“Transition and Beyond” by Reid Vanderburgh

Transition and Beyond

Subtitle: Observations on Gender Identity

Recommended to me by: Reid Vanderburgh, MA, LMFT

Speaking as both a trans man and a psychotherapist, Vanderburgh provides a compassionate, detailed tour through all the aspects of gender transition, from contemplation to completion. Client vignettes provide real-world examples.

The book candidly addresses every question I had about gender transition as well as many I had never considered. It does leave lingering differences to grow up socialized as one gender and transition to another. Conscious resocialization is needed. People transitioning male to female learn about losing male privilege and taking up less conversational and physical space to fit in with other women.

People with DID (multiple personalities) can be transgender, and at the same time a history of abuse is a complicating factor. In abusive families, children may desire to be a different gender to feel less vulnerable or identify with a less abusive parent.

Throughout, the book emphasizes the physically dissonant aspects of having the wrong hormones for one’s gender identity.

If a person is capable of developing truly intimate, honest, fulfilling adult relationships in the gender assigned to them at birth—they’re probably not trans. Part of what it means to be trans is an inability to truly mature into adulthood in one’s birth gender assignment.

Vanderburgh advocates a slow, self-observant approach to hormone therapy to help adult clients confirm that they are on the right path. Some transgender children are certain of their identity from toddlerhood and should be fully supported in social and physical transition when they are ready.

Recommended for anyone who is interested in learning in more depth about what it means to be transgender and how to help make transition easier.

Vanderburgh recently announced the closure of his therapeutic practice to pursue teaching and writing opportunities.

Available at Vanderburgh’s website.

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