This November, Transgender Awareness Week (November 11-17) and Transgender Day of Remembrance (November 20) comes on the heels of our current administration’s ban on military service for transgender individuals, along with his latest efforts to remove legal protections afforded by federal civil rights law. Raising visibility of the issues facing transgender people is even more important now, as transgender kids are increasingly vulnerable to bullying, violence, self-harm, and suicide; and library staff and educators working with young people can and should be aware of how to support them.
For many of us, this means exploring our own biases and rethinking some of our ingrained ideas about sex and gender identity, which can be a difficult task. I’ve gathered some resources below–books, videos, websites, and even a webcomic–that can help adults working with youth become more knowledgeable and understanding, and therefore better able to offer support, resources, and empathy to our transgender patrons. For excellent fiction and nonfiction to offer to transgender, nonbinary, and questioning teens, follow these two links to past YALSA Hub articles.
A Quick & Easy Guide to They/Them Pronouns, by Archie Bongiovanni & Tristan Jimerson.
A short, snappy, informative book that does what it says: explains why gender neutral pronouns matter, how they are used, and offers tips and tricks for various interpersonal scenarios. Plus, the low-key style and humor make it very accessible.
The Trans Generation: How Trans Kids (and Their Parents) Are Creating a Gender Revolution, by Ann Travers
Travers is a professor of sociology and anthropology and a transgender activist, and their book on what it’s like to grow up as a transgender child grew out of five years of research and interviews with real children, ages 4-20, that identify as nonbinary or transgender, as well as the author’s own experiences. Though it is more academic in nature, it is a valuable resource for those seeking an overview of the situation in the US and Canada for transgender people.
Web Sites (+ bonus webcomic!)
The Trevor Project’s Lifeguard Workshop
The Trevor Project is the leading national organization for LGBTQ+ youth in crisis; it’s an amazing resource for LGBTQ+ youth and adult allies. This video workshop is free to educators and youth service professionals. It’s designed to help adults identify the challenges faced by LGBTQ+ people and recognize and respond to the warning signs of suicide.
My Kid is Gay
This web site is a resource for families and educators of LGBTQ+ youth, full of advice, stories, and essays provided by contributors on seven topics: . There is also an advice column where you can ask a question and receive answers from knowledgeable people. Check out their resources page for a comprehensive list of support organizations, books, and other media.
Assigned Male, by Sophie LaBelle
This is a webcomic about a transgender girl and her friends and family that’s been running since 2014. It updates three times a week and is adorable, sassy, authentic, and incredibly informative. They recently had a successful Kickstarter to publish a print children’s book on gender identity, which is now selling on Etsy along with other small print collections. Find it here: http://assignedmale.tumblr.com/
GLAAD partnered with Netflix to on the #firsttimeIsawme campaign, with eight 3-5 minute video interviews with transgender people and activists about the first time they saw an authentic representation of themselves in the media. Just ignore the YouTube comments section (or don’t, for an authentic impression of how some react to the very word transgender).
Transformation: A Documentary
Put out by MTV in 2016, this is a documentary about transgender teens “struggling to find the resources, safety, and confidence to express their gender identity”, with the help of non-binary stylist Madin Lopez.
–Krista Hutley, currently reading the Assigned Male archive
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