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Beyond Magenta
Cover of Beyond Magenta
Beyond Magenta
Transgender Teens Speak Out
Borrow

A 2015 Stonewall Honor Book. A groundbreaking work of LGBT literature takes an honest look at the life, love, and struggles of transgender teens. Author and photographer Susan Kuklin met and interviewed six transgender or gender-neutral young adults and used her considerable skills to represent them thoughtfully and respectfully before, during, and after their personal acknowledgment of gender preference. Portraits, family photographs, and candid images grace the pages, augmenting the emotional and physical journey each youth has taken. Each honest discussion and disclosure, whether joyful or heartbreaking, is completely different from the other because of family dynamics, living situations, gender, and the transition these teens make in recognition of their true selves.

A 2015 Stonewall Honor Book. A groundbreaking work of LGBT literature takes an honest look at the life, love, and struggles of transgender teens. Author and photographer Susan Kuklin met and interviewed six transgender or gender-neutral young adults and used her considerable skills to represent them thoughtfully and respectfully before, during, and after their personal acknowledgment of gender preference. Portraits, family photographs, and candid images grace the pages, augmenting the emotional and physical journey each youth has taken. Each honest discussion and disclosure, whether joyful or heartbreaking, is completely different from the other because of family dynamics, living situations, gender, and the transition these teens make in recognition of their true selves.

Available formats-
  • OverDrive Read
Languages:-
Copies-
  • Available:
    1
  • Library copies:
    1
Levels-
  • ATOS:
    4.7
  • Lexile:
    600
  • Interest Level:
    UG
  • Text Difficulty:
    2 - 3

Recommended for you

 
Awards-
About the Author-
  • I was lucky. When I was a kid my family introduced me to art, theater, and books. Dinner talk often centered around the idea of social justice for all. I listened—and wanted to know more. My dream, though, was to become a ballerina or a stage actress. After high school I moved to New York, where I majored in theater at New York University. Becoming a character in a play was so much fun. It was not that I didn't like being me, I was simply curious to know what it was like to be someone else. Then my uncle bought a Leica camera, and my life changed. Together we began exploring the world through the lens of his camera. Somehow the combination of theater arts and photography helped me develop into a nonfiction author. Go figure.

    Beyond Magenta brings together so many things that are deep inside my bones: social justice, photography, and interpreting the lives of diverse human beings. I've learned so much from the wonderful teens in my book. With their help, I continue to grow.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from November 18, 2013
    In a sorely needed resource for teens and, frankly, many adults, author/photographer Kuklin shares first-person narratives from six transgender teens, drawn from interviews she conducted and shaped with input from her subjects. The six “chapters” read like personal histories, with Kuklin interjecting occasional context and helping bridge jumps in time. Readers will gain a real understanding of gender as a spectrum and a societal construct, and of the challenges that even the most well-adjusted, well-supported transgender teens face, from mockery by peers and adults alike to feelings of isolation and discomfort in their own bodies. When readers meet New York City teenager Christina, she has gotten into a knock-down fight on the subway with two girls who were making fun of her; although Kuklin’s color and b&w portraits appear throughout, 19-year-old Mariah requests no photographs of her be used, confessing, “I’m not ready for people to see me.” While Kuklin’s subjects are candid about the difficulties of coming out as transgender to family and friends and the patience that transitioning often requires, their honest, humorous, and painful remarks about their relationships with gender are often downright revelatory. “Because I’m perceived as male, I get male privileges. It weirds me out a little bit,” says Cameron, whose PGP (preferred gender pronoun) is the plural “they.” Nat, who also prefers “they,” is relieved when diagnosed as intersex. “It proved what I had been feeling all along. I was not only emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually both sexes; I was physically both sexes, too. This is who I am.” A q&a section, author notes, glossary, and print and online resources close out the book. But its chief value isn’t just in the stories it reveals but in the way Kuklin captures these teenagers not as idealized exemplars of what it “means” to be transgender but as full, complex, and imperfect human beings. As Kuklin writes, “My subjects’ willingness to brave bullying and condemnation in order to reveal their individual selves makes it impossible to be nothing less than awestruck.” She isn’t wrong. Ages 14–up. Agent: Brianne Johnson, Writers House.

