Orca Book Publishers

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In Our Own Words
Nonfiction Ages 9-12
Pages: 176
Themes: transgender, LGBTQ+, trans youth, #ownvoices, gender binary
Publisher: Orca Book Publishers
Pub Date: 17/Aug/2021
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What does it mean to be young and transgender today? Growing Up Trans shares stories, essays, art and poetry created by trans youth aged 11 to 18. In their own words, the works illustrate the trans experience through childhood, family and daily life, school, their bodies and mental health. Together the collection is a story of the challenges, big and small, of being a young trans person. At the same time, it’s a toolkit for all young people, transgender or not, about what understanding, acceptance and support for the trans community looks like. In addition to the contributed works, there are questions and tips from experts in the field of transgender studies to challenge the reader on how to be a trans ally.

Growing Up Trans came out of a series of workshops held in Victoria, British Columbia, to bring together trans youth from across the country with mentors in the community.

Justin Tindall, MPH, It Gets Better Project
“This book is exactly what the world needs right now. We’ve heard from doctors, we’ve heard from parents, we’ve heard from teachers. It’s time we hand over the mic to trans kids themselves. And this book does that so beautifully. It’s a tome full of inspiring resilience and determination. It’s a perfect ‘it gets better’ collection.”
Fox and Owl, My Genderation
“It is so incredibly important that trans youth tell their own stories and are able to see themselves reflected—this book is an absolutely gorgeous and inspiring example of just how resilient and beautiful our young people are. Our young people are the future, and it's certainly looking bright.”
EJ Renold, Professor of Childhood Studies, Cardiff University
“Voice matters. In a world that too often silences, sensationalizes and simplifies trans youth experiences, Growing Up Trans is a vital tonic. A vibrant collection that powerfully shares the everyday moments, feelings and challenges of being and becoming trans, with guiding questions and resources to find out more. Dive into the diversity and enjoy this open dialog with the experiences of trans youth in their own words.”
Theresa Thorn, co-host of the One Bad Mother podcast and author of It Feels Good to Be Yourself
Growing Up Trans is absolutely incredible. I devoured it, beginning to end. The pieces made me smile, cry, laugh out loud and feel my heart practically bursting inside my chest with pride and admiration for these young people generously sharing their deeply personal art and stories with us. I think this work is exactly what is needed to further understanding of and support for young trans and gender-nonconforming people.”
Trans Student Educational Resources (TSER)
Growing Up Trans reshapes the stories we believe to be true by sharing the stories we live to tell.”
CM: Canadian Review of Materials
“These narratives are enlightening, heartbreaking, hopeful, haunting, raw, and real, and, all together, they create an overarching narrative that will be beneficial to young people and adults alike, and it is also a fantastic resource for parents, educators, and allies everywhere…A truly innovative, inclusive, and thoughtful resource...Growing Up Trans: In Our Own Words is not only important; it is essential.”
Jack Halberstam, author of Trans*
“This is a one-of-a-kind resource for Trans youth and their communities. Written for, with and about the experience of trans youth and adolescence, the texts gathered here highlight the struggle of learning to live at odds with gender norms. Buy one for your kids, keep one for yourself. Lend it out, share its wisdom, hold it close.”
Daniel L. Metzger, MD, Pediatric Endocrinologist, BC Children's Hospital, and Clinical Professor, University of British Columbia
“The collection of stories, poems and artwork in Growing Up Trans provides the reader with insight into the maelstrom of ups and downs, fears and triumphs, self-reflections and affirmations that is the lived experience of many trans youth. The contributing authors and artists have generously shared their deeply personal, witty, insightful and sometimes dead-silly thoughts and musings, and the reader will hopefully get a sense of the vast panoply of identities and the hard-fought resilience that have emerged as these youth come to be the person they see inside.”
Joel Baum, MS, Gender Spectrum
“In creating a narrative that goes beyond those of tragedy or triumph, Growing Up Trans has filled a glaring gap in the catalog of writings about transgender and other gender-diverse young people. Highlighting many of the unique gender-related experiences of these amazing kids, the book also demonstrates that our trans youth have complex and full lives beyond their own gender journeys. In so doing, they help to inform the reader's appreciation for the unique gender of all young people.”
Dr. Sara Bragg, Centre for Sociology of Education and Equity, University College London
“Beguiling, provoking, unsettling, generative, this book takes us into the becoming of trans youth. An invaluable resource for all those working with, caring for and about trans youth and issues—and for anyone interested in the exuberant, gender-troubling creativity and insight with which trans youth invent themselves. In their own words: a unique, a wonderful thing… a work of art.”
Kirkus Reviews
“Many trans young people will see themselves reflected in these pages…A good recommendation for cisgender adults wishing to understand the experiences of trans youth...A valuable window in the world of trans young people.”
Dr. Annie Pullen Sansfaçon, Canada Research Chair on Transgender Children and their Families, School of Social Work, Université de Montréal
Growing Up Trans makes an important addition to literature on trans and non-binary youth experiences. The themes that are presented allow the reader to gain new insight on some of the issues they face, through the young people’s very own eyes, feelings and experiences portrayed through various forms of art. Each theme centres trans voices from start to end and is commented on by trans scholars who offer thoughtful reflections on possible ways forward to better support and accompany young people on their journey as growing human beings. Growing Up Trans should be included in all school curricula as it provides powerful material to discuss issues related to gender identity and gender expression in various contexts.”
Marria Townsend, MD, CCFP, Medical Director at Trans Care BC
“This book is a precious gift and a call to action. With great courage and generosity, the youth have offered their truths, beautifully expressed through words and images. This will be a powerful resource for my patients and their families and should become required reading for future health professionals and educators–it has the potential to inspire those of us without lived experience of gender diversity to examine our biases, listen well and commit to walking alongside trans, gender-diverse and Two-Spirit youth in our work and our communities.”
Kate Bornstein, author of Gender Outlaw
“How lucky we are for this collection on what trans means and how trans feels—it’s nothing short of an intergenerational trans wonderland. Readers young and old will smile and shake their heads and say, ‘I had no idea.’”
Dr. Charles Ho, MD, Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist, BC Children's Hospital Gender Clinic
Growing Up Trans is an illuminating window into the diverse lives of our trans and gender-creative youth. They share outstanding stories of self-discovery, bravery and resilience as they deal with navigating gender journeys, discrimination, mental health difficulties, families and school life. Family members, care providers, teachers and youth should read Growing Up Trans to understand the lived experiences of our trans and gender-creative kids.”
Booklist
“Heartfelt and honest, this will be a valuable resource for trans readers hoping to see themselves and will help cis readers better understand their journeys.”
barbara findlay, QC
“This book uniquely combines the experience of trans youth with the understanding of adult researchers. ‘Strength is not ignoring the hurt, it’s softening into it and living through it,’ Riley writes. Trans youth will see their experience of transphobia and resilience mirrored in the book, and adult allies will find context and explanation. A stunning resource.”

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