The Trans Generation

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 30 Oct 2018

Member Reviews

I thought this was a very well written book, and well researched. My sister is transgender, and I admit, I really hoped to get more out of this book than I did. Unfortunately, it was not the book for me, and it was not exactly what I expected. That said, I think it is an important topic, and it was sensitively approached.
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I’ve read this book close to a year ago but it has stuck with me.
Transgender children are more and more frequent (which is a good thing!) and thankfully they’re also being helped more, generally speaking. It was great being able to see how their life looked like from their and their parents’ points of view. It’s sad that their life is so hard, but this book and others like it give me hope that things will change for the better.
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Travers’ book allows the stories of trans* youth to be told, along with the challenges that appear through their life. The book is a real stand out from other similarly categorised books as Travers spent many years interviewing trans* youth and their parents from a large variety of backgrounds including age, race and socioeconomic class. 

Children of today’s world may be raised in an environment more inclusive of gender non-conformity, however they still face a large number of struggles. By conversing with these children Travers’ has discussed young trans* children, schooling, bathrooms and gendered spaces, parents, non binary genders and inclusive healthcare.

The Trans Generation is an extensive discussion on the ups and downs of trans* children written by an older trans* person. This allows for multiple viewpoints on different topics and an outlook of how much society has progressed over the years.
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Interesting, informative read. It describes well the struggles both kids and parents must face in todays world.
I did enjoy it in a way and found it useful.
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When I wrote my BA thesis on a fictional genderfluid teen character last year, I looked into academic literature and all kinds of articles on transgender children. Maybe I was just looking in the wrong place, but I found that most of these articles were written /about/ transgender children, but from an outsider's perspective. In that regard, this book was refreshing for two reasons: it has a nonbinary author, and also many actual quotes from transgender and nonbinary teens and their parents. Most importantly, it lets the children use their own words to define their own identities. (One trans kid actually has a nonbinary parent and it's awesome!)

The other reason this book was incredibly refreshing is that it was published in 2018, when most other literature I found was published at least 10 years ago. The Trans Generation is so recent that it has a section on the first 10 months of Trump presidency, and how it changed the situation for trans people in the US.

This book focuses entirely on US and Canada, but it still does its best to interview diverse children of various identities and races. The author is white, but they consciously address their white privilege and talk about how they made steps to make sure their writing is inclusive.

Overall, I found this a really helpful overview on the situation of trans people in the US and Canada (as someone who doesn't live in either place). I also really appreciated the quotes from the actual trans children, and their self-definitions which were really interesting to read. Wish I was that confident in myself when I was 15 or younger.

I especially appreciated that there are sections that deal specifically with nonbinary people and how the issues they face are often different from binary trans people.
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I wanted to thank NetGalley for giving me this book to review. I also, want to thank the publisher for giving me a chance to read this book. As a person in the transgender community, The Trans Generation was extremely relatable and eye-opening. I feel like this is a book that needs to be more widely spread in order to educate people. The terminology in this book is spot on. Although, this book was not exactly what I thought it would be. That’s not to say it’s not a good read, because it is. 

I would recommend this book to people interested in transition stories. It showcased several stories of kids but in a more technical light. I can say this is a good read for anyone wanting to learn more about transgender people. It’s not the easy book to read, however, it was educational in a sense that I could relate to what was being said.
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A completely fascinating and important piece of work. Travers handles the topic exceptionally. Will be telling everyone to read.
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Knowing nothing about "the Trans generation" and what it might be like growing up different in the current times, I wanted to read this to understand more and it certainly delivered. The book is educational and at times haunting, but I wouldn't say it is an "easy read". The stories are at times heart breaking and the book definitely makes you think about the fight these young people have to be accepted as how they choose/need to live. The fact that some identify as "other" from a very young age indeed, makes you think about how we gender our children - the whole pink/blue thing. 

Given how important school is in setting up a child to earn a good living, it is a difficult time to be fighting for your identity. The bullying and appalling behaviour by adults and children in these stories will make you angry. And I think that is a good thing - maybe if more people tried to understand why these young people need to be helped and protected (however that is manifest) the world would be more sympathetic. I can't pretend to be enlightened after reading one book, but it has given me plenty to think about in the future when I see stories of trans people in the media.

