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Looking Back, Looking Forward

Writing for this issue, and doing some publicity work for Trans-Health, I’ve been looking both forward and backward at the genesis and success of this magazine. We started almost a year ago—our next issue will mark our one year anniversary—and I have to say that I am elated by our success. Hundreds of visitors come to this site every day from dozens of countries to read what they can’t find anywhere else: frankly honest and painstakingly accurate information on the health and fitness of transgendered people. I’m happy to report that we’re high on the results lists of several search engines, and that we’re listed by more than a dozen transgender and university websites. Thank you for putting links to us on your websites, mentioning us on your listservs, telling your friends about us, and coming back here to read each new issue. All of these actions bring more readers, increase our search engine ratings, and help more people find us for articles on transgendered people’s health issues.

Starting with our Winter 2001/2002 issue, we’ve added a search engine to the site so you can more easily find the articles that speak to your current information needs. There are also links to archived issues in the sidebar of every page, so you can browse through them and see what you may have missed.

In writing the paper for this issue on bias in gender research, I’ve also been looking back, to the origins of modern gender research in the beginning of the 20th century, and forward, at the changes I hope are to come. This is the time for transgendered researchers and writers to be heard: some of the most established gender researchers of the 20th century are asking for our voices. I hope that in the near future, articles like those published here on the health and fitness of transgendered people will appear more often in scholarly journals. I hope that more of the gender research I find in those journals will be by transgendered psychologists and psychiatrists.

I’m looking at the future of Trans-Health, too. I envision it as a complement to the men’s and women’s fitness magazines, the same ones I scoured for information I could apply to my own transgendered body. Just as there are general differences between the bodies of bio-men and -women, there are differences between their bodies and ours, and between the bodies of trans-women and -men. We will all always have unique fitness concerns, health risks, and abilities. No-op/no-ho trans people, while they don’t share some of the same health risks, share many of the same concerns: how to feminize or masculinize their bodies through diet and exercise, how we express our sexuality, and discrimination and hate crimes resulting from being perceived as transgendered, are concerns unique to trans people and are shared by all of us, not just those of us who choose—and have access to the medical care required for—physical transition.

Our mission at Trans-Health is to create an educational resource that empowers trans people to take control of our health in positive and effective ways. Not through “anorexia as a lifestyle choice,” not through selectively ignoring our bodies, and not by blindly depending on any source of information without also having the tools to critically analyze the data. Our articles to date on subjects such as healthy diet and exercise, breast cancer risks from silicone implants and injections, and in-depth discussion of sex hormones are examples of how we address the misinformation and lack of information available elsewhere.

We hope to be here for years to come, continuing to serve transgendered people by educating us and our health care providers on our unique health and fitness needs. This magazine is an all-volunteer effort: writing articles, putting the site together, and hosting it are all done for free by people who care about Trans-Health. We want to expand our work to include other ways of disseminating information on the health and fitness of trans people: the editorial staff has discussed creating a print version of the magazine, for example, and offering workshops at trans and medical conferences. We can’t do these things without money, however: while we’ve individually covered the expenses of the online magazine, these other plans are beyond the depths of our wallets. Even becoming a non-profit organization costs money, surprisingly.

Right now, we’re not incorporated, and don’t have non-profit status. These are necessary first steps toward getting funding and accepting tax-deductible donations to fund the work we’d like to do. To do all of this, we need your help. We’ve opened an online store at CafePress, where we’re selling a variety of items. Proceeds from those sales will go toward the cost of incorporating and filing for non-profit status. If you’d like to help support our effort, and get a neat gift or the perfect shirt to wear to the next Pride event, please consider buying something from our store. If you’d rather give a direct donation to Trans-Health, you can do that on the web, too, via our PayPal account. Note that donations are not currently tax-deductible, but are very much appreciated.

Thanks for all of your help!

Justin Cascio

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