A Reference Handbook
by Aaron Devor and Ardel Haefele-Thomas
February 2019, 364pp, 6x9
1 volume, ABC-CLIO

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-5690-7
$60, £45, 50€, A86
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-5691-4
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Trans people have existed since the origin of our species, but more information and research is needed about the transgender identity.

This book provides a crucial resource for readers who are investigating trans issues. It takes a diverse and historic approach, focusing on more than one idea or one experience of trans identity or trans history.

Transgender: A Reference Handbook is a go-to resource about the transgender experience. The book takes contemporary as well as historic aspects into consideration. It looks at ancient indigenous cultures that honored third, fourth, and fifth gender identities as well as more contemporary ideas of what “transgender” means. Notably, it focuses not only on Western medical ideas of gender affirmation but on cultural diversity surrounding the topic.

This book will primarily serve as a reference guide and jumping off point for further research for those seeking information about what it means to be transgender. While a reference book, it contains original work that may be cited in addition to the encyclopedia itself. In particular, the perspectives section of the book includes writings from some of the world’s foremost trans writers, activists, artists, and historians.


  • Provides students with outstanding source material and historic material on trans issues
  • Includes writing from some of the most recognized names in trans writing, history, and activism in the world
  • Approaches its subject from a deeply historical background, acknowledging the intersection of identities throughout time
  • Provides resources for further study, including profiles, data and documents, and a chronology of transgender history
Aaron Devor, world's only Chair in Transgender Studies, has won many awards for his transgender work. He has been publishing about transgender topics for 30+ years, has delivered 30+ keynote addresses worldwide, is a member of the International Academy of Sex Research, a Fellow of the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality, and an author of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health's Standards of Care. He is also the Founder and Academic Director of the world's largest Transgender Archives, Founder of the Moving Trans History Forward conferences, and a Sociology professor at the University of Victoria, Canada.

Ardel Haefele-Thomas received their PhD from Stanford University, where they studied the intersections of race, gender identity, sexual orientation, and socio-economics within 19th-century British literature and history. Their publications include Queer Others in Victorian Gothic: Transgressing Monstrosity and Introduction to Transgender Studies, which is the first introductory textbook to the field of study in the world. They are also special editor for Victorian Review's Trans Victorians special issue. Dr. Haefele-Thomas is chair of LGBTQ+ Studies at City College of San Francisco.


"Many of the earlier volumes in the 'Contemporary World Issues' series are owned by a wide range of public, community college, and university libraries. Given the importance of this subject, this book will be useful in all those types of libraries."—ARBA, April 1, 2019

Contemporary World Issues

This award-winning series offers comprehensive, one-volume reference handbooks on important topics related to health, education, the environment, and social and ethical issues.

24-hour cable news. Millions of internet sites. Information overload. How can we sort through the information? Assess the analyses? Trust the sources?

A world of questions demands a library of answers. Contemporary World Issues covers the controversial topics that students, readers, and citizens want to read about, write about, and know more about.


Subject coverage spans six main categories:

  • Criminal Justice
  • Environment
  • Gender and Ethnicity
  • Politics, Law, and Government
  • Science, Technology, and Medicine
  • Society
Each volume offers a rich array of resources:
  • A background and history essay that provides essential context and grounding for further study
  • A balanced summary of ongoing controversies and proposed solutions that show numerous paths for further research on pressing, contemporary questions
  • A forum of authoritative perspective essays by experts, offering a broad spectrum of arguments on the issues
  • Carefully selected annotated documents, tables, and graphs that support statistical literacy and investigation of primary sources
  • A chronology of events, legislation, and movements that place events in sequence and draw connections between them
  • Annotated lists of print, web, and multimedia resources that power the next steps for in-depth research
  • Profiles of key players and organizations
  • A glossary of key terms
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