Editor: Brynn Tannehill
Publisher: Jessica Kingsley Publishers
Publication Date: February 20, 2023
Reviewed by: Rebecca Jane Johnson
Review Date: July 24, 2022
When a child summons the courage to come out to their parents as transgender, parents can turn to this book for helpful resources and guidance. This book is a collaboration of a variety of people who have experienced a child who wants to transition. In previous decades, when and if a child came out, they were told something was wrong with them, but over the years, grown-ups have learned to listen. Now, gender fluidity is something that we can embrace, and this offers parents a way to ask questions and find insights full of courage and intelligence.
The book opens with detailed biographies of parents and Subject Matter Experts (SME) who have contributed to this fountain of transgender wisdom. Some of these biographies describe professional credentials, like “licensed psychologist serving the Gender Clinic” or “pediatrician, mother of three, writer, and transgender activist.” But other bios reveal emotional challenges, such as Marsha Aizumi who has “shared her story of moving from shame, sadness, and fear to unconditional love and acceptance.” The expansive spectrum of expertise, advice, and experience offers healthy perspectives for parents, friends, and family who want to support a child’s smooth and affable gender transition.
With this foundation of trust established, a reader can feel confident they are getting the most accurate and up-to-date information on the best ways to navigate gender transitions and fluidity. Societal stigmas receive critical analysis in ways that open any reader’s mind and help us all transcend anxieties. Two frequent questions parents ask include “What if this is a phase?” and “What if they change their minds?” These questions are answered with well-researched evidence that renders old misinformation obsolete and puts parents’ minds at ease. Accurate information assuages fears so that parents can be supportive, seek out a Transgender Law Center, and start to know legal rights. Also, readers will become familiar with gender dysphoria, hormone blockers, social transitions, and preparing for top or bottom surgery.
The deeper the reader dives into these pages, and witnesses the various stories, the more it becomes clear that we are friends and family, no matter what. Eventually, a reader may find himself asking, is assigning gender at birth limiting our creativity and possibilities as human beings? One of these parents is DeShanna Neal who says, “Freedom of expression is a constant mantra in my household,” so they never felt concerned about gender fluidity, never equated identity with expression. Yes, here, we can safely say wearing a sports jersey with a tutu makes perfect sense.
The “feelings as a parent” chapter reveals that letting go means making room in the parents’ arms to embrace something new or something else. Parents discuss, honestly, what it was like for their child to transition socially. How do families cope if there are other family members who do not accept the transition? How should kids who choose to transition recognize misinformation about gender diversity? These and dozens of other questions make this read satisfying for anyone who wants to know more about what it’s like to support gender diversity.
Quill says: This up-to-date and knowledge-based resource gives parents a sense of community, support, and guidance through any child’s gender transition.