We do not wish to appeal only to those interested in social science as an academic discipline. For that reason, in addition to historical, sociological and political analyses, we have included a number of descriptive accounts. Firsthand knowledge of the area is so sparse that these should be particularly welcome to the newcomer. Further, we believe that the time has now come to lay down parameters for a new field of enquiry. To this end, we have divided the contributions into five parts which, when taken together, lay claim to an emerging field of transgender studies. We have sought to emphasise the variety of styles and discourses, as well as the vehement disagreements, that mark the area. The polyvalent stance of the volume makes it eminently suitable as a first reader in a new field of study.