Glass / Loneliness and Isolation / Images / Hidden Within / Partings / A Future Time / Freedom! / Hello Out There

Readers' Comments


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Nancy Nangeroni  nancy@gendertalk.com

Without a doubt, the very best book yet written on the subject of transsexualism. Up to date in its information, it allows for the diversity of individual experience while providing profound insight into some of the more common feelings and experiences encountered by transsexuals. I read this book after years of cross-living , educational work and activism, and still learned a few things. This is a "must read" for all persons who are or think they may be transsexual, their friends, families, and health care providers.

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Jennifer  Jenniferny25@hotmail.com

One of the best books Ive read. Was an invaluable resource while I was trying to understand myself.

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ivy  mildred9@gte.net

i don't know how to tell my moter whate i am how would you tell her that i am a female

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Marie   crazyduck665@yahoo.com

I'm still confused about my husband dressing like a women but because I'm bi I can accept it.

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"True Seleves" plays a very important role in my life. It helped me to understand and to accept myself when I was finally ready to do it. It did also help my parents to understand my condition and that they are not guilty of anything. If someone has to read a single book about transsexuality, it should be this one. The authors mention that rejection is often the result of ignorance and they did a superb job at supressing it.

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Michael Greenspan  M_Greenspan@usa.com

Great book! A must-read for anyone with a transgendered aquaintance or loved one.

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Tonya   skeletonya@yahoo.com

This was the best book ive ever read. It helped me in ways i cant begin to explain in this little comment section. Im planning on getting a copy of this book to each of my parents. (As they are divorced) I still havent told them, but im only beginning my transition. I still think it will help them. Our lives can be full of total dispair, but they can also be full of the most amazing emotional events possible to humanity. Tonya.

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Selena  selena_texas@hotmail.com

And what of us who have never faced suicidal tendencies, chosen to pursue a male role to "survive", or created spousal or parent-child relationships? We are added to this mix and seen as troubled. If anyone is a true self it is those of us who stayed true to our identity regardless of what we were born with, how society identified us and other so called "pressures" we are faced with.

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Jerry  jerry@arcticfoxdesign.com

Best book I've ever read! I was crying before the end of the first chapter. It was like Ms. Brown has seen right through me. If you only buy 1 book - this is it! Get more than 1 copy, Make sure you get one for all your loved ones to help them understand you. This book is written for both Female to Male and Male to Female - not an easy task! Thank you, Millie!!! XOXOXO

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Monique Scorse  monique_scorse@hotmail.com

A concise, succinct, balanced and informed guidebook to the transsexual condition, more so than any other publication I have read. I am a M2F transexual. I choose this publication to provide a reference to my family and friends during the period in which I disclosed my condition. It has even more significance to me given its effectiveness in achieving an understanding of the condition for those important in my life.

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zRebecca Krell  krell@serve.com

A former "friend" of mine dismissed me as a gay "lost soul" and in the gentle way of the pious ignorant then told me that I was a worthless, totally lost soul who was deluding themselves and really homosexual...his comments ending with: "..face it, there are only two sides to a coin.." Well, people aren't coins, he wasn't a friend and I'm a transsexual...I've felt somehow female and different since I was a little boy and spent a lifetime trying to hide ME from myself. Books like this make important statements about who transsexuals are and the joys and pains that we feel....and that the anguish is mainly part caused by the society we're born into and it's refusal to attempt to understand Gender Identity. An important book and I even got a copy for my doctor, who understands what I've gone through and has my deepest affection for her ability to care about my real self.

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Sharon Lynn Van Nest  sharolynnvn@yahoo.com

I found Ms.Browns text to be superb! She somehow managed to take a peek in my own life and put it into print. I found the similarities to be haunting as I read each chapter. I cannot say how many times I was deeply moved by this book! Truly a most excellent book!