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Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out

Review

Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out

"Once we get to know individuals who may be different from ourselves, it is less likely we will be wary of them. And maybe, just maybe, we will learn a little more about ourselves." These words reflect the aspirations of award-winning author and photographer Susan Kuklin, whose initial vision for this book was to target "boys who realize that they are girls and girls who realize that they are boys."

That all changed when she connected with the folks at The Callen-Lorde Community Health Center, an organization that provides services primarily to the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer) community in New York, and those at Proud Theater, an all-volunteer organization that is composed of LGBTQ youth, allies, and children of LGBTQ parents. Through her association with these groups, Kulkin met the six fascinating teens who she interviewed and photographed for this groundbreaking book.

Jessy, Christina, Mariah, Cameron, Nat and Luke have demonstrated in their words and actions that they not only intrepid trailblazers, but also heroes offering hope to their closeted peers and future generations.

Much like the beloved NPR broadcast of This American Life, the interviews make up a wonderful balance of firsthand accounts and Kuklin's minimal commentaries. Coupled with her striking portrayals, Kuklin offers readers an in-depth view of what life is like for six teens who are pre- and post transitioning (the process of changing one's gender presentation). Similar to any teen who grapples with her/his identity prior to becoming an adult, the featured teens have had their fair share of challenges, both at home and at school. However, choosing a different gender often places teens in vulnerable and frightening circumstances within narrow-minded societal norms. Standing up and speaking out for what they believe is true to who they are, Jessy, Christina, Mariah, Cameron, Nat and Luke have demonstrated in their words and actions that they not only intrepid trailblazers, but also heroes offering hope to their closeted peers and future generations.

Ranging from heart-warming to utterly harrowing and always closing with inspirational words, these candid stories speak to teens on a level that they understand and supply parents with the reality that comes with being transgender. And as Mariah aptly states, "I want people going through the same thing to know that they are not alone." Complete with a glossary and a plethora of resources, BEYOND MAGENTA is a wonderful companion to the progressively growing collection of guidebooks that grace the shelves of libraries and book stores today.

Reviewed by Anita Lock on February 4, 2014

Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out
by Susan Kuklin

  • Publication Date: February 11, 2014
  • Genres: Sexuality
  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick
  • ISBN-10: 0763656119
  • ISBN-13: 9780763656119