NONFICTION

Trans Mission: My Quest to a Beard

Little Brown. May 2019. 304p. glossary. resources. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780316529037.
COPY ISBN
Gr 7 Up–YouTuber Bertie combines practical advice for other young transgender readers with a memoir about his own transition. The text is accompanied by humorous line drawings by the author and includes family anecdotes and terms like “transliness.” The overall tone is personal, straightforward, and upbeat. Bertie frankly acknowledges the pain of gender dysphoria and his difficult road to family acceptance and access to medical care for his transition. Responsibly, Bertie omits the details of his period of self-harm and emphasizes the importance of finding support, whether that’s from family, friends, mental health professionals, or online communities. Readers get to know Bertie and his family through intimate details like his trans coming-out letter to his dad, a Q&A chapter with his mom aimed at other parents of transgender youth, and a recounting of how his parents took care of him during top surgery recovery. Other chapters are more how-to, covering topics from packing (putting something in one’s underwear to give the appearance of a bulge) to safer sex and self-esteem. The back matter includes a glossary and a brief list of resources, with many other citations in the body of the text (including sources for, and reviews of, particular types and brands of chest binders).
VERDICT An accessible, hopeful road map for youth in transition and their friends, families, and communities

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