I was given a free copy of this book by Netgalley in return for an honest review.
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This is without a doubt the biggest load of horse shit I've ever read, and this includes the entire trans movement because that's exactly what it is: a passing fancy for parents not to raise their kids properly and to bitch about society in general. I mean, girls who wholeheartedly believe they should be in male bodies? Bull. What if I were to punch a girl who wants to be a boy? I'd be put to the stake in this fickle and fragile world where you practically need to restrain yourself from thinking too loud in fear of offending some poofer because he, she, or it believes free speech excludes them at being present to hear an argument and to automatically take up an issue with it. Bisexuality and gay I can understand, but all this nonsense about gender designation etc.?

I rate it one star because someone had to design the cover for this book if they still wanted to keep their job.
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This book expertly navigates the trans conversation through a lens that we don't see often- the eyes of children and adolescents who identify as trans, nonbinary, or have gone through a gender transition.  I live in Western Pennsylvania so most of the time this conversation is shut down a reference to religion or children not being old enough to think for themselves.  This book was a refreshing change of pace.

The children and parents interviewed for the book have different opinions and perspectives.  Some of the children had loving, supportive family members during their transitions, while others faced intense humiliation and shame.  

Each person has had a unique journey and there are not a lot of neat, black and white answers to the questions society is asking.  Should we have gendered bathrooms or non-gendered? Can someone identify as trans and nonbinary? How should schools respond to children and adolescents who are going through a transition?

Ann does a phenomenal job covering many different issues that children and teens who are trans deal with.  Highly recommend this book if you are interested in doing more research on this topic.

I received a copy of "The Trans Generation" from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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I got an ARC of this book.

I expected this to be more lighthearted, feel good, memoir-ish. Instead it was very much a sociological and feminist view of transitioning for people under 18. It was academic and at times inaccessible for a great deal of the people that would want to read this book. I had difficulties focusing as it went so far beyond the kids into theory land that the kids felt more like props than real people. This felt especially true when it was mentioned that a kid may or may not be alive anymore, but Travers went on to say that the child may have just changed their email address despite the sentences before explaining in graphic detail the history of cutting and how deep the last cut was. This feeling of disassociation from the children and parents only continued from that point. Considering two thirds of the description is about the children, I would expect at least a third of this book to be about them. Instead I felt like the children really didn't have a voice, only select quotes were used and at times it was difficult to tell that someone besides Travers was speaking (which may have been just a formatting issue with my copy of the book). 

I started my social transition young. I started T at 15. I am binary. I should have been able to connect with the kids. I have been through so many of the same experiences from sexual assault to dropping out of high school because of bullying. I had parents that ranged in their support and I had a step-parent that seemed to be from hell that came around with time. This book sound have been able to be something I could sink my teeth into, my issue is this was not about the kids or even really the parents. It was about one person trying to make sense of the nonsense that these families face using inaccessible gender theories. I recognized so many of the citations because they are theorists that I used in my thesis in college where I was studying gender theories. Someone without that background may find very little help in this book. I read multiple sections out loud to my grandmother, also an avid reader but with only an elementary school education, she accused me of making up words to justify not focusing on the book. My grandmother has been one of my biggest allies in my transition down to being at my bedside after surgery (though she did deny me that cheeseburger I wanted after top surgery. I did get my revenge on her years later by denying her a cheeseburger after a surgery!).

If you are looking for a VERY academic look at social and medical transitions that borders on saying that binaries are bad, then this is perfect. Travers never does cross the line to erase binaries and in the conclusion is able to pull everything back with a single line about making sure that people who are binary are not lost in all the efforts to create something better than what currently is. Her being able to push for better while still allowing for binary is impressive and very rare. Many theorists, especially those who understand gender-queer identities, go as far to say that we need to get rid of the binary which is something that would be disastrous for people that are binary like many to most cis people and a great deal of trans people too. I am all for all genders being respected and given space. I will be one of the first ones fighting for a trans kid no matter if they are binary or not. The issue I always find is there are two groups the binary trans people who judge people for not being "trans enough" (i.e. being binary enough or passing in the "correct" way) or the gender queer people who judge others for not being "trans enough" (i.e. being binary at all or passing "too much"). Travers was able to be that middle ground in a way that call for all people to have support no matter their gender or how well they passed. 

