Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Pre-order Book!
Pre-order Book!
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Transitions of the Heart
BOOK REVIEW
by Kate Sosin, Windy City Times
2012-07-18

This article shared 4043 times since Wed Jul 18, 2012
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


by Rachel Pepper. $16.59; Cleis Books; 203 pages

There is a moment in Rachel Pepper's anthology, Transitions of the Heart: stories of love, struggle and acceptance by mothers of transgender and gender variant children, when Geraldine Boothe, unable to sleep, sits down and writes a letter to her transgender 8-year-old about her deepest fears.

Boothe, a lesbian, faults herself for having a transgender child, and she simultaneously worries she has suppressed her child's masculinity.

It is a heart-rending moment in a collection of 32 stories that largely focus on the sense of loss mothers experience when their children come out as trans.

Transitions of the Heart is an unprecedented success by virtue of existence; it is one of a handful of books that speak to parents of transgender and gender-nonconforming children. (Pepper co-authored another with Stephanie Brill, The Transgender Child: A Handbook for Families and Professionals.)

The book, which Cleis Press recently released, is a kind of Chicken Soup for the Soul for parents of trans kids. It is a collection of first-person essays about how mothers reacted when their kids came out. Overwhelmingly, the stories are wrought with fear, anxiety and remorse.

Nancy Moore, mother of a transgender boy, writes about saving pictures and a voice recording of her child before he transitioned because she "doesn't want to lose evidence that Sean existed in another form." Ingrid Charbonneau admits that after two years, she still struggles with using correct pronouns for her transgender son. The author of an anonymous essay writes of the difficulty accepting her transgender child due to her Southern Baptist Upbringing. Jennifer Kahler still questions if allowing her transgender daughter to live as a girl is the right thing for her.

For transgender and gender non-conforming people, this may be a difficult read. It is hard not to wonder if some of the children portrayed won't struggle with being described with old names and pronouns, to having their bodies and surgeries described publicly and to reading about the profound loss their mothers felt when they came out as trans. Transgender readers may also take personal exception here. While ultimately healing, some stories border on unintentionally injurious at times.

Still, such stories and feelings are commonplace in transgender circles, and books that speak to the experiences of parents of trans kids are not. "Transitions of the Heart" explores the reactions of mothers from many walks of life, with children that range from toddlers to older adults. Some of the writers are simply grappling with how to give their transgender children as much freedom as possible, while others are still wishing away the burden.

Most of the stories, while poignant, are not particularly well-written. This is what makes them feel so relatable and candid. In this sense, the anthology feels like less a literary masterpiece than it does a series of coffee dates with other mothers of trans kids. It is essentially a support group condensed into a book, an important contribution, especially for parents who live in areas without relevant support groups or who have not yet worked up the nerve to attend them.

There are a few literary gems scattered throughout. Boothe's "To My Child" and Mary Doyle's "Hatch! Mister Sister" stand out.

A future anthology of this sort could benefit from more stories about non-binary children, as nearly all of the subjects seem to identify as male or female, bordering on a kind of essentialist overall image about what transgender is. Still, the diversity of experiences represented in the anthology makes for a relatively complicated look at families with trans kids.

Pepper and the mothers in this book have created what will certainly be an invaluable resource for countless parents and future parents. In that, perhaps they have made the world just a little bit better for transgender people themselves.

Disclaimer: Pepper occasionally contributes to Windy City Times.


This article shared 4043 times since Wed Jul 18, 2012
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Jonathan Ned Katz talks new book, LGBTQ history, state of the world 2021-05-05
- Author, historian and activist Jonathan Ned Katz will come out with a new book, The Daring Life and Dangerous Times of Eve Adams, on May 18. The biography is centered on the life of Adams, a Jewish lesbian immigrant, and also ...


Gay News

BOOKS Lambda Literary Awards to take place June 1 2021-05-03
- The 33rd Annual Lambda Literary Awards—which celebrates LGBTQ+ books and authors—will take place Tuesday, June 1, 6-8 p.m. Typically held in person in New York City, this year's Lammys will be presented virtually for the first ...


