Transgender The Israeli Experience

The discussion of the Israeli transgender experience is based on a survey of the transgender population members who consulted the Israeli Center for Human Sexuality and Gender Identity between 1997 and 2001.

The survey included 86 participants; 67 of them were genetic males and 19 of them were genetic females (the ratio of male to female is 3.5: 1). The age range of the participants was 8-71 years with median of 31.4. Most of the participants (65%) were single, 23% were married, and 12% were divorced. The educational background of the participants was relatively high: 52% of them had obtained college degrees (42% had graduate degrees), 24% had high-school diplomas, and only 16% had not obtained a high-school diploma.

Occupationally, most participants were academic professionals (74%) with a high percentage of representation in the high-tech industry (24%); 16% held blue-collar jobs, 3% worked in the sex industry, and 5% were unemployed. In terms of ethnic background, 65% of the participants were Ashkenazi Jews, 30% were Sephardic Jews, and 4% were Palestinian Arabs. Most of the participants in the sample (96%) were Jews, with only 4% Muslims and Christians.

Thus one can characterize the population of transgen-der clients in the Center as highly functional on personal, interpersonal, and occupational levels. Additionally, most of the clients in the Center expressed interest in exploring gender identity issues before pursuing genital surgery.

In Israel, one can obtain free surgery for sex change through the national health system, following an evaluation and approval by a specialized gender identity committee. Other features, which may be unique to the Israeli society, are army service, the dominant influence of religion, and the strong nationalistic sentiments. These features impact the discourse on sex and gender and tend to be more transsexual confirming and less focused on identity politics. Despite the open and liberal nature of Israel towards the transsexual/transgendered person, there is a rigidity and polarization of femininity and masculinity in Israeli society.

Pregnancy And Childbirth

Pregnancy And Childbirth

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