Travers did do something that is not often done. Parents and children were both given a voice. It gave a unique perspective to the needs and desires of both. It isn't often that the parents and the kids speak together. It allowed a deeper look into the relationships and what really is needed for trans kids beyond what they know they need. However this was stunted by the disassociation with the kids and the often inaccessible language. Many parents who could benefit for this book will find themselves even more lost than they were before. Speaking of just the mothers in this book, there would have been many that wouldn't have been able to gain much from it. 

So while I did enjoy the point that this book made and the many comparisons of the US and Canada, it is not a book I would blanket recommend to people. I would save this for my friends and colleagues that enjoyed books with, as my grandmother would say, "made up words" in it. This is not a casual book to read before bed. This is a book you will want a notebook for. One that will lead you down a path of academic research further into the gender world. It is not by far a bad book, but it is one that requires a higher read level than is accessible for most of the people who need to be able to access it. To follow suite with how this book was written, here are some quotes to sum up my main issue:
“If I do not speak in a language that can be understood there is little chance for a dialogue.” 
― bell hooks

“There will be no mass-based feminist movement as long as feminist ideas are understood only by a well-educated few.” 
― bell hooks, Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center
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I received a free review copy of this book from Netgalley.
Librarian: I won't be recommending this for my library to purchase. It's just too technical. However, I will be recommending it as a resource for other people in my field who want to learn about this issue.
Reader: Interesting, though as I said it's highly technical. I mean obviously, it's an academic title, so if you're interested in this issue from that perspective, then this is a good title. If you're interested in a more personable approach, this may not be the book for you. There are other books that are better for casual reading, but if you want one that's more research heavy, than this is a good choice.
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Can I please insist on how important this book is ? This book not only discusses the trauma and psychological hardships trans kids are going through, but also shows how far we are from a society that defines people not by gender or some fixed norms and stereotypes. We live in a world that tends to exerce control over its people by putting them in neat little squares.

Much would have been different for these kids if they have been given the chance by society to live their own way and define themselves and question their identities in order to tread through life like we all do. Instead they're subjected to segregation from public bathrooms, physical activities, and agressions from their schoolmates and school staff, with the occasional exception. I honestly had no idea what trans and nonbinary kids, along with their parents, were surviving. This book also made a super important point to me: the way social 'hierarchy' is built, our very definition of what a child is and what an adult is, is inaccurate, or rather, too black and white.

Plenty of adults are immature, and plenty of children know exactly what they're doing, and exactly who they are. The classification of children as unwise in everything makes people believe that anything they don't like in children is a 'phase' and must be 'corrected'. It overlooks their right to be themselves and define themselves.

Conclusion: Trans kids have been through a lot, and their entire lives are subjected to scrutiny and prejudice from others. The stories of trans kids in this book make it abundantly clear that the first step towards making life easier for them is our responsibility.
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The Trans Generation is an excellent resource for anyone looking to educated themselves about the trans community. It is written by a trans person, with a lot of research done, interviewing many people and families.  It provides clear examples of the obstacles faced by trans people, especially children. It is not meant to be a fun or easy read, but rather informational.
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As a parent of a trans young adult who is just beginning to face the hurdles that life in America as a trans person currently means, this book was so important for me to read. While I considered our family to be supportive and  loving, I realized there is so much more we can do. My child has continually told me how lucky she is to be the white child of a middle class family, especially one with good health care coverage, and after reading this book, my heart breaks for those children who come out amidst fighting cultural and economic battles as well. The book is a challenge to read, often so full of data that it feels more like a textbook than a book. But, the effort is worth it to help support our children and being armed with facts and information is essential to changing the discriminatory paradigms in the US right now.  I do wish that the narratives of real individuals had been “more”—longer, more detailed and more of them. These personal stories will be how we connect, support and hopefully make change in our society. Reading this book is important!
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I received an ARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. This book has content warnings for discussions of transphobia/queerphobia, deadnaming, misgendering, bullying, abuse, and suicide, and for a graphic description of a trans child dying by suicide.

I usually get incredibly frustrated while reading academic work on trans people because most of the time it's littered with binarism and outdated/offensive terminology, so this book was a breath of fresh air for me because it was pretty spot-on for most of the book. Travers, who identifies as trans, did their research and their best to ensure that this book was as respectful toward trans kids as possible, and it was really effective. Overall, this book is very good and one that most trans people like myself will find reflective of their own experiences to some degree.

