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Transgender 101: A Simple Guide to a Complex Issue Paperback – March 13, 2012

31 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0231157131 ISBN-10: 0231157134 Edition: 1st

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Editorial Reviews


Transgender 101 is a highly readable and thorough primer on the history, terminology, types, politics, and medical and social realities of the transgender population. Teich uses insights from his personal and clinical experience and from the growing body of literature in transgender studies to educate the professional and lay communities on the many layered meanings and manifestations of transgenderism. This comprehensive introduction informs without being self-absorbed or polemical.

(Betty Morningstar, president of the Massachusetts Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers)

In an eminently readable fashion, Teich covers topics ranging from the underlying sociological concepts of sex, gender, and sexual identification to the experiences of 'coming out' and 'transitioning." He then situates the 'trans' person in an historical context--examining the mental health and medical ramifications of the way society has viewed and (mis)treated the change from imputed to 'authentic' sex. I am glad I read this book.

(Kevin J. Mahoney, professor and director of the Center for Participant-Directed Services at Boston College)

...a fascinating read... effectively raising questions and prompting discussions about assumptions we've always taken for granted...

(Bibrary Book Lust)

...highly recommended reading as a user-friendly introduction.

(Youth Today)


Like any emerging concept, the terms transgender and transgenderism have sometimes led to confusion and are subject to a myriad of interpretations. Nicholas M. Teich has written an insightful book that brings clarity and understanding to this subject. The information he transmits will be helpful to those experienced with the transgender population as well as those new to the concept.

(Bonnie R. Strickland, past president of the American Psychological Association)

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press; 1 edition (March 13, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0231157134
  • ISBN-13: 978-0231157131
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #19,658 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Nicholas M. Teich is a licensed social worker pursuing a Ph.D. in social policy at Brandeis University's Heller School for Social Policy and Management. A member of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health and the National Association of Social Workers, he trains and educates groups about gender issues. Nick is the founder and president of Camp Aranu'tiq, the first ever summer camp for transgender children. It serves transgender and gender-variant youth ages 8 - 15.

For information on training and consulting, please email

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I was dismayed and deeply disappointed to discover that a book named "Transgender 101" should in fact be called "Transsexual 101." This book had the potential to be the new go-to education source on transgender identity, but instead it joins a time-honored tradition of treating transsexual identity as the only truly valid transgender form.

If you read this book, I strongly urge you to do additional reading on the experiences and needs of non-transsexual transgender people, such as genderqueer folks.

As someone who does transgender education work myself, I firmly believe this field has progressed to a point where we can finally have nuanced conversations about the varying ways that people identify, experience, and express their gender. There is no excuse for a text that covers such wonderfully broad ground and important topics to not integrate the incredible diversity of gendered experience into its entirety, rather than relegating "cross-dressers, genderqueer people, drag queens, and other lesser-known types of transgenderism" to its final chapter.

As if it wasn't bad enough to basically treat non-transsexual transgender people as a footnote, Teich adds insult to injury by portraying such folks flippantly (for example, using an insulting Kleenex analogy in chapter 1). The message is clear: the real transgender people are transsexuals.

Results of NGLTF's national transgender discrimination survey show that a third of all transgender people identify as gender variant or gender nonconforming, and almost a quarter identify as genderqueer. Genderqueer people were more likely to have experienced physical or sexual assault, to be uncomfortable seeking police assistance, and to have put off medical care due to fear of discrimination. It's time to start respecting this segment of the transgender population and speak to our experiences and needs. Nick Teich, unfortunately, has set the field back.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Bending the Bookshelf on March 16, 2012
Format: Paperback
Nicholas Teich's Transgender 101: A Simple Guide to a Complex Issue is one of those rare pieces of non-fiction that works equally well in educating (and entertaining) both within and outside the community it explores.

First of all, it's an absolutely excellent resource to share with friends, family, and coworkers whose only exposure to transgender issues or themes has been through the likes of Jerry Springer or RuPaul's Drag Race. Nicholas begins each chapter by asking broad, sweeping questions about identity, expression, and society that immediately involve the reader in the discussion. Once he has them hooked, he slowly narrows the scope of his answers, easing readers into understanding the relevant definitions in such a way that it feels they arrived there of their own accord. He's not preachy or overbearing, and wisely shies away from absolutes - instead, he presents suggestions and conclusions, but leaves interpretation open to the reader.

Along the way, Nicholas offers a series of small, simple, easy-to-understand graphs and tables that help readers to visualise the concepts he's talking about. I was immediately struck by how effectively they compliment the text, flowing naturally from his words, as opposed to jumping out at you like the high-brow, statistical monstrosities of a more scholarly tome. He's also generous with his cartoons, using them to further engage the reader by making light of the prejudices and stereotypes those of in the community face every day. They're the kind of two-or-three panel cartoons that make you chuckle, stop yourself short, rethink what's actually been said, and then come away with a comfortable smile.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Vanessa Denise on August 5, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The title of this book says it all. Whether you are transgendered, a student of human sexuality and gender identity, or have a loved one who is transgendered and wish to understand them fully, this book is an extremely easy and informative read on the subject of transgender people and transsexuality. Transgender 101 includes basic definitions regarding the transgender community, the transitioning process, coming out to family friends and the general public, a history of transgender's and transsexuals in past and present societies as well as the history of transgender standards of care, the controversial issue in the mental disorder vs. medical condition, discrimination and hate crimes against the transgender community, and lesser known varieties of transgender individuals; this book has introductions to all the basic topics surrounding transgender people. Transgender 101 is a great first read for anyone interested in gaining knowledge about possibly the most misunderstood community in modern society. Like I said, this book should be used as an introductory read only, for more detail about transgender's additional reading is definitely required, but Nicholas Teich has done an outstandingly terrific job on introducing transgender's to the world in "Transgender 101: A Simple Guide To A Complex Issue".
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Erika S. on March 13, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I loved this book. It makes the topic extremely accessible without sacrificing anything. I have been looking for a book that answers a lot of questions that you can't get from autobiographical or clinical texts that are out there, such as the coming out process and transition itself. The tone is very conversational and it makes it very easy to read. Teich gently challenges our notions of what it means to be a specific gender in a way that leaves readers rethinking what "makes" a man, woman, or any other gender. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in learning more about transgender people, whether on a personal, professional, or academic level.
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