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Trans Teen Survival Guide Paperback – September 21, 2018
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About the Author
Fox Fisher is an award winning artist, film-maker and prominent trans-rights campaigner. They co-founded the immensely popular film project My Genderation, and have appeared on national TV shows and documentaries. Fox co-created the children's book Are You A Boy Or Are You A Girl?
Owl (Ugla Stefanía Kristjönudóttir Jónsdóttir) is a trans campaigner, speaker and writer. They've worked extensively on trans rights across Europe and advocate for trans rights in national TV and radio as well as writing articles for various media platforms. They co-run My Genderation and are an Advisor for All About Trans.
- Grade level : 3 - 11
- Item Weight : 8.5 ounces
- Paperback : 224 pages
- ISBN-13 : 978-1785923418
- Product dimensions : 5.35 x 0.79 x 8.43 inches
- Publisher : Jessica Kingsley Publishers (September 21, 2018)
- Reading level : 8 - 16 years
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #103,662 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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I am not so far removed from being a trans teen that I have forgotten what it is like. So I thought I would check out a book aimed at teens (except for a weird chapter at the end aimed at parents of trans kids, not teens). I was hoping that I would find something that would have helped me when I was a trans teen, but I was let down.
I have heard of these authors before, they were interviewed in another book I have read recently. Their interview was one of the few that stuck out to me when I was reading that book, so I was pretty excited to see that they had a book out. I thought they would have a great deal to say that would really get to me. Instead I read a lot of fluff and some really awful sections.
Lets start with the awful: the book was inconsistent, focused greatly on one aspect at the detriment of others, and offered dangerous advice. The dangerous advice was the part that got me though. I expected two trans people to be able to realize what they were telling young trans teens to do with their transition was dangerous. At one point in the book they talk about binding with TAPE. They go on about how a transman has made tape that is better to bind with than normal tape. They do not discuss the dangers of binding with tape at all. Later in the book, one of the write-ins mentioned in more detail about how dangerous binding with tape is. The write-in in ANOTHER section of the book contradicts the authors with accurate information. I was floored. Binding safety should have been basic trans 101. A quick google search will tell you that ace bandages and tape are dangerous, especially in long term bind situations, using during a show for drag is slightly different though there are still risks. The book would randomly have write-in testimonials, but in weird chapters. They never added anything and for all I know they were all faked, I don't believe they were, but it was just so random and plopped in that it felt off.
My biggest issue with the book boils down to the focus of the book. The chapter on binding, packing, and padding (no mention of tucking at all, which is also odd) was shorter than the chapter on what to do if someone wants to interview you on TV. I was literally the poster boy for trans youth when I was younger. I had my face on posters, I was in newspapers, I traveled to give speeches. The other trans youth around me, didn't. So why is there such a focus on interviews and media rules (one must always have a pre-approved positive message that all trans people can agree with so be sure to check with this ONE group before you say anything) when that isn't the norm that trans teens will face. Including it was great, but having it be one of the longest chapter when the basic social transition stuff was glossed over was awful.
More dangerous advice being: It is ALWAYS better to come out than hide. That is not the case. Some people staying stealth or not coming out makes them safer, which the authors admit, but then repeatedly through the rest of the book romanticize the idea of coming out being this magical event and how everyone should come out and how bad stuff can be easily remedied. There is a small section, one or two sentences, about how people have been attacked or kicked out, but the bad again is glossed over. Has Brandon Teena been forgotten? Has Gwen Araujo been relegated to a lifetime movie? What about me (raped, attacked, beaten, and abused by family and classmates alike for coming out as trans and transitioning at 15)? What about all of the homeless trans kids? What about the whole culture of trans women who have turned to sex work to survive? So many bad things can happen, but this book made it seem like they were in the past. I'm not saying someone shouldn't come out because of these bad things, but don't pretend it doesn't happen. Don't gloss over it. Kids can and will get hurt after coming out, but without that coming out no one stands a chance of a happy life. Coming out is a bold, brave, and powerful move of self-acceptance and a push forward for trans rights. I love seeing all the trans kids that are coming out now. I love seeing that my transition is being pushed away from the norm. I am fiercely protective of those kids. So this idea that coming out is all sunshine and rainbows and you should always come out, is dangerous. I don't want these kids hurt or homeless because they followed the glib advice of two adults.
A quick google search, a blog on Tumblr, or checking Facebook for trans groups would give all the information of this book and then some. This book may help some people, but it wouldn't have helped me. I was the only trans kid in my school and in my immediate area. I could only see other trans people once a year at a conference or at a support group that was an hour away. This book still wouldn't have helped me. I was given all of the information this book provided from someone who didn't identify as trans (at the time, he does now) in a five minute conversation. It reaffirms that community is wonderful and necessary, it repeatedly says there is no right or wrong way to be trans (while focusing on a very transsexual binary experience of transitioning and no mention of how clothing can work). So this isn't the worst trans book I have read, but it should not be your only source of information. Seek out another trans person. There are a lot of online big brother/big sister/big sibling programs. I have multiple "younger" brothers that I have mentored over the years. They are all older than me, but I am older in trans years. We share, we have a community. They pass on the stuff we have learned as a group and as individuals to others. All of that works better than this book which is so basic that if you have watched modern TV or read a YA you would already know half of it.
The real pleasure of reading this book is the casual manner in which Fox and Owl address the various issues facing trans people – from the moment of birth when gender classification is hurried, through the various stages of introspection, doubt, and ultimately the coming out phase of being the physical persona the inner self knows before the external world accepts.
The object of this book is to offer tried and true steps in tackling the confrontations with self-acceptance, dress, hormone therapy, surgery – difficult steps to take but made more so unless the trans person knows there is friendship and backup such as Owl and Fox provide in this generous book.
Not only is this book an important adjunct for trans people to use as a survival guide and boost, but it is also a fine book for non-trans people to better understand all aspects of trans identification. Recommended. Grady Harp, October 18
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book.
Top reviews from other countries
If you are a parent who is supporting their child, this is the book for you. If you are a young person who has questions and are looking for support, this is the book for you. If you are a Trans ally, wanting to get it right, this is the book for you.
This is one of the books that will be at the top of my recommended reading lists
Thankyou Fox and Owl for providing such a much needed book .
Don’t let the title fool you, this is just for young trans people. If you, a family member or a friend you want to support are trans* you could do a lot worse than reading this beautiful book. Thank you Owl & Fox for giving us this amazing creation.
It’s the book I wish was available when I was a kid. It would have made a dramatic and hugely positive impact on my life
I can’t recommend nor urge you enough to read and apply all the lessons that can be learned.