Know the T in LGBT

gay pride flag horiz

Kirstin Cronn-Mills, winner of this year’s ALA Stonewall Award for her YA novel Beautiful Music for Ugly Children, will be signing her newest YA nonfiction title, Transgender Lives (TFCB, Fall 2014), at the Lerner Publishing Group booth (#623) at ALA-Las Vegas at the end of this month. Be sure to stop by the booth on Sunday June 29 between 10:00 and 11:00 am to meet Kirstin!

In the meantime, here are some thoughts from Kirstin about her new book in the context of this month of LGBT Pride:

During this month of Pride, the acronym “LGBT” or “GLBT” is a phrase we hear a lot.  If you unpack the letters, you know that the LG and B (lesbian, gay, and bisexual) relate to sexual orientation—the people we love.  The T, on the other hand, is about gender.  The label “transgender” describes an enormous range of experience and gender identities. Lots of people with lots of genders and gender expressions choose to describe themselves with this word.  But gender identification and expression is separate from sexual orientation; gender has to do with how we see ourselves, not who we see ourselves partnered with. For this reason, many people question whether it makes sense to lump gender and sexual orientation into one acronym. The verdict is still out. Ten different LGBT individuals are likely to have ten different answers for you. 


The most important thing to know about the T in  “LGBT” is that being transgender affects your entire life: you clothes and your pronouns, your names and the public bathrooms you use, the boxes you check on various forms that ask about your gender, and how you deal with schools, government, your workplace, your medical doctor, and all sorts of other bureaucracies.  If you’re looking for more information about the T in “LGBT,” please consider  Transgender Lives: Complex Stories, Complex Voices.  This nonfiction YA title in the TFCB imprint comes out in September and considers the intricacies of being transgender by focusing on the life stories of seven individuals who identify (in several different ways) as transgender. They talk about growing up, finding their way, and what their identity means for their future. The book also offers information about trans* history, language, medical and legal challenges, and the bullying and violence many trans* individuals face.

Librarian Kelly Jensen includes Transgender Lives in a roundup of great new books about diversity for YA readers in the Book Riot blog entry of May 22. In this month of Pride, take some time to learn about your fellow Americans who identify as the T in “LGBT.”   Transgender Lives will teach you about what it means to be true to yourself.  Isn’t that a lesson we can all use?