What Is a Gender Specialist?

A Gender Specialist is a professional who advises individuals dealing with questions about their gender identity. He or she has specialized training, experience, and interest in gender identity issues, as well as appropriate credentials for his or her profession. Collaboration with other knowledgeable health care providers is essential, as well as familiarity with the other resources that transgender individuals need. Membership in relevant professional organizations and continuing education in this area are also important.

More importantly, a Gender Specialist is someone who is open-minded and compassionately curious about the many different ways that individuals experience and express their gender identity and sexuality. A Gender Specialist does not label people or tell them who or what they are.

How Did You Become a Gender Specialist?

I have always been aware that there are some people who are born with a different sense of their gender identity than what one would expect. I have always been open and accepting of gay, lesbian and bisexual clients. So when a transgender individual could not find a Gender Specialist in central New Hampshire, the Executive Director of the New Hampshire Psychological Association asked me if I would be willing to see him. He came in with a stack of information he had found on-line, and we embarked on a journey of discovery together. This was such a positive experience for both of us that he referred others to me, and I sought out the resources I needed to become more informed.

That was in July of 1998. Since then I have assisted many transgender individuals, and their families, friends, and employers. My clients' ages have ranged from 7 to 72, and have included MtF (male-to-female), FtM (female-to-male), intersex, and androgynous individuals. In 2011 I wrote and published The Transgender Guidebook: Keys to a Successful Transition, to assist clients and others understand the transition process. I have also recently published the first Transgender Workbook: Your Journey to Womanhood, and am working on the second volume.

I am a member of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (formerly the Harry Benjamin International Gender Dysphoria Association). I am available to work with trans-identified people on the myriad issues that accompany the decision process, and to assist them to transition to whatever point they find comfortable.

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