While the existing English-language scholarship on transsexuals inevitably returns to questions of identity, I seek to understand how the world is organized for and experienced by transgendered people. This commitment begins with the mundane assumption that TS/TG people exist, that we live – and die – in the world. And it suggests that we merit consideration not because we have decided to live in a gender other than the one to which we were assigned at birth, but simply because we live in the world. To that end, I am not concerned with how transsexual or transgendered people come to identify ourselves as a member of the “opposite” sex, the strategies we adopt to manage a chosen gender, or the aesthetic or physical functions of our genitals. I take it for granted that transsexual and transgendered people exist, and that we shall continue to do so even as the theoretical frameworks that explain our etiology, celebrate our transgression of a sex/gender binary, or condemn us to psychosis go in and out of style.
Thus, rather than asking what or why questions about transsexuality, I am interested in learning more about how transsexual and transgendered people live in the social, institutional, and cultural world. And, since I remain somewhat of an idealist (a necessary precondition for social change, in my opinion), I hope that this knowledge of transgendered people can be practically applied to make things a little bit easier for us, as we try to negotiate a world that denies us employment, refuses us access to health care, and undermines our self-respect and dignity.