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A History of Transgender Medicine in the United States

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About this project

Although transgender people have been described throughout the world since early-recorded time, the history of medical intervention for individuals with gender dysphoria dates back just to the start of the 20th century. Medical and mental health providers have spent the last hundred years developing an understanding of transgender people, as well as language that accurately reflects the patient experience and can be used to guide treatment.


The history of transgender health in the U.S. is tied to the history of medical research and technology, the popular press, academic thought, and various human rights movements. It is peppered with accounts of extraordinary individuals whose voices have shaped social change, often at great personal risk.


Despite evidence that gender diversity occurs naturally across time, cultures and socioeconomic/ethnic groups, a constant theme has been the struggle to legitimize medical care, and hence legitimize the lives of transgender people themselves. Patients have and continue to be labeled mentally ill, and the providers who treat them considered suspect.

From Margins to Mainstream: A History of Transgender Medicine in the United States endeavors to tell the history of transgender medicine as it ought to be told, with contributions from authors who lived it, and authors who will shape the future of transgender medicine for generations to come. 

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