Trans Voices

Since the Seattle Gay Pride parade is gearing up just outside my windows, I thought I would write about a couple of books that I read recently that book groups might not know about.

Last year, I saw Stephanie A. Brill, the author of The Transgender Child: A Handbook for Families and Professionals, speak at a conference on mentoring. She spoke about gendered identities, gender variance and society’s expectations for gender expression–all topics that would make wonderful discussion points.

Transgender characters and voices are emerging in literature for adults and teens.

Recently I read Like Son by Felicia Luna Lemus. Told from the perspective of Frank Cruz, born Francisca, Like Son presents a trans character without making the story about being trans. Frank’s voice is so real, so striking. It starts with Frank’s relationship with his dying father, chilling history with his mother, and the start of his new life in New York where he meets the love of his life, Nathalie. Lemus also weaves a fascinating back story about the woman shown on the cover, Mexican artist Nahui Olin aka Carmen Mondragón.

A teen novel that came out a few years ago that explores being trans is Lunaby Julie Ann Peters. Luna is narrated by Regan whose brother, Liam, who knows he is meant to be a girl but is afraid to tell his parents. Liam/Luna’s story illuminates what it means to be trans: to know you were born in the wrong body and the emotional toll it can take to confront your own truth.

A colleague just told me about another teen book featuring a trans character that she thought was fantastic: Almost Perfect by Brian Katcher. I am putting it on my reading list.

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About the Author:

Misha Stone is a readers' advisory librarian with The Seattle Public Library. Follow her on Twitter at @ahsimlibrarian.

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