Dr. Jennifer Elizabeth Madden is a local physician with a difference. Her Family Practice provides primary care for all sorts of people in Amherst, NH, just west of Nashua, and over the border from Massachusetts. The difference is that Dr. Madden accepts diversity, and in particular caters to the needs of the transgender community.
Trans biographies are usually interesting, leading us to compare our own journeys for similarities and differences. Jennifer’s story also promises to inform us about the personal aspects of transitioning from a medical viewpoint. We recently asked her a few questions via e-mail:
What is the book about?
It’s a story about my transition from male to female, but not just the physical change, rather the emotional and spiritual change as well. Overcoming guilt and shame, coming to terms with my own existence, learning to forgive myself and others, and coming to the realization that everyone’s life has meaning are all important themes in the book.
Who is the target audience?
Well, I think anyone who has gone through a major change in their life will be able to relate to it. Whether it is the lost of a loved one, overcoming some great adversity, surviving a wartime battle, or, as in my case, changing one’s sex, the experience can be monumental. It’s my hope that people will read the book and feel somehow changed by it.
What caused you to write it?
I think I felt a sense of destiny. That’s the only way I can explain it. I needed to make peace with my creator; God, the universe, whatever you might like to call it.
Is this your first book?
Yes, this is my first book.
Is writing an actual published book easier or more difficult than you imagined?
It took me seven years to complete this. I somehow always knew it would become a book, but every chapter is a short story that could probably stand alone. I sometimes spent months reworking just one chapter, finding myself satisfied with it one day, only to find myself rewriting it on another. Now, having published my book, I do feel a sense of accomplishment. I’d like to write another one someday, maybe something more fictional. I enjoy writing and find it to be an art, much like painting, or composing music.
Maybe you can tell us a bit about yourself and your history?
I grew up in the small town of Greenfield, Massachusetts. I was the first in my family to go college. My great grandfather emigrated from Ireland at age 18 during the great potato famine. He died young of tuberculosis. I went in the Air Force at age 18, just after the Vietnam war. When I came home from the service, I decided to go to college. Some years later, I found myself in medical school at the University of Massachusetts. At the age of 55, I’ve been a physician now for over twenty years. I think the transition has taught me a lot about compassion and human kindness. I try to live a good life.
How else are you involved in the transgender community?
Well, I’m a member of WPATH, the World Professional Association for Transgender Health, and the Academy of Family Practice. I have a solo practice in Amherst, NH and see a lot of transgendered patients from all over New England. I work with a number of gender therapists and ,using the guidelines set forth by WPATH, I do offer hormone therapy for my patients with gender dysphoria. We also have a support group that meets the 3′rd Wednesday night of every month at my office. Details can be found on my web site, www.jenniferemadden.com.
Posted by Stacey S.