It’s summer (although in San Francisco it always feels like fog), and I’ve been reading! Here’s a taste of what’s been on my bookshelf this season.
Second Son, by Ryan Sallans
I met Ryan at the Philadelphia Trans Health Conference about a month ago. He took the time to carefully listen as I stumbled and rambled on, explaining how he is one of my “gender heroes,” from the first time I saw him in Gender Rebel, to the amazing transgender advocate and speaker he is today. Patiently nodding as I asked him for advice on how I can achieve my dream of doing that full-time, he exuded genuine care and compassion.
I see Ryan’s achievements and feel so proud for him. Yet through “Second Son” he shows us he is just as fearful and insecure as anyone else. It is truly humbling. Reading his story gave me much to think about – about gender, being trans, but also relationships and life in general. Above all, it left me feeling that this journey is not an easy one, but you should always keep moving forward.
Transitions of the Heart: Stories of Love, Struggle and Acceptance by Mothers of Transgender and Gender Variant Children
This collection of essays and stories came out just a few months ago. It is refreshing to see another book about transgender people (especially youth) that doesn’t address the person themselves but rather those around them who are affected by their transition, and whose lives often change just as much.
To be honest, I bought it in hopes of having my mom finally read something about this topic. The issue hasn’t been addressed much on the blog, but my mom is the pebble in my shoe when it comes to acceptance by my friends and family. While I’ve come to terms with the fact that she might never come around, I don’t think I’ll ever give up trying, at least ever so slightly.
Transgender 101, by Nick Teich
This one I got for my dad. Despite claiming his reluctance for getting involved in any sort of community advocacy, through various twists of fate he has become an activist of sorts in our hometown. Not only does he attend PFLAG meetings regularly, he also helped start the first Jewish PFLAG group in Mexico City.
My dad is infinitely proud of me, and as such talks about me all the time to many different people. The problem is that, as well intentioned as he is, he doesn’t necessarily understand everything yet. Trans-something, biological essentialism, gender expression, pronouns – it just all goes over his head. With my terrible impatience at attempting to explain anything to him, I figured a solid introductory book could work wonders.
The author, Nick Teich, whom I know as an organizer of Camp Aranu’tiq for transgender youth, was also at Philly Trans Health. He promised that this book is meant to be accessible to everyone, even my dad. Following the family Jewish value of thriftiness, I’ll read the book before gifting it to my dad, and I’ll let you know how high my hopes remain.
The Letter Q: Queer Writers’ Notes to their Younger Selves
I’m a winner! This book came in the mail – for free – because I won a giveaway over at Sally’s Bibrary blog. If you love reading queer books, head over there and check out her lists and reviews. There is mounting anticipation to crack open this hefty hardcover and absorb that fresh new-book smell. Thanks again Sally!
Wait, didn’t I read this book like a year ago? That’s right, but it’s one of the few remaining physical books I have (they’re all in my Kindle nowadays) and I need to show off my books somehow! Besides, I’ll be going to the Gender Spectrum Conference this weekend, and I figured it’d be a good opportunity to recap some of the highlights before the impending gender immersion.
The Miseducation of Cameron Post, by emily danforth
Room, by Emma Donoghue
Halfway done with another excellent book. So far I haven’t been able to finish it because it gives me nightmares (any book that arouses true emotion in me is a capital-G-Good book). This means I can’t read it in little bits at night, like I usually do, and would need to take an extended period of a few days to focus and plow through it. I started it on my flight back from Philly, perhaps I’ll finish it on my next flight to Seattle.
What’s In Your Bookshelf?
Read anything interesting lately? Have a couple of “to-read” books piling up? Share it in the comments! Remember to check out my endless LGBTQIA books list, which just got updated as well.