  • School Library Journal

    February 1, 2014

    Gr 9 Up-Extended interviews with six very different transgender, genderqueer, and intersex young adults allow these youth to tell their stories in their own words. Author-interviewer-photographer Kuklin interjects only briefly with questions or explanations, so that the voices of these youth-alternately proud and fearful, defiant and subdued, thoughtful and exuberant-shine through. While the interview subjects do occasionally ramble or become vague, the power of these 12-to-40 page interviews is that readers become immersed in these young adults' voices and experiences. The youth interviewed here do not uniformly share It Gets Better-style happy endings, but their strength is nonetheless inspirational as they face ongoing challenges with families, sexual and romantic relationships, bullies, schools, transitions, mental health, and more. The level of detail about their lives, and the diversity of their identities-including gender, sexuality, ethnicity, religion, and geography-provide a powerful antidote to the isolation and stigma that some transgender youth experience. Photographs of four of the subjects, including some before-and-after transition pictures from childhood and adolescence, help tell their stories and bring their transitions to life. Extensive back matter includes an interview with the clinical director of a health program for LGBTQI youth, a glossary, and books, media, websites, and organizations of interest to transgender youth. While this book's format and subject matter are probably never going to attract a broad audience, there is much here that will resonate with and hearten the kids who need it and will foster understanding and support among those who live and work with transgender teens.-Sarah Stone, San Francisco Public Library

    Copyright 2014 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Kirkus

    Starred review from December 15, 2013
    Kuklin (No Choirboy, 2008, etc.) brings her intimate, compassionate and respectful lens to the stories of six transgender young people. In verbal and, when the subjects have given permission, visual profiles, readers meet transgender teens with a wide range of backgrounds and experiences. They hear from teens who identify fully as female or male, teens who identify as neither male nor female, and one teen who is intersex. Their stories are told largely in the teens' own words, with only a few italicized interpolations to clarify or contextualize a point or to describe a facial expression or inflection readers cannot see or hear. In photographs, readers see Nat, who attends a performing-arts high school in New York City and uses the personal gender pronouns them and they, carrying their violin on New York's High Line. Christina, who attends Fashion Institute of Technology, is pictured shopping for clothes, proudly displaying a school project and hugging her mother. Images of the young people before their transitions are often included but, appropriately, do not serve as focal points for their chapters. Similarly, sex and genitalia are discussed frankly but are rarely what matters most. The collective portrait that emerges from these narratives and pictures is diverse, complex and occasionally self-contradictory--as any true story should be. Informative, revealing, powerful and necessary. (author's note, glossary, resource list) (Nonfiction. 12 & up)

    COPYRIGHT(2013) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Booklist

    Starred review from February 1, 2014
    Grades 7-12 *Starred Review* Kuklin's book profiles six transgender teens in both their own words and the author's excellent photographs. The result is a strikingly in-depth examination of the sometimes clinical complexities of being transgender, even as Kuklin's empathy-inducing pictures put a human face on the experience. The profiles are evenly divided between FTM (female to male) and MTF (male to female) teens. Also represented are a variety of races and ethnicities, and included are one teen who is intersex and another who regards themself as pansexual (several of the teens choose to identify themselves with the gender-neutral pronouns they, them, and their). Though their experiences differ, the teens often stress that, as Kuklin puts it, Gender is one variable in a person's identity, and sexual orientation is another variable. The two are not connected. Similarly, Kuklin makes clear that, despite the popular misconception, all trans teens are not gay. Further information is contained in an appended interview with Dr. Manel Silva, clinical director of the HOTT (Health Outreach to Teens) program at the New York Citybased Callen-Lorde Community Health Center, which has served the needs of several of the profiled teens. Kuklin's important new book brings welcome clarity to a subject that has often been obscure and gives facesliterally and metaphoricallyto a segment of the teen population that has too long been invisible. Speaking with equal impact to both the reader's heart and mind, Beyond Magenta is highly recommended.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2014, American Library Association.)

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    Candlewick Press
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Transgender Teens Speak Out
Susan Kuklin
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