Trans+: Love, Sex, Romance, and Being You by Kathryn Gonzales and Karen Rayne is excellently self-described as “a ground-breaking, all-inclusive, uncensored must-have guide for teens who are transgender, nonbinary, gender-nonconforming, gender-fluid, or questioning their gender identity, and for cis-allies” (Gonzales & Rayne, back cover).
For the sake of this blog post, I would like to state I am a cis woman, so I am coming from an ally perspective, and therefore I cannot speak to the accuracy of the trans experience that is depicted and described. Although I cannot speak to the accuracy of this aspect, the novel is written by a trans woman and includes many diaries of teens with a variety of gender expressions and sexual identities explaining their experiences with being transgender, nonbinary, gender-nonconforming, gender-fluid, or questioning their identity.
Trans+ is an incredibly welcoming book, with a muted grey cover and the title is in the colors of the trans flag. It starts off introducing the backgrounds of the authors of the book and teens interviewed for the diary entries.
In media, it can sometimes seem as if there is only one way to be trans, and that is to be passing as cisgender, but Gonzales and Rayne break this misconception down. Trans+ does not describe the process of transitioning as perfect and emphasizes that no one transition is “ideal” or has to follow a certain set of rules. Gonzales and Rayne break down stigma surrounding the discussion of gender and sexuality and approach it in an understandable manner, and yet the readers are never babied or talked down to.
Diverging from the written content, I would like to point to the pictures in this book and applaud the illustrator, although they are not named in the book. I cannot include copies of the illustrations, but I can promise that the illustrations are excellent, depicting people of varying races, religions, and (dis)abilities.
This book is not perfect; I would recommend a bit more of an emphasis on the potential dangers of improper chest binding and how that could permanently damage chest tissue (Gonzales & Rayne, 109), but they do somewhat caution to be aware of how you are physically feeling when binding. There may be inaccuracies I was not aware of, but it overall seems incredibly inclusive and well researched.
There were some issues with paragraphs repeating exactly, a couple typos, and some more terms should be added to the glossary, including ‘neutrois’ and some other terms, but this is something that can be easily fixed.
Trans+ is an excellent book, and after additional reviewing I believe it should be in all schools and libraries for teens and adults alike of all identities to access. Trans+ is set to be published in August of 2019 through Magination Press, and I highly recommend you all check it out. I look forward to the final copy being released!
Citation: Gonzales, Kathryn, and Karen Rayne. Trans+: Love, Sex, Romance, and Being You. Magination Press, 2019.