Forty Years to Life
by Brenda Bradford Ward
Goldtouch Press

"There is nothing so perplexing to a transgendered person as the failure of others to understand that gender identity is a fundamental part of each person’s essential identity..."

This title explores the life of people who experience a gender identity opposite to the sexual organs they are born with. As a male-to-female (MtF) transgender person who transitioned late in life, Ward is deeply familiar with gender identity. This volume discusses her poignant personal memories and serves simultaneously as a memoir, a well-cited academic discourse, and a Christian spiritual journey that will inspire and enlighten those who misunderstand the nature of this condition. In her introduction, Ward cautions that “lengthy secret lives are an unfortunate and dreadfully common part of the existence of each suppressing transgendered person” and that she “[guards] her conflicting gender identity out of confusion, fear, shame, and concern for people about whom she cares.” Ultimately, this book is a clarion call to deepen the universal understanding of gender identity and to dispel the confusion surrounding the issue.

Written with elegance, insight, and compassion, the text covers virtually every aspect of the subject. Ward examines her personal struggles alongside historical and religious viewpoints, as well as medical, legal, and spiritual considerations of gender identity and the role that modern societies play in exacerbating the conflicts that people experience. The text closes with an articulate and detailed program that the author feels would effectively address most aspects of the issue, hoping that universal early intervention in the least traumatic way feasible will bring relief to the greatest number of gender-conflicted people possible. The biological process of gender identity is still not fully understood scientifically, and mass education about the subject is desperately needed to clarify that transgender people do not deserve scorn, fear, or prejudice. The author’s book could prove to be an important step in addressing this issue.

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