Stephanie Brill and Rachel Pepper’s guide for parents of transgender and gender-variant children seeks to fill a gap in both parenting and transgender literature. Building on existing research, as well as the authors’ experiences working with families, the book provides an overview of issues ranging from medical care to negotiating what a child will wear to a formal family event. Brill and Pepper offer a mix of practical suggestions and philosophy to guide and reassure parents at all points in their understanding and acceptance of their child.
Starting with clear discussion of relevant terminology, the book speaks to a broad range of issues. The emphasis is always on love: parents must navigate a course that will allow them to support and unconditionally love their child. The book then offers concrete solutions to common problems (for example, recommending that parents role-play answering questions from strangers). To address specific challenges, the authors include sample letters for parents to revise, such as a physician’s recognition of the child’s gender status, which the child can carry to show to authorities. Quotations from parents, children, and community members provide real-life perspectives.
Chapters on educational and medical issues also serve as a guide for professionals working with transgendered or gender-variant children. Rather than recommending a single path, the authors acknowledge the different challenges faced by transgender children and gender-variant children. The authors recognize that all families must start where they’re at, but offer practical tools for advocating and parenting.
The Transgender Child is a must for all public libraries.
Reviewed by, Kelly McElroy
School of Library Archival and Information Studies
University of British Columbia