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Transitions Of The Heart

by Alexandra Townsend
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Sunday May 13, 2012
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The world needs more books about transgenderism in general, but it also needs more books like "Transitions of the Heart". This book, edited by Rachel Pepper, is a collection of uplifting stories told by the mothers of transgender children. These stories convey all that you would expect them to. The mothers talk about loving their children no matter what and supporting them in the face of transphobic schools, children, and the whole wider world. However, although these parts of the stories can’t help but bring a tear to one’s eye, they are not the greatest strength of "Transitions."

The best aspect of this book is a humanizing one: doubt. Although these mothers dearly love their children they reveal time and again that they are not perfect. Many of the mothers confess that they spent years ignoring the signs that their child was transgender, that they hoped it was a phase, or even had breakdowns when their child first came out. These mothers often struggled with doubt for years, or even continue to, because they weren’t sure if it was truly healthy to "allow" their children to be openly transgender. The road of parenting a transgender child is a very rocky one. The doubts these mothers show give parents everywhere permission to have their own fears and doubts, and even to fail a bit at first.

"Transitions" comes from a nicely diverse set of voices. You will read about the experiences of mothers from numerous different ethnic and religious backgrounds, mothers of both young and fully-grown children, single mothers, adoptive mothers, and lesbian mothers. In fact the only things really missing are voices of transgender mothers and any sort of fathers. This may be forgivable though, as it’s surely difficult to come across a transgender mother of a transgender child and, while hearing from fathers would be nice, this book is clearly intended to focus on the perspective of mothers.

Every parent of a gender-variant child should read this book. "Transitions of the Heart" can give them hope and understanding when they feel alone and the strength to be the kind, supportive parents their children need.

"Transitions of the Heart"
Edited by Rachel Pepper
Cleis Press
$16.95

by Rachel Pepper

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