Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out

Beyond Magenta is an incredible look into the minds, lives, and struggles of LGBTQ teens.

 Each chapter profiles a person who has struggled with gender identity, and ultimately is transgender. They were born as one "sex", but identified with the other, and so the gender they were expected to express was not the gender they were comfortable presenting. The chapters are about very different people.

 When I picked up the book I wasn't expecting just what I got. I was expecting the author's narrative on the lives of these people. I was expecting to hear from an outside observer what these kids' lives had been like.

 I was not expecting to hear their stories from the teens themselves.
It was really powerful hearing their stories firsthand. I could really get a sense for who they were, what they had gone through, how they dealt with problems and what they might sound like if I had the chance to talk to them in person. The photographs were an extra glimpse into the teens' minds - the images so clearly showed us how the teens saw themselves. This was incredible.

 While there are still some things I don't quite understand about gender fluidity, overall I feel like my world has exploded. I know so much more about growing up transgender, becoming transsexual, discovering your gender identity, questioning it. I know so much about the difficulties these teens faced, the prejudices they overcame, the judgments they challenged.

 When you don't understand yourself, how will you help other people understand you? It is so very hard, but so worth the effort once you come out on the other side as simply "yourself."

 Those wanting to understand gender identity, or those who are struggling with their own gender and sexuality would greatly benefit from reading this book.

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