My favorite thing about this book is that it not only was respectful towards trans people, but it is also intersectional -- Travers goes into deep discussions about how race, class, disability, and sexuality all play a part in a trans person's experiences and acknowledges that these experiences are going to vary widely because of these factors. For instance, during one moment Travers tells a young trans person that things will get better as they grow up and go to college and move on with their life, and then later Travers realizes that the assumption they made that college is a certainty in that person's future was incredibly classist and they felt guilty for how they had phrased that conversation. The trans kids and teens who were interviewed have a variety of gender identities and backgrounds, and the mix of different perspectives from these kids and teens were a huge boon to the book and to our understanding of trans people's childhoods.

My largest issue with the book was how Travers approached being trans as being "disabled" by society -- in a sense, I get where they were coming from. They very eloquently discussed the medical vs. social models of disability and how with the social model it is society that creates barriers rather than the disability itself, and Travers expanded this to society "disabling" trans people as well. I get what they were going for here and agree that that is the essential effect that society has on trans people, however as a disabled person I felt that the terminology around trans people being "disabled" was co-opted in a way that tries to equate transness and being disabled when these are two very different things, and I don't feel that an abled trans person should really be describing themselves as "disabled" when they mean that society is creating barriers that cause them to be discriminated against. I felt that better terminology could have been used here. I did, however, appreciate the good understanding of how ableism comes into play regarding trans disabled people, and felt that that added to the larger discussion as a whole.

Aside from that larger terminology issue, this book adds a lot of value to discourse about the lives of trans kids and was a really thoughtful and insightful read. Though I disagree with some of the definitions of terms in the glossary, this book in general is a really great overview of how intersectionality affects trans youth and how trans youth are growing up in this generation. It's a great read, and I definitely recommend it.

Final rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
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Thorough, thoughtful, accessible, and compassionate book about trans youth. This is highly readable and highly relevant.
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This was a pretty strong read for someone who wants to develop a better understanding of the complexities of the trans community. It's a very intersectional look at issues of gender and race, while it also looks at the struggles that trans youth face. My only complaint with this book was that it often felt disorganized. In the beginning half of the book, for example, it switched from the struggles of trans teens and their own words to a more critical look at race with no transition. I imagine that would be hard for a lot of readers because it was so jarring; the tone shifted almost immediately and that's very unexpected within one text.
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This is a clever, academic look at the lives of transgender children and young adults in the US and Canada. Although it is a very academic work Travers imbues her writing with compassion and empathy for her subjects. She explores non-binary perspectives and looks forward to a world where the labels of boy and girl are less limiting and children, and adults, have greater freedom to smash stereotypes. This is a truly inter sectional work, Travers shows how being trans is just one aspect of a person and how it relates to their race, class, sexuality and all the other labels you can imagine. 
The only thing I found disappointing about this book was that the results of all her extensive interviewing were given second-hand. I had been hoping to read the words of the people themselves - the children, young adults and their parents,. There were some beautiful extracts from the interviews - for example a woman taking her trans child across a state border, fearing for her child but knowing that her own privilege would mean that she would be allowed - but her child would never be able to do this by themselves. More stories like this would have made the book more memorable and, for me, more impactful. 
Thank you to Netgalley and the Publisher for the galley of this book in return for an honest review.
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The Trans Generation is one of those books that I found fascinating, but hard to read - which is a shame, because there is some great information in it, along with some valuable insights and wonderful observations.

Early reviewers called it passionate, smart, sensitive, compassionate, pragmatic, heartfelt, and honest, none of which I can disagree with. It is the "pleasure to read" accolades where I struggle. In choosing such a clinical style, presenting so much in what reads like case notes from a counseling session, Ann Travers makes it hard to connect with these kids and really identify with them. Their stories generate sympathy, and trigger some very dark emotions (and, in my case, memories), but at a distance. I struggled through it because those journeys are important to me, but I am not so sure the casual reader would stick with it.

What I found most fascinating about it was the dual focus on the lives and experiences of the children, and the barriers they face in society. Ann comes down hard on a largely broken system that does not know how to support these kids, and which often has no interest in doing so. We are exposed to a culture of racism and sexism, of homophobia and transphobia, that put these kids at a disadvantage from day one. All of that is important because, as the book argues, trans kids do not exist in a vacuum, and neither do their struggles. One issue feeds another, compounds another, and leads back into a cycle of barriers - which are dress-codes and bathrooms as often as they are rules and legislation.
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