Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out
Beyond Magenda
Susan Kuklin
ISBN 9780763656119
Candlewick, 2014.
2015 Flora Stieglitz Straus, 2015 Stonewall Honor Book
5 stars
Keywords: beyond-transgender-teens-speak-out families friendships romance susan-kuklin transgender

Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out
by Susan Kuklin

Six transgender teens share their journeys in their own words, with intimate revelations about their inner struggles, their loves, their challenges with family and peers--even crises of faith. It is a testament to Susan Kuklin's (No Choirboy) gifts as a listener and interviewer that her subjects describe their lives with such candor.

The first chapter, "Jessy," may be the most accessible for readers ("At first I thought maybe there is something psychologically wrong with me because I was thinking this way, because I was feeling this way. Am I abnormal?"). Christina's voice is brasher, and 19-year-old Mariah describes her violent leanings. The accounts reveal the teens' feelings of being out of place in their bodies, as well as the considerations for those contemplating hormone therapy. A therapist at Callen-Lorde Community Health Center in New York City explains to Jessy that before he could transition, he must be 18, and must go through four months (16 sessions) of counseling. Not all of the teens' stories involve hormone therapy. Sixteen-year-old Luke, for instance, finds a life preserver in Proud Theater in Madison, Wis.

The teens identify subtle negotiations with society attached to gender; two of the teens' parents discuss coming to grips with their children's journeys. Whether readers are contemplating hormone therapy or wish to support those who are, copious resources provide information to help sort out such questions. Kuklin's book provides both reassurance and answers to questions that teens may not even realize they have.

This review first appeared in Shelf Awareness for Readers.
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