Transgender is a broad term that can be used to describe people whose gender identity is different from the gender they were thought to be when they were born. “Trans” is often used as shorthand for transgender.

To treat a transgender person with respect, you treat them according to their gender identity, not their sex at birth. So, someone who lives as a woman today is called a transgender woman and should be referred to as “she” and “her.” A transgender man lives as a man today and should be referred to as “he” and “him.”

Some transgender people identify as neither a man nor a woman, or as a combination of male and female, and may use terms like non-binary or genderqueer to describe their gender identity. Those who are non-binary often prefer to be referred to as “they” and “them.”

It is important to use respectful terminology, and treat transgender people as you would treat any other person. This includes using the name the person has asked you to call them (not their old name) as well as the pronouns they want you to use. If you aren’t sure what pronouns a person uses, just ask politely.(source: National Center for Transgender Equality)

General Resources:

Robyn and other members of Harvard University's Trans Task Force celebrating the addition of gender identity to the University's nondiscrimination policy at the Harvard Gay & Lesbian Caucus Dinner, June 2006.
Robyn and other members of Harvard University’s Trans Task Force
celebrating the addition of gender identity to the University’s nondiscrimination policy at the Harvard Gay & Lesbian Caucus Dinner, June 2006.

National Center for Transgender Equality: social justice organization for advancing the equality of transgender people through advocacy, collaboration, empowerment. They have an excellent publication entitled “Opening the door to the inclusion of transgender people: the nine keys to making lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender organizations fully transgender-inclusive,” by Lisa Mottet and Justin Tannis.

Trans Youth Family Allies: Empowers children and families by partnering with educators, service providers and communities, to develop supportive environments in which gender may be expressed and respected.

Gender Spectrum Family. Education and support, to create a gender sensitive and inclusive environment for all children and teens.

Gender Confirmation Center: A California-based top surgery specialist and resource page.

New York Association for Gender Rights Advocacy (NYAGRA): Advocates for freedom of gender identity and expression for all.

Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund: Committed to ending discrimination based upon gender identity and expression and to achieving equality for transgender people through public education, test-case litigation, direct legal services, community organizing and public policy efforts.

FTM International


International Foundation for Gender Education

Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC): Lobbying, education, activism. And they have comprehensive on-line listing of Massachusetts transgender resources.

PFLAG Transgender Network (TNET)

Transgender Law Center: a California-focused civil rights organization advocating for transgender communities.

TransLifeline – Trans Lifeline is a grassroots hotline and microgrants 501(c)(3) non-profit organization offering direct emotional and financial support to trans people in crisis – for the trans community, by the trans community.

California Trans Can Work : The CTWP Mission is to promote California as a “truly transgender positive workplace” and create a model for the remainder of the country.

Videos | Books | Media 

List of films focusing on trans and gender diverse people from

Two Spirits | A Map of Gender-Diverse Cultures | Independent Lens | PBS. Interactive map with descriptions of how gender is understood/constructed in various locations throughout the world.

This American Life On Transgender Children: NPR show from February 13, 2009 profiling two eight-year-old transgender children. Note: The segment starts about 29 minutes into the show.

Boy I Am: About FTM trans experience.

Cruel & Unusual: About trans women in prison.

Screaming Queens: The Riot at Compton’s Cafeteria: About 1966 pre-Stonewall riot in San Francisco.

Toilet Training: Addresses the persistent discrimination, harassment, and violence that people who transgress gender norms face in gender segregated bathrooms.

The Transgender Child: A Handbook for Families and Professionals, by Stephanie Brill and Rachel Pepper. (book – good resource for parents and educators)

Articles and Resources Available Online

Understanding Gender From Gender Spectrum

Supporting the Transgender People in Your Life: A Guide to Being a Good Ally (PDF). From National Center for Transgender Equality

Transgender Travelers: Information from the TSA for transgender travelers going through airport security.

What transgender people need to know about TSA’s procedures“(PDF). From the National Center for Transgender Equality


In Boston: BAGLY has weekly meetings for transgender youth (under 23) on Friday nights at 5pm. They can be contacted at 1-800-42-BAGLY or check out their website.