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Transitions of the Heart: Stories of Love, Struggle and Acceptance by Mothers of Transgender and Gender Variant Children Paperback – May 15, 2012


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Transitions of the Heart: Stories of Love, Struggle and Acceptance by Mothers of Transgender and Gender Variant Children + The Transgender Child: A Handbook for Families and Professionals + Helping Your Transgender Teen: A Guide for Parents
Price for all three: $39.88

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Cleis Press (May 15, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1573447889
  • ISBN-13: 978-1573447881
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.2 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #343,956 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"The stories of unexpected twists in the journey of parenting should resonate with all of us who have ever been surprised at the directions our children take."
—Bay Windows

"Sometimes, the “T” in “LGBT” seems to hide behind its fellow letters. Your friends and family might not even know what it stands for, but Transitions of the Heart explains in a gentle, celebratory way. That’s a very useful beacon for anyone who feels isolated as their transgender child begins to embrace who (s)he is. But it’s also important, I think, that editor Rachel Pepper includes stories that aren’t so rosy mixed with the stories of acceptance and encouragement. That added a stronger, more authentic message to this book and quashed the Pollyanna-ish tone it might’ve had otherwise. But it’s not just for parents of trans children. There are useful lessons about acceptance and unconditional love that will resonate with many parents, gay or straight."
—Washington Blade

"Transitions of the Heart is a moving collection of very personal stories, and I hesitate to reduce the nuances of each to general themes. One of the strengths of the anthology is, in fact, the diversity of stories. Mothers from across the United States (and a few from Britain) describe the fears and joys of parenting a trans child, whether that child is transitioning on the eve of retirement or just entering kindergarten. Families are Euro-American, African-American, Latin-American and Asian-American. Families are queer, single parent- or blended-family homes, as well as your husband-wife-kids prototype. There are urban professionals and rural hippies, Bible-thumping Baptists and Jewish-Italians."
—The Corner of Your Eye

"A heartwarming collection of 32 personal accounts, Transitions of the Heart details the “changes and challenges” faced by mothers of transgender children, ranging from deep grief over losing a son or daughter to rage at the ignorance of school administrators. The courageous voices of these moms come through this book’s pages with emotion and stark honesty. I defy you to read Anna Randolph’s “What I Didn’t Say” and not be moved. One lesson learned? “I now realize that all children are born exactly as they are meant to be,” writes Betti Shook."
—Baltimore Gay Life

"Uniformly heartwarming and edifying, Pepper's labor of love will prove enriching and galvanizing for parents currently in the throes of their own familial transgender odyssey."
—The Bay Area Reporter

"[A] heartwarming collection…This deeply personal book should prove an invaluable, inspiring resource."
Publishers Weekly

"For every thriving transgender or gender non-conforming son or daughter, there is a parent who has struggled, searched, listened, and loved. Rachel Pepper’s Transitions of the Heart is a compelling and moving compilation of the personal stories of mothers from all walks of life who have taken that journey. The first book of its kind, it is a must read for anyone who is a parent, works with a parent, or wants to learn about a mother’s courage to overcome personal barriers, stand up to an unfriendly word, and stand by her gender creative child."
—Diane Ehrensaft, PhD, author of Gender born, Gender Made

"For many transgender or gender nonconforming people, our life journey is riddled with struggle, solitude, and a long road toward self-acceptance. The love from a mother is a treasured gift. Transitions of the Heart captures the complexity and depth of a mother's journey to understand and support her child --- a child who, confronted with questions, fear and self-doubt, is sometimes the one who leads the mother to understand the true meaning of unconditional love. The stories told in Transitions of the Heart are are brave, honest, compelling and timely. They represent a powerful tool that can guide a parent from struggle to acceptance."
—The Jim Collins Foundation

"These honest, deeply felt testimonies of parents discovering and grappling with the unexpected difference of their trans child -- exemplify the grace of parental love. I am moved to tears reading these stories, amazed continually by the insight, tender reflection, and courageous love that each parent exhibits in their struggle to understand their trans child, and to parent responsibly and with inspiration. The book, Transitions of the Heart, restores my faith in the world."
—Max Wolf Valerio, author of The Testosterone Files

"As a mother it’s easy to relate to the concerns expressed by the contributors to Rachel Pepper’s new book TRANSITIONS OF THE HEART. These mothers represent a variety of family arrangements, life stages, and backgrounds... but they communicate the love for their children, hope for their future, and self-doubt of their parenting skills familiar to most mothers. What happens when parents learn their child is transgender? How is it different if they are adults, or still in school? Will they be safe? Can they be happy? While the experiences are specific to being the mother of a transgender child, any mother can relate to the feelings the women reveal. The mothers we meet in these pages can be our friends, our neighbors, ourselves."
—Eden Lane, Host/Producer - In Focus : Colorado Public Television

From the Back Cover

Transition Mamas

Transitions of the Heart is the first collection to invite mothers of transgender and gender variant children to tell their own stories. Often "transitioning" socially and emotionally alongside their children, parents have their own parallel process to work through, and few resources to depend on. Editor Rachel Pepper has gathered voices of women from all walks of life, with children ranging in age from six to sixty, to share their experiences. These mothers have learned how to advocate for their children and themselves. By speaking out here, they are blazing a brave trail for others to follow.

