A review by mrmarshall591
Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out by Susan Kuklin



I have had this book for 5-6 years but held off on reading it because many times it is difficult for me to read queer narratives in general, as I often would question my own and feel bad about not realizing it all earlier. That is not what I had to worry about with this book. Most of these chapters focus a lot on very stereotypical gender norms, such as liking action figures more than barbie dolls or even describes girls as more annoying/ less strong. There is a lot of misogyny, and one chapter had what really reads as strong biphobia. The first story was the most painful to read, as while the person’s story is valid, by focusing on how the trans male is okay with how the girlfriend sees him as a girl and hates his physical transition/ never has called him “he”, it can make people reading thinking this is in general acceptable. Also, I think it should be made more clear in the beginning how while the people featured are in many ways diverse, they all were recruited from Callen Lorde, an LGBTQIA+ clinic based in NYC known for helping trans people access gender affirming care; this leaves out people who were unable to access this care, grew up / live in rural areas, etc. I really wanted to be able to give this book a higher rating, and while these are stories that need to be heard, this book reads to me as “look how brave trans teens are for defying gender norms and facing so many challenges” and it “others” them. So while it promotes awareness, it does not promote acceptance as much. I know autism is a completely separate thing, but I think of it how many people are aware of autism and try to be nice to autistic people/ befriend them but they still treat them as “other” and that they are being such a great person for showing kindness to them.

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