Gay News

1971: The Chicago Daughters of Bilitis 2021-05-03
Excerpt from Chicago After Stonewall: Gay Lib to Gay Life - An excerpt from Chicago After Stonewall: Gay Lib to Gay Life, a new book by St Sukie de la Croix. You can buy the book from Amazon.com, all good bookstores, and for a signed copy, rattlinggoodyarns.com ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ 'Master of None,' children's book, Kristen Stewart, expectant couple 2021-05-02
- Master of None is coming back—but this time, the series will focus on Lena Waithe's character, Denise, out.com noted. Master of None, created by Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang for Netflix, starred Ansari for the first ...


Gay News

1970: The Police Murder of James Clay 2021-04-26
Excerpt from Chicago After Stonewall: Gay Lib to Gay Life - " … One month after Finnie's Ball, a Chicago Defender headline read, 'Female Impersonator killed by cop in W. Side street brawl.' The Chicago Sun-Times headline read, 'Man slain fleeing police in bizarre W. Side clash.' ...


Gay News

'Documenting LGBTQ+ Histories' virtual talk on May 16 2021-04-22
- On Sunday, May 16, at 11 a.m. CT, Women and Children First will host the virtual panel discussion "Documenting LGBTQ+ Histories" on its Crowdcast Channel. Centering on the release of Diana Souhami's new book No Modernism ...


Gay News

Joan E. Biren aka JEB talks Portraits of Lesbians book journey and re-issue 2021-04-21
- In an era where lesbian visibility was almost non-existent, activist and photographer Joan E. Biren (or as she is also known, "JEB") self-financed and self-published a photography book called Eye To Eye: Portraits of Lesbians. Biren's ...


Gay News

Bechdel, Rannells among upcoming CHF guests 2021-04-21
- The Chicago Humanities Festival (CHF) announced its line-up of virtual programs with award-winning writers, scholars and cultural icons in late April and throughout May. Among LGBTQ participants/guests will be Fun ...


Gay News

BOOKS Chicago After Stonewall available May 11 2021-04-19
- Chicago After Stonewall: Gay Lib to Gay Life—a detailed account of how LGBTQ's in Carl Sandburg's "City of the Big Shoulders" responded to the Stonewall Riots—will be available May 11. This book pulls together jigsaw pieces ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Brandi Carlile, 'Legendary,' children's book, film festival, Janet Mock 2021-04-18
- Lesbian musician Brandi Carlile memoir, Broken Horses, debuted at number one on The New York Times Best Sellers list, a press release announced. In addition to the hardback book, a very special audiobook edition of the ...


Gay News

Trans, non-binary youth influencers launch book collection with "A Kids Book About" 2021-04-12
--From a press release - Chicago, IL - April 12, 2021 - While many teens took e-learning as an opportunity to level-up their gaming skills, a group of young people chose instead to write a collection of books about their lives. ...


Gay News

Windy City Times publishes book of historical newspaper covers 2021-04-14
- Windy City Times newspaper, founded in 1985, is publishing a limited-edition, four-color book featuring hundreds of covers from its own archives, plus covers from other LGBTQ Chicago media, including Outlines, BLACKlines, En La Vida, Identity and more ...


Gay News

The Amazon Trail, How to Write a Book 2021-04-10
- I'm not giving away any secrets here. Not saying it's simple or that anyone can do it if they send $25.00 to Post Office Box 1,2,3. Nope, it's a personal journey and every story has a story. Here's mine, about the ...


Gay News

Yvonne Zipter's historical novel 'Infraction' out June 1 2021-04-01
- The lesbian historical fiction work Infraction, by Chicagoan Yvonne Zipter, will be out June 1. The publisher is Rattling Good Yarns Press. Set in socially turbulent St. Petersburg, Russia, in 1875, the work follows Marya Zhukova, ...


Gay News

Chella Man talks media endeavors, the fashion world, upcoming book, AAPI visibility 2021-03-31
- The multi-talented 22-year-old, Deaf, genderqueer, transgender, Jewish, AAPI, artist and activist Chella Man has done more in his short life than most people achieve in their lifetimes. This includes a successful YouTube channel; TedX talk, modeling ...


 



Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.