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In Our Own Words
Nonfiction Ages 9-12
Pages: 176
Themes: transgender, LGBTQ+, trans youth, #ownvoices, gender binary
Publisher: Orca Book Publishers
Pub Date: 17/Aug/2021
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What does it mean to be young and transgender today? Growing Up Trans shares stories, essays, art and poetry created by trans youth aged 11 to 18. In their own words, the works illustrate the trans experience through childhood, family and daily life, school, their bodies and mental health. Together the collection is a story of the challenges, big and small, of being a young trans person. At the same time, it’s a toolkit for all young people, transgender or not, about what understanding, acceptance and support for the trans community looks like. In addition to the contributed works, there are questions and tips from experts in the field of transgender studies to challenge the reader on how to be a trans ally.

Growing Up Trans came out of a series of workshops held in Victoria, British Columbia, to bring together trans youth from across the country with mentors in the community.

Dr. Sara Bragg, Centre for Sociology of Education and Equity, University College London
“Beguiling, provoking, unsettling, generative, this book takes us into the becoming of trans youth. An invaluable resource for all those working with, caring for and about trans youth and issues—and for anyone interested in the exuberant, gender-troubling creativity and insight with which trans youth invent themselves. In their own words: a unique, a wonderful thing… a work of art.”
Theresa Thorn, co-host of the One Bad Mother podcast and author of It Feels Good to Be Yourself
Growing Up Trans is absolutely incredible. I devoured it, beginning to end. The pieces made me smile, cry, laugh out loud and feel my heart practically bursting inside my chest with pride and admiration for these young people generously sharing their deeply personal art and stories with us. I think this work is exactly what is needed to further understanding of and support for young trans and gender-nonconforming people.”
Joel Baum, MS, Gender Spectrum
“In creating a narrative that goes beyond those of tragedy or triumph, Growing Up Trans has filled a glaring gap in the catalog of writings about transgender and other gender-diverse young people. Highlighting many of the unique gender-related experiences of these amazing kids, the book also demonstrates that our trans youth have complex and full lives beyond their own gender journeys. In so doing, they help to inform the reader's appreciation for the unique gender of all young people.”
EJ Renold, Professor of Childhood Studies, Cardiff University
“Voice matters. In a world that too often silences, sensationalizes and simplifies trans youth experiences, Growing Up Trans is a vital tonic. A vibrant collection that powerfully shares the everyday moments, feelings and challenges of being and becoming trans, with guiding questions and resources to find out more. Dive into the diversity and enjoy this open dialog with the experiences of trans youth in their own words.”
Daniel L. Metzger, MD, Pediatric Endocrinologist, BC Children's Hospital, and Clinical Professor, University of British Columbia
“The collection of stories, poems and artwork in Growing Up Trans provides the reader with insight into the maelstrom of ups and downs, fears and triumphs, self-reflections and affirmations that is the lived experience of many trans youth. The contributing authors and artists have generously shared their deeply personal, witty, insightful and sometimes dead-silly thoughts and musings, and the reader will hopefully get a sense of the vast panoply of identities and the hard-fought resilience that have emerged as these youth come to be the person they see inside.”
Trans Student Educational Resources (TSER)
Growing Up Trans reshapes the stories we believe to be true by sharing the stories we live to tell.”
Fox and Owl, My Genderation
“It is so incredibly important that trans youth tell their own stories and are able to see themselves reflected—this book is an absolutely gorgeous and inspiring example of just how resilient and beautiful our young people are. Our young people are the future, and it's certainly looking bright.”
CM: Canadian Review of Materials
“These narratives are enlightening, heartbreaking, hopeful, haunting, raw, and real, and, all together, they create an overarching narrative that will be beneficial to young people and adults alike, and it is also a fantastic resource for parents, educators, and allies everywhere…A truly innovative, inclusive, and thoughtful resource...Growing Up Trans: In Our Own Words is not only important; it is essential.”
Jack Halberstam, author of Trans*
“This is a one-of-a-kind resource for Trans youth and their communities. Written for, with and about the experience of trans youth and adolescence, the texts gathered here highlight the struggle of learning to live at odds with gender norms. Buy one for your kids, keep one for yourself. Lend it out, share its wisdom, hold it close.”
Justin Tindall, MPH, It Gets Better Project
“This book is exactly what the world needs right now. We’ve heard from doctors, we’ve heard from parents, we’ve heard from teachers. It’s time we hand over the mic to trans kids themselves. And this book does that so beautifully. It’s a tome full of inspiring resilience and determination. It’s a perfect ‘it gets better’ collection.”
Kirkus Reviews
“Many trans young people will see themselves reflected in these pages…A good recommendation for cisgender adults wishing to understand the experiences of trans youth...A valuable window in the world of trans young people.”

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