Beyond Magenta Transgender Teens Speak Out by Susan Kuklin
A groundbreaking work of LGBT literature takes an honest look at the life, love, and struggles of transgender teens.
Author and photographer Susan Kuklin met and interviewed six transgender or gender-neutral young adults and used her considerable skills to represent them thoughtfully and respectfully before, during, and after their personal acknowledgment of gender preference. Portraits, family photographs, and candid images grace the pages, augmenting the emotional and physical journey each youth has taken. Each honest discussion and disclosure, whether joyful or heartbreaking, is completely different from the other because of family dynamics, living situations, gender, and the transition these teens make in recognition of their true selves.
From School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—The strength and honesty of six transgender teens stand out as their stories are told by a large cast of outstanding performers, including Nick Podehl, Roxanne Hernandez, Nancy Wu, and Marisol Ramirez. Each tells a complex personal tale of realization, coming out, communication with family and friends, struggles, and triumph through adversity. Each performer speaks in the gender of the person’s current self-identity, which is occasionally confusing, although a main narrator, reading Kuklin’s (No Choirboy) words as she conducted these interviews, provides context for each teen’s story. The teens are voiced in a totally believable way with various regional accents. They tell the stories as flawed but full human beings, and as they talk about bullying, mental health, clinical history, and problems with family and friends, listeners will be inspired by their lives. Unfortunately, neither the photographs from the book nor the interview with Dr. Silva, clinical director of the Health Outreach to Teens (HOTT) program in New York City, are included in the audio format.—Ann Brownson, Eastern Illinois University, Charleston –This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
*Starred Review* Kuklin’s book profiles six transgender teens in both their own words and the author’s excellent photographs. The result is a strikingly in-depth examination of the sometimes clinical complexities of being transgender, even as Kuklin’s empathy-inducing pictures put a human face on the experience. The profiles are evenly divided between FTM (female to male) and MTF (male to female) teens. Also represented are a variety of races and ethnicities, and included are one teen who is intersex and another who regards themself as pansexual (several of the teens choose to identify themselves with the gender-neutral pronouns they, them, and their). Though their experiences differ, the teens often stress that, as Kuklin puts it, “Gender is one variable in a person’s identity, and sexual orientation is another variable. The two are not connected.” Similarly, Kuklin makes clear that, despite the popular misconception, all trans teens are not gay. Further information is contained in an appended interview with Dr. Manel Silva, clinical director of the HOTT (Health Outreach to Teens) program at the New York City–based Callen-Lorde Community Health Center, which has served the needs of several of the profiled teens. Kuklin’s important new book brings welcome clarity to a subject that has often been obscure and gives faces—literally and metaphorically—to a segment of the teen population that has too long been invisible. Speaking with equal impact to both the reader’s heart and mind, Beyond Magenta is highly recommended. Grades 7-12.
Read more …
Beyond Magenta: An Interview With Susan Kuklin (Part I)