The world of persons who identify as transgendered is complex making its representation in an article challenging. This article represents work done to raise awareness among all health profes- sionals about the lives and experiences of transgendered persons, who receive little coverage in our textbooks, professional jour- nals, or student experiences. Transgendered lives cannot be simply summed up as a community of people who feel like they are “in the wrong body.” Their experiences, issues, and identities are com- plex, but worthy of the time, energy, patience, and caring it takes to learn about them. We took a postmodern feminist stance to explore transgendered adults’ first-hand accounts of identity de- velopment. The research question guiding the analysis presented here was: How do transgendered individuals describe their experi- ences of recognizing, acknowledging, and developing their identity as transgendered? Participants’ stories about how they came to recognize and experience their identity as transgendered, analyzed from a lifespan perspective, displayed a similar pattern of life ex- perience, reflected in three prominent themes: an early sense of body-mind dissonance, negotiating and managing identities, and the process of transition. The process that participants describe, beginning with childhood and ending with transition and the reso- lution of bodily discomfort, appears to be staged and developmen- tal in nature. Further exploration into this process and comparison with other developmental theories may yield a model of normal, non-pathological development as transgendered.
By Sarah W. Morgan and Patricia E. Stevens, 2012