Image is a stack of multicolored books in front of a peach background next to the words Book Review, because on this page, we like to review books about transgender topics.

Review: Trans by Dr. Az Hakeem

book review Dec 20, 2023

Trans by Dr. Az Hakeem is a comprehensive guide to understanding gender identity and gender dysphoria. Dr. Az Hakeem edited the book along with a team of colleagues and contributors, whose personal experience and professional knowledge give readers a fully comprehensible handbook.


Image courtesy of Tiger Press 


"Frameworks (such as gender) are after all only a hypothetical way of organising our world. If one does not fit into the framework, then it is a reflection of the limitations of the framework, rather than a defect of the person" (p.22).


The book, whose ideal audience is professionals and transgender, non-binary, and gender-diverse people, covers topics such as gender dysphoria terminology, understanding gender dysphoria, changing sex, measuring gender dysphoria and treatment outcomes, and transgender politics. Please note that there are graphic images in chapters 14 and 15 which cover surgical procedures and care of the neo-vagina.


Chapter 10, Children With Gender Dysphoria, covers what parents may experience when they find out their child is transgender, as well as the support they may need along the way. This is the only chapter in the book that addresses what it may be like for parents to learn their child is transgender and what kind of response they may have or support they may need.


"When parents seek professional guidance, they may require education, validation, support, medical intervention, contact with other parents, referrals, guidance on parenting, or some kind of intervention to help their child manage a social or medical transition" (p. 81-82).


One thing Dr. Hakeem discusses is how many of the patients he worked with in his gender clinic didn't realize that they were transgender from the start. Many of them presented with similar timelines, with the "onset of a change in gender identity occuring at a later stage, anywhere from early childhood to late adulthood" (p.53).


What was interesting to note about the timeline was that the people first had a time in their lives when their gender identity matched their biological sex. Then, something happened when they felt that something was not quite right, often following a change in mood or a period of depression, or a "reduction in everyday functioning" (p.56). Then, there is a re-booting of sorts, but a feeling that things within themselves aren't quite the same and a search to figure out what that is, which leads to the discovery of gender dysphoria (p. 56-57).


This book isn't necessarily for parents looking to understand what it's like to be a transgender person so that they can better support their children, but more for people looking to understand themselves better. It's important to know if you are the target audience for this book before you read it so you go into it knowing what to expect.


At 193 pages, Trans is a reasonably quick read, but it is very clinical and reads more like a textbook than a non-fiction book. It contains a Gender Preoccupation and Stability Questionaire at the end, suitable for clinicians, therapists, and other professionals working with transgender and gender-diverse people.



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