As one can easily tell by the title, this book is addressed to a specific audience who most definitely should read it. After reading it myself, I feel like this is one that can and probably should also be read by those decidedly not of the transgendered persuasion as well, especially those who are looking for insight. The best way to demystify something, after all, is to be open to learning about it.
The format for this book is exactly what the title suggests: it’s a collection of letters from transgendered women to other transgendered women. More specifically, these are letters of wisdom, compassion, encouragement, and empowerment from those who have physically transitioned to those who are probably considering it. The voices represented here come from a variety of nationalities, and across all walks of life: politicians, lawyers, athletes, scientists, entertainers, military veterans… the list goes on. The messages are as diverse as the people writing them, and many of them will say the same things in a variety of ways. That’s not the point. The road to transition is difficult, and it’s as different as it can be from one person to the next. Every experience has its unique challenges. For some, those challenges can be catastrophic. Transpeople have an alarming statistic of having their lives end through either murder or suicide. Hope is needed. This collection of letters represents a welcome light in the darkness. Or to be more accurate, it represents a great many lights that create an even larger beacon as a result.
There are a few shout-outs to transmen because we’re all in this together, but the focus is by and large for transwomen, as I say, all about the MtF experience. Some might think this an oversight. I would suggest that maybe it is, and maybe that perception is magnified by the fact that there are few books of this kind out there at all. But maybe transmen need their own dedicated volume as well. Maybe the absence of such a book is a call to action.
I started reading this before even coming out of the closet, at the slow pace of one letter perhaps every one to three days. I let these messages really sink in, and in some cases I found myself re-reading them just on account. If you’re reading a book like this in an effort to find some kind of standard baseline to wrap your head around, you’ll quickly find that the very nature of being trans means that we all have different understandings and different terminologies. There are other books for that sort of thing. This one is simply about love and learning to find your way.
To my trans sisters who contributed to this book… with all of my heart, thank you.
This book is one of the many titles on my Freedom and Equality Reading Library list.