Trans+ (2019)

Bibliographic Information:

  • Title: Trans+: Love, Sex, Romance, and Being You
  • Author: Kathryn Gonzales, MBA and Karen Rayne, PHD
  • ISBN: 9781433829833
  • Publisher: Magination Press
  • Copyright Date: August 27, 2019

Genre: nonfiction, LGBTQ+

Format: Print

Awards or Honors: 

  • 2020 ALA Rainbow Book List Selection
  • 2019 Foreword INDIES Awards Finalist

Reading Level/Interest Level: Grade 10+ / 15+ years old

Plot Summary: Trans+ is an inclusive guide for transgender, nonbinary, gender-nonconforming, or gender-fluid teens. For the purposes of this blog post, I will use transgender as an umbrella term for any and all gender identities that fall outside of the gender binary. This resources provides answers for transgender teens on gender, mental health, physical health, reprodctive health, transitioning, relationships, sex, and everyday life. Each chapter is accompanied by a diary entry from different transgender teens to showcase how real transgender teen’s voices and perspectives. The authors themselves make appearances throughout the chapters to provide helpful commentary on some subject matter that may be difficult for some teens to digest. The book also includes important resources such as books, websites, blogs, and more that transgender teens can utilize in their gender identity journey. 

Author Background: Kathryn Gonzalez is a transgender author, speaker, and advocate for the LGBTQIA+ community. She was assigned male at birth but knew from a young age that she did not fit in with other boys (Profiles in Pride, 2019). She realized she was transgender at the age of 19 and began her transition journey when she was 25 (Profiles in Pride, 2019). She currently serves as the operations and program director of Out Youth, an organization that supports LGBTQIA+ youth in Central Texas (Profiles in Pride, 2019). 

Karen Rayne has two decades of experience working in education with an expertise in sexuality education. She has a PhD in Educational Psychology from the University of Texas at Austin. Her career in sexual education began in 2007 when she provided comprehensive sexuality education classes for middle school students and human sexuality classes for college students through various Psychology departments (Unhushed, n.d.). Dr. Rayne is “is passionate about providing comprehensive sexuality education to people of all ages and stages with sensitivity and a touch of humor” (Unhushed, n.d.).

Critical Evaluation: Tans+ is informative, entertaining, thought provoking, and honest. I love how comprehensive this resource is, as it covers so many topics. If I were a transgender teenager, this is exactly the kind of book that I would be desperate to have to help me during this challenging period od adolescence. Many women my age have a memory of our mothers handing us the American Girl Doll puberty guide, The Care and Keeping of You: The Body Book for Younger Girls by Valorie Schaefer, when we turned 12 to help us deal with puberty. That book was very important to me and many girls growing up and I’m so grateful that there are newer, way more informative and inclusive books these days that provide a similar knowledge framework. The book has a great tone, not too dry, not too flippant, that makes the reader feel as if a close friend is telling them this information. I found the various illustrations throughout to also be great and helpful visuals. Overall, this is a wonderful resource for transgender teenagers. 

Creative Use for Library Program: As part of a Library Pride program, we would host a movie screening for teens only of the documentary Paris is Burning and afterwards host a Q & A session in which teens can ask questions about gender and sexuality with an expert. 

Speed Round Book Talk: Trans+: Love, Sex, Romance, and Being You is the definitive guide for transgender, nonbinary, gender-nonconforming, or gender-fluid teens. Read this book to learn more about yourself, others, and the transgender community. 

Potential Challenge Issues and Defense Preparation: This book definitely covers MANY topics that I fear would be challenged, from it’s frank discussion of topics such as sex, masturbation, genitals, sexually transmitted diseases, and more. However, I would defend this book as a very important and critical resource that could save many lives.

Reason for Inclusion: I wanted to include a resource for teens to help them with their gender or sexual identity. This seemed like a wonderful edition just from the tile alone. Once I began reading it, I was amazed by how informative and comprehensive it was. Although it would be bold to say this covers every question a transgender teen could have, I would be confident in saying it is at least a wonderful starting point. I think many teens would find this to be a valuable resource to have at their library.

References:

Profiles in Pride. (2019, December 9). Kathryn Gonzales: On overcoming the trans narrative and making the world better for LGBTQIA+ youth. https://profilesinpride.com/kathryn-gonzales-making-world-better-for-lgbtqia-youth/ 

Unhushed. (n.d.). Karen Rayne, PHD, CSE: Executive Director. https://v3.unhushed.org/team/karen 

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