TEMV is a member of Welcoming Faiths, an interfaith coalition in the Merrimack Valley dedicated to promoting affirmation and inclusion for LGBTQ+ individuals and families. The coalition recently distributed copies of the book Trans Teen Survival Guide to its member congregations, and we are happy to share a review of it by our very own Jo Rothman.
Trans Teen Survival Guide, by Owl and Fox Fisher
(Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2018)
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
As a trans person myself, I’ve struggled to find comprehensive, inclusive, up-to-date guides for trans folks and their loved ones. It’s hard enough to find fiction that involves us, let alone accessible and positive nonfiction. But I was pleased to find that Trans Teen Survival Guide by Owl and Fox Fisher met every need I could have had! Owl and Fox, both nonbinary young adults, are partners and have both been vocal trans activists for several years; and their book reflects both their own experiences and the incredible range of other experiences under the trans umbrella.
Trans Teen Survival Guide is a positive, easy read for anyone, whether or not they’re familiar with trans issues. Granted, I know more than your average ally and my view might be a little skewed in that regard, but I found the whole book delightfully easy to read and understand, and I learned a few things too! I was especially delighted by the chapters on medical transitions, as they were extremely informative but not at all graphic. I’m definitely a squeamish person, so being able to read about the ins and outs (so to speak) of gender-affirming surgeries without cringing was a big selling point for me.
It’s also inclusive of an enormous range of experiences and identities, more so than pretty much any other trans book I know of. The Fishers made a point of including the words of other trans young adults, ranging in age from 12 to 29 and across all gender identities. Additionally, they used actively inclusive language throughout the book, reiterating over and over that there are more ways to identify and live than just the ones they describe, and that everyone’s path and experience will differ. Especially in a time where many people—including a lot of trans people—try to gatekeep what makes a person “trans enough,” it was wonderful to see this affirmation of other paths!
My only real complaint is that, since the Fishers live in the UK, the specific resources listed in the “Resources and Cool People” section are almost entirely UK-exclusive. However, this was a very minor complaint, and a quick Google search will easily yield similar results in the US.
Trans Teen Survival Guide was a delightful read! I definitely recommend it for anyone of any age, but especially for trans folks who are just coming to terms with their identities, and their loved ones who want to learn more.
— Jo Rothman (they/them)
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