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New Book Offers Fresh Perspective on Transgender Life

(BOSTON) "Transgender people have been around since the beginning of time, and there are more of us than you think," writes Joanne Herman in her new book, Transgender Explained For Those Who Are Not.

"Transgender people are very varied and diverse -- some transition genders as I did, some have an opposite gender presentation only part of the time, and some have a unique gender presentation all of the time. Contrary to common belief, few transgender people have surgery."

Herman makes a good point: Although it is commonly assumed that those who identify as transgender undergo surgery, most do not. Merriam-Webster's dictionary defines transgender as, "of, relating to, or being a person ... who identifies with or expresses a gender identity that differs from the one which corresponds to the person's sex at birth." The definition does not mention surgical reassignment and it does not speak to a person's sexual orientation -- some transgender people are gay while others are straight.

Ideal for parents, relatives, colleagues, friends, allies and anyone seeking information about what it means to be transgender, "Transgender Explained For Those Who Are Not" offers a much-needed resource, which is organized by topic into short, easy-to-read chapters. Herman tackles myriad subjects, evident in chapter titles including "Sub-Groups Under the Transgender Umbrella," "Prevalence: There Are More of Us Than You Think" and "Political Correctness: 'Please Don't Call Me Tranny.'"

Combining her personal story with thorough research, statistics and analysis, Herman gives a voice to the thousands of people living in similar situations. Today, as 2009 draws to a close, acceptance and tolerance have become increasingly important, and knowledge is the first step to achieving this. Gain a new perspective on what it's like to be transgender in the informative pages of "Transgender Explained For Those Who Are Not."

Joanne Herman has a bachelor's degree in government and economics from Dartmouth College and an MBA from Northeastern University. She is the first transgender person elected to the board of directors of Point Foundation, a national Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender scholarship fund; Fenway Health, the largest LGBT-focused health center in the world; and GLAD, the New England-based LGBT legal rights organization. Herman is also the first openly transgender member of the congregation of Old South Church in Boston. She currently resides in Boston.