For our last post celebrating Pride Month, Magination Press presents an interview with the co-authors of TRANS+: Love, Sex, Romance, and Being You. Read about why and how they wrote TRANS+ and their advice for supporting trans+ kids. Magination Press: What inspired you to write TRANS+? Kathryn Gonzales: No book like TRANS+ had ever been written. I could have certainly used a book like TRANS+ growing up, and I knew that the transgender and nonbinary youth I work with at Out Youth needed it too! Even when the writing process got tough, I knew I had to keep going because this book was going to help a lot of youth feel less alone. Karen Rayne: When Magination Press invited me to write a book about love, sex, and romance for teens who identify as a girl, my first question was whether they had a book for trans and nonbinary youth also planned. They didn’t - until I asked that question and they were immediately enthusiastic. I was lucky enough to find Kathryn as a co-author for this book that desperately needed to be written. MP: What is TRANS+ about? KG: TRANS+ is a growing-up guide for transgender and nonbinary youth and all the people who love them. We cover a variety of topics like “What is gender?” and coming out to puberty, transition, dating, and relationships! It’s important to understand that TRANS+ is meant to be a starting point for a reader’s journey and we link to many resources in the book and on our website at thetransbook.com. MP: TRANS+ is such a comprehensive guide. How did you decide what to include? KG: Even though I am transgender, I didn’t for a moment think I knew what transgender and nonbinary youth growing up in the 21st century wanted to know about. That’s why we sent out a survey to transgender and nonbinary youth all over the country to get their input. A special thanks, of course, to my literal in-house focus group of youth at Out Youth! KR: We asked trans and nonbinary youth what they have questions about - and what they wish they had known at the beginning of their journey into their identity. MP: What have reader responses been? KG: I don’t think we’ve received a single response from a reader that wasn’t about their deep and heartfelt gratitude that Karen and I wrote TRANS+. Trans and nonbinary youth tell us it’s exactly what they needed, trans and nonbinary adults tell us it’s exactly what they wished they’d had growing up, and parents tell us that it’s helped them communicate with their youth about being trans, transition, and mental health. MP: You wrote TRANS+ as a team. What was your process working together? KG: Our writing partnership worked so well because we each took charge of writing chapters about topics in which we were experts. Karen, being a world-renowned sex educator, wrote all of the content about sex, sexual health and reproduction, and healthy relationships. I, asRead More
About Kathryn Gonzales, MBAKathryn Gonzales, MBA, is the Operations & Programs Director at Out Youth, a co-chair of the steering committee for the Central Texas Transgender Health Coalition, the chair of the board of directors at HavenCon, and a commissioner on the City of Austin's LGBTQ Quality of Life Commission. She has been working in the nonprofit sector, specifically youth advocacy and organizing, for 15 years. She has facilitated state-wide youth lobby days, organized state-wide conferences on LGBTQIA+ youth leadership and empowerment, and created the Queer Youth Media Project during her time at the Austin Gay & Lesbian International Film Festival.
Understanding gender identity requires having the words to accurately describe it. Kathryn Gonzales and Dr. Karen Rayne included a comprehensive dictionary in their Magination Press book, TRANS+: Love, Sex, Romance, and Being You, a comprehensive, uncensored guide for teens who are transgender, nonbinary, gender-nonconforming, gender-fluid, or questioning their gender identity, and for cis-allies. This excerpt from the book’s dictionary provides some of the language you and your teen will need to understand and talk about gender. Advocate—A person who is cisgender and works and campaigns for the rights of trans, gender nonconforming, and genderqueer people and others who identify as a gender minority. Agender—A person who identifies as not having a gender; or, being without a gender. Ally—A person who is cisgender and who works with and campaigns in alliance (note the connection to the word ally) with people who area in the gender minority. Androgynous—A balance of the feminine and the masculine that includes aspects of both. Bigender—A person who identifies as having two genders. Biological Sex—A complex group of physical factors that are assigned to male, female, and intersex. The preferred term for this is “sex assigned at birth” because many people consider “biological sex” to be an offensive term at this point. Cisgender—A person whose sex assigned at birth (typically “female” or “male”) is in alignment with their gender identity. Cissexism—Treating cisgender people as though they have more rights and moral authority compared to people who are gender minorities. Cis normative—The assumption that cisgender people are normal and those who are gender minorities are not. Coming out—Commonly understood as the first time someone discloses their gender identity or sexual orientation, coming out is actually something that gender and sexual minorities do throughout their lifetimes. Gender—A social construct that is often assumed to be aligned with aspects of biological sex, but that is far broader than biological sex. Different cultures have understood gender in dramatically different ways, with some incorporating an understanding of three or more genders. Gender binary—A categorization of gender as being either male or female rather than a spectrum. This is a harmful understanding of gender for all people because it categorizes them in ways that they might not feel comfortable with. Gender confirmation surgery—A group of medical procedures that changes a person’s body to bring it into alignment with their gender identity. Also called gender reassignment surgery; most people prefer the language gender confirmation surgery. Gender dysphoria—When a person’s gender identity is in direct conflict with their physical body, causing mild to extreme psychological distress. “Gender dysphoria” is a classification of mental disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV (DSM IV). Gender expression—The way(s) that a person shares information about their gender through their hair, makeup, clothes, and other external aspects of their appearance that they have control over. Gender fluid—A person who is able to incorporate all genders into their identity and to flow easily between them. Gender identity—A person’s internal sense of how they relate or doRead More