We hope that readers of Transgender Americans: A Handbook for Understanding will find it a useful overview of the issues facing transgender Americans in our society. This handbook aims to help readers become familiar with the range of issues faced by transgender Americans, from the complex process of getting an appropriate birth certificate, to family and parenting issues, to discrimination and hate violence. These issues are not theoretical — they affect real people who are an integral part of our American community.
We start by providing a picture: who transgender people are, how many are simply working to make a life and a living in the United States every day, and what the American people already understand and believe about their transgender neighbors and co-workers. Next, we discuss the numerous issues in which transgender people face discrimination and harassment: in finding and keeping jobs, locating housing and using public accommodations, staying safe in their homes and communities, obtaining critical health care, securing legal documents consistent with their gender identity, having their relationships respected and protected, raising their children, safely attending school and being treated fairly and humanely in the criminal justice system.