Some “boys” will only wear dresses; some “girls” refuse to wear dresses; in both cases, as Ann Travers shows in this fascinating account of the lives of transgender kids, these are often more than just wardrobe choices. Travers shows that from very early ages, some at two and three years old, these kids 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 interviews with transgender kids, ranging in age from 4 to 20, and their parents, and over five years of research in the US and Canada, The Trans Generation offers a rare look into what it is like to grow up as a trans child. From daycare to birthday parties and from the playground to the school bathroom, Travers takes the reader inside the day-to-day realities of trans kids who regularly experience crisis as a result of the restrictive ways in which sex categories regulate their lives and put pressure on them to deny their internal sense of who they are in gendered terms.
As a transgender activist and as an advocate for trans kids, Travers is able to document from first-hand experience the difficulties of growing up trans and the challenges that parents can face. The book shows the incredible time, energy, and love that these parents give to their children, even in the face of, at times, unsupportive communities, schools, courts, health systems, and government laws. Keeping in mind that all trans kids are among the most vulnerable to bullying, violent attacks, self-harm, and suicide, and that those who struggle with poverty, racism, lack of parental support, learning differences, etc, are extremely at risk, Travers offers ways to support all trans kids through policy recommendations and activist interventions. Ultimately, the book is meant to open up options for kids’ own gender self-determination, to question the need for the sex binary, and to highlight ways that cultural and material resources can be redistributed more equitably. The Trans Generation offers an essential and important new understanding of childhood.
"Ann Travers’s The Trans Generation is an astounding and essential qualitative study that collects heartfelt, honest anecdotes from a variety of transgender children and their parents."
"In this insightful evaluation of the lives of transgender kids, the author closely examines schools, spaces (especially bathrooms and locker rooms), parents, and healthcare. The book is...an important addition to the growing body of transgender literature."
"Walks readers through challenges that transgender children face in schools, in public spaces, with their parents, and navigating health care...A useful text."
"Passionate, smart, sensitive, and on-target in its policy recommendations, The Trans Generation is indispensable reading for anybody who wants to understand the gender climate-change our culture is currently experiencing. If you care about a kid who does gender differently—an estimated 1 in 137 of all people in the US between the ages of 13-17—and want them to have the best future possible, then read this book, take it to heart, and start making that future a reality for them today."
—Susan Stryker, Author of Transgender History
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?
“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
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