Book Review: Everything You Wanted To Know About Trans*

LEXIE CANNES STATE OF TRANS — Review of the book “Everything You Wanted To Know About Trans*” by Brynn Tannehill.

To the point: Thumbs up, way up.

In this unusual review, I’ll get into the actual book further down, but instead, I want to focus on something close to my heart: trans kids.

But first, a disclaimer: I was not given a “review” copy, nor am I getting paid by anyone associated with the book or the publishing company.  I pre-ordered and bought my copy online.

Many of you may not be aware but prior to the existence of the internet, I was a writer and editor of a handful of successful non-fiction books having to do with education, specifically, disabilities. Based on my experience, Ms. Tannehill’s book is of the format among the most desirable to librarians and educators — it’s accessible to everyone, but not lacking of the data needed to be useful in higher education. I mention this because of this important fact: schools and libraries have the funding to BUY books such as these. Libraries need to cover all topics and stay on top of emerging trends of which, all things transgender is one. Indeed, Ms. Tannehill’s book fits to a “t”. I can’t think of another trans-related book that is an easier sell than this one.

While I’m sure the publishing company has a marketing scheme underway to hit those markets, but I’m asking you, on behalf of trans kids, to contact your libraries and ask they get this book. Educators and parents should ask that their schools — from elementary level to post secondary — carry the book. It works as a resource for teachers and parents, too. With any luck at all, it may get added to the school’s curriculum. Think of it as an investment in our future, and you can help.

Okay, my bully pulpit plea for trans kids is out-of-the-way.

I was most impressed with Ms. Tannehill’s use of a clever tactic — showing readers how they can tell if they’re being bamboozled by supposed “authorities” in a chapter titled Bad Science. Her ‘detect and debunk guide’ brought a smile to my face because I used a similar tactic many years ago which I titled a ‘baloney detection kit’ to derail “authorities” spreading BS while hiding behind their doctorates. Those new to all things trans will appreciate these debunking tools — challenging “authorities” is OK — they, too, need to show evidence supporting their contentions as does everyone else.

A chapter on the military was quite striking. In short – an impressive and time-consuming effort by trans veterans, trans service people and the Department of Defense to come up with a comprehensive and tight plan agreeable by all parties to accommodate trans people in the military was shattered, like a glass globe dropped on the floor, by the whims of the loose cannon that is President Trump.

The chapters on politics and religion outlines in detail the dire, chilling consequences awaiting us in the short-term. While one hopes these things don’t come to pass, it brings to forecourt the importance of not finding ourselves in this position in the first place — by voting wisely!

As a whole, the book clearly reflects the immense amount of time spent gathering data. In other words, your homework is done for you. Armed with this book, you’re ready for most trans questions or situations, with the evidence or reference to back it up. This is why this book stays in my library rather than passing it off — it’s one of the book’s most redeeming qualities.

There were a few things that I didn’t agree with, but it’s a very satisfactory trade-off — mere quibbling, actually. These mostly have to do with popular culture. I’ll point out, however, her handling of Caitlyn Jenner was nicely balanced IMO.

And finally, her usage of terms like “heebie jeebies,” “gobbledygook,” and “dead as disco” brought smiles to my face — she wanted this book read, not merely published. I’m grateful, you ought to be, too.

Thumbs up, way up. I gave it 5 stars on Amazon.

Everything You Wanted To Know About Trans* (*but were afraid to ask)” by Brynn Tannehill ISBN: 978-1-78592-826-0

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Categories: Transgender, Transsexual, Trans

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