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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These are truly stories from the heart.
1mom3kids
This is a MUST read for families with transgender children... Thank You Rachel Pepper for producing this book!
KBiegs
Very informative as well as heart warming.
Tammy

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By 1mom3kids on May 15, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a mom of a gender non-conforming child, I've read a lot of clinical/factual information. These are truly stories from the heart. My favorites included a Southern Baptist mom who did all the wrong things when she learned her child was gender non-conforming. But she owned it, and she shared it, so that other moms can learn from her mistakes. I also liked the stories that were similar to mine -- because there aren't many (or at least I haven't heard them). It made me feel less alone and more confident. The kids' stories are consistent -- my boy liked girl's things and vice versa -- but it's the moms' perspectives that separate this book from the rest. And although the book features a wide variety of moms -- gay, straight, married, single, religious, not religious, etc. -- the common thread is love for our children. Fabulous.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on May 1, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am a transgender man. I'm 42 years old and I have a very loving mother who just doesn't understand why I have 'chosen' this path. She doesn't recognize me for the man that I am, only as the daughter that she was given. I purchased this book to give to her for either Mother's Day or her birthday (they are within a week of each other), but decided I had better read it before I gave it to her. When it arrived in my mailbox, I couldn't wait to open it, and I couldn't wait to read it, although I swore I would wait until after I had finished final papers for my grad school classes, it didn't happen. I read it in 3 sessions because it was so good I didn't want to put it down. It gave me hope that perhaps my mother can change and accept me for who I am by reading how other mother's have done that very same thing. I hope that it will open her heart and mind to how her actions hurt me, even though I continue to be present in her life regardless of her disapproval and I have chosen to give her as much time as she needs to learn to accept it. This is my gentle nudge that maybe she needs to be moving in that direction, if only a little. If nothing else, perhaps it will open some lines of discussion and communication. Mom's are hard.
When I chose to transition I did so knowing that I was risking losing everyone and everything in my life. I was willing to do so because I had finally realized that to live my life on someone else's terms was impossible and to continue the same path would be to accept that I would likely forfeit my life in the coming months. It was literally a life or death decision. While I am thankful that my parents have chosen to love me through this choice, some days it is difficult to know that it is only because I share their DNA that they even associate with me.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Penny Thoughtful on May 10, 2012
Format: Paperback
This is a spotlight into the minds of mothers who had something happen to them that they never thought would happen: their child transitioned into the opposite gender. I learned a lot about transgender issues from reading this, including things I had not known, such as the extent to which some very young children feel they are in the wrong body, and the negative effects this can have on them at a young age. Tears came to my eyes when I read the part about the young child asking at bedtime if (s)he was going to grow up to be the abominable snowman, because (s)he overheard someone at church say (s)he was "an abomination to God."

Very informative. I recommend this even if you don't know anyone who is transgender; you still need to know about the issue on the whole, and this is a good way to get a personal perspective.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By D. Kipnis on September 8, 2012
Format: Paperback
I read through this book in one sitting. It isn't short, I was just so compelled. While I was reading it I was desperate to find my story hidden in the pages, something I could take to my mother and show her how to feel. I realized that my story, like the story of every transperson, is unique. I won't find my own story until I write it myself, but that doesn't detract from the message and quality of this book. I found every story to be helpful in its own way, and I was happy to present this book to my mother. Take the book as a whole, read through every chapter, and you'll find comfort and support on every page, even if the story isn't exactly like yours.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth H. Rowell on May 9, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The very readable personal essays included in Transitions Of The Heart will be a tremendous help to Mothers who have transgender and gender variant children as well as others who want to know more about the transgender experience. The essay writers who are mothers of transgender children of all ages tell in their own words sometimes with sadness, excitement, and humor how they have learned in different ways to accept, support, and advocate for their much loved children. Their experiences touch your own heart as well as convey ideas on how to cope with all the relatives, educators, rude comments from others, religious issues, and bullying.
As a dedicated Transgender Ally I found this significant book difficult to put down and my personal copy is highlighted with penciled in notes and adorned with umpteen yellow stickies. It has been referred to often and already been shared with others. I hope that Rachel Pepper will soon do a similar much needed book about fathers followed by one about siblings of transgender and gender variant children.

Elizabeth Rowell
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More About the Author

Rachel Pepper is the editor of Transitions of the Heart: Stories of Love, Struggle and Acceptance by Mothers of Transgender and Gender Variant Children, published by Cleis Press and released in May, 2012. This groundbreaking collection by more than 30 mothers of diverse backgrounds and ages will provide a window into what mothers of gender non-conforming children and adults really think and feel about their children and their own journey of change. Rachel's previous books include the best-selling Ultimate Guide to Pregnancy for Lesbians (more than 22,000 copies sold!) and she is also the co-author of The Gay and Lesbian Guide to College Life, and The Transgender Child: A Handbook for Families and Professionals. Rachel is a practicing MFT intern working with the LGBT population and is also employed at La Ventana Treatment Center in San Francisco, a holistic private clinic for women with eating disorders. An experienced professional journalist and the long-standing book editor for Curve Magazine, Rachel lives in the Bay Area with her partner Kellen and daughter Frances. She can be directly contacted at RLPepper@hotmail.com.

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