Some “boys” will only wear dresses; some “girls” refuse to wear dresses at all. In both cases, as Ann Travers shows in this fascinating account of transgender kids, these are often more than just wardrobe choices. From very early ages these children find themselves to be different from the sex category that was assigned to them at birth. How they make their voices heard—to their parents and friends, in schools, in public spaces, and through the courts—is the focus of this remarkable and groundbreaking book.
Based on over five years of research in Canad and the U.S., and interviews with trans kids and their parents, The Trans Generation offers a rare look into what it is like to grow up as a transgender child. Illuminating the day-to-day realities of trans kids who regularly experience crisis as a result of the many ways traditional sex categories regulate their lives, Travers offers an essential and important new understanding of childhood.
About the author
Ann Travers is an associate professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Simon Fraser University. They are the author of Writing the Public in Cyberspace: Redefining Inclusion on the Net and Transgender Athletes in Competitive Sport. They live in Vancouver.
"Compassionate and pragmatic, this is the book about trans kids that every parent, teacher, coach, caregiver, and policymaker needs to read!" - Heath Fogg Davis, Author of Beyond Trans: Does Gender Matter?
"This volume stands as an important, readable survey and is likely to become a key text in transgender studies." Winnipeg Free Press
“By focusing on varying degrees of precariousness in children’s lives—primarily in school and in relation to pathologizing medical discourses and practices—Ann Travers makes a much-needed contribution to the scholarship on trans subjectivity generally, and trans youth in particular….a pleasure to read.” — Jane Ward, Author of Not Gay: Sex Between Straight White Men
“The Trans Generation (A Book Review)“The Trans Generation: How Trans Kids (and Their Parents) Are Creating a Gender Revolution”
by Ann Travers
Published by University of Regina Press
Reviewed by Ben Charles
C$24.95 ISBN: 9780889775787
“The Trans Generation: How Trans Kids (and Their Parents) Are Creating a Gender Revolution”, written by Ann Travers and published by the University of Regina Press is an honest and enlightening review of the trials and struggles of growing up transgender in North America. The experiences contained in this book were gathered by a series of interviews with transgender kids and youth (individuals from a wide variety of ages, from 4 to 18) and the parents of trans kids in Canada and the United States between the years of 2012 to 2017.
As someone who is not transgender and knows relatively little about experiences of transgender people, I found this book to be an incredibly informative experience. This was in no small part due to Travers’ insane attention to detail and the obvious meticulousness that they poured into their research. Literature that is academic in nature has a tendency to be a little dry, somewhat hard to follow and littered with jargon. However, I did not find this to be the case with Travers’ work. In fact, I found it to be passionate, moving, and an intelligent review of the human condition. It is clear that Travers does not view their work as “a deliverable” or is driven by the self-back-patting ego that plagues the academic climate. The quality and quantity of the research, the commitment to ensure that the participants’ experiences are portrayed in an accurate manner, and the conviction embedded in the writing were all indicators to me of an author taking their work seriously, and with a great amount of respect.
The interviews contained in the book are dispersed and then utilized to provide a discourse on the experiences of either growing up transgender or raising a transgender child in five basic categories, these include transgender kids, schools, spaces, parents, and supportive healthcare. Of course, the information within is dissected and categorized further, and the result is a much-needed read for anyone who would like to understand the experiences of trans youth and the impact of socially enforced gender norms. Personally, I found Travers’ research on transgender youth in sport to be the most interesting segment of the book but can say with confidence that it is far more accessible than I had thought it would be. There is something for everyone to learn from and to be enthralled by.
I can admit that I will never fully understand the experiences of transgender people, and I realize that their challenges are significantly different from my own. However, thanks to all of the participants of this book, and to Travers excellent work representing them, I am much more educated on the topic than I have ever been before. Where I was expecting academic gender studies buzzwords, I found a gripping and seriously clever review of gender norms, politics, mental health, and much more. I highly recommend this book to anyone who would like to understand gender better but does not know where to even begin.
THIS BOOK IS AVAILABLE AT YOUR LOCAL BOOKSTORE OR FROM WWW.SKBOOKS.COM