Transphobia: Deal with It and Be a Gender Transcender – Who do you think you are? Part of identity is how people experience their gender. Transphobia is intolerance of any part of the range of gender identity. This accessible, illustrated book offers information, quizzes, comics and true-to-life scenarios to help kids better understand gender identity and determine what they can do to identify and counter transphobia in their schools, homes and communities. Considered from the viewpoint of gender explorers, gender enforcers and witnesses, transphobic behaviour is identified, examined and put into a context that kids can use to understand and accept themselves and others for whatever gender they are — even if that’s no gender at all!
I chose to read Transphobia: Deal with It and be a Gender Transcender because I am in the process of overcoming my own transphobia and figured a kids book that explained things super simply would be a good place to start. I stand up for Trans rights because I know that being transphobic is wrong. I know that it doesn’t matter what gender a person is. I know it, and yet part of me still has trouble accepting it.
Transphobia is a 32 page book for Canadian children that deals both with how to deal with transphobia both as an outsider and as someone who is trans. It gives tips for educating yourself and people around you for people who are not trans, but wanting to know more about it. It has sections designed to help kids who are trans make their needs known.
I really liked the “Dear Conflict Counselor” and “Dear Dr. Shrink Wrapped” sections. I think Wallace did a good job in keeping the questions simple and on a level kids can understand. And the answers are very clear cut. At the same time, though, they’re questions even adults might think (at least a variation of) so it is good for adults to read too!
The Transphobia Myths section covered all the common myths that I’ve heard and gave rebuttals for them.
The Quiz section had potential, but it felt a little off for kids. It was aimed specifically at kids who are questioning their gender, and asking them how they would react to various situations. The reactions were labeled with ‘put up’ ‘speak up’ or ‘flare up’ but there was no explanation as to why the kids should choose one or the other. (I can think of some adults who wouldn’t know why, so I definitely get concerned about kids comprehension of it.)
Side note: There was one illustration in this section (referencing trans being a new thing) that (to me) looked like it was referring to Shakespeare’s characters on stage. I was a bit confused by that because I didn’t think that playing a role on stage (because girls didn’t traditionally act back then) made someone considered trans.
I really liked the Choice of… section. It probably had the greatest impact on me, just because it put how to deal with things so easily.
There were things I wish they would have went into a little bit more detail on for kids. For example, one of the dos and don’t section says “don’t speak up on behalf of a targeted group you aren’t a part of” – and that’s good advice, but maybe explain to kids why they shouldn’t do that.
Overall, it wasn’t quite as good as I was hoping it would be, but I think it’s a great starter book for kids who need to learn about Transphobia.
- Title: Transphobia: Deal with It and Be a Gender Transcender
- Author: J. Wallace Skelton
- Illustrator: Nick Johnson
- Publisher: Lorimer
- Pub. Date: Feb 1, 2017
- Pages: 32
- Source: Received a free copy for review consideration.