Trans communities are in the headlines. Everybody has an opinion on ‘what transsexuality is’. But how do trans people them-selves describe being trans? This community based study examined this question.
Findings include that the diversity and complexity of people’s experience by far exceeds what is commonly acknowledged. Physical embodiment and social acceptance are important to trans people, but the most unifying themes are self-finding, self-realization and spiritu-ality.
Experiences described cover a wide range. They can in fact be mutually exclusive. This suggests that any simplistic ‘one fits all’ explanation will be oppressive to at least some trans people.
In a sad twist, the research finds that trans people who chal-lenge the clinical model of transsexuality the most, are also the ones who most likely will not participate in clinical studies – thus guaran-teeing that much of the diversity within communities remains hidden – except by community based research like the one at hand.