Many of us grew up assuming gender was binary: you were born a girl and grew into a woman or you were born a boy and grew into a man. But gender, it turns out, is a more nuanced experience for many people. If you’d like to learn more about gender fluidity, see below for some books on this topic.
Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family, Amy Ellis Nutt
Identical twin boys Jonas and Wyatt looked alike on the outside, but from an early age, they proved to be very different inside. Jonas was comfortable as a boy, but Wyatt was drawn to all things girlish. As Wyatt grew, feelings of identifying as female became undeniable, until ultimately as a teenager Wyatt was able to transition to Nicole. The entire family evolved as a result of the journey, especially the conservative father who initially resisted his child’s nonconformity but wound up becoming Nicole’s strongest public advocate.
As Nature Made Him: The Boy Who Was Raised as a Girl, John Colapinto
Shortly after identical twins Bruce and Brian were born in 1967, a circumcision accident injured Bruce to the extent that doctors recommended he be raised as a girl. But in spite of medical and psychological intervention, the child renamed Brenda never felt like a girl, and as she entered her teens, her discomfort grew unbearable. Finally at fifteen, Brenda was allowed to transition back to male and lived the rest of his life as David. The case became an example of how much can go wrong when a person is forced to accept a role incompatible with their feelings of self.
Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out by Susan Kuklind
In the words of six transgender or gender neutral young adults, author and photographer Kuklind puts a personal face on gender fluidity. These teens explain in their own words what it was like growing up feeling at odds with their assigned gender and how they choose to live now. The author’s photographs highlight the uniqueness of each individual.
There are also many new memoirs on this topic, including:
Some Assembly Required: the Not-so-Secret life of a Transgendered Teen, by Arin Andrews
Stuck in the Middle with You: A Memoir of Parenting in Three Genders, by Jennifer Finney Boylan
Being Jazz: My Life as a (Transgender) Teen, by Jazz Jennings
Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love and So Much More, by Janet Mock
Do you have other books to recommend on this topic? Add them in the comments field.
-Suzanne Summers LaPierre, City of Fairfax Regional Library