Kulkin, Susan. Beyond Magenta: Transgender
Teens Speak Out.
Susan Kulkin, Illus. Non-fic.
Candlewick, 2014. 182p. $22.99 978-0-7636-5611-9
OUTSTANDING GRADES 8-ADULT
Kulkin presents the reader with an opportunity to hear the
thoughtful and heartfelt reflections of six transgender teens as they discuss their experience before and after transitioning from their birth gender. Despite the diversity of their backgrounds, ethnicities, and experiences, the shared realization comes across clearly: regarding identity, gender is one variable, and sexual orientation is another. These essays are fascinating and valuable in their own right and are particularly useful for those who have a personal or professional stake in transgender experience. Most of the profiles are acompanied by excellent and moving photographs. Italicized authorial interjections help tie the narrative together and supply context but sometimes feel didactic: “School made Mariah feel like a loser, so she acted like a loser.” However, the clear distinction between the teen’s stories and the editorial remarks allows readers the freedom to keep perspectives clear and form their own judgments, making this a highly recommended resource for expanding understanding of a marginalized group. Back matter includes a detailed author’s note that outlines the research and interview process, essays that describe the work of the two featured organizations working with transgender youth, commonly asked questions and answers about transgender issues, a glossary, and list of various resources, including an extensive list of service and advocacy organizations.
Melissa McAvoy, Live Oak School
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