The Transgender Child: A Handbook for Families and Professionals

by Stephanie Brill & Rachel Pepper

reviewed by AlwaysArousedGirl on Sun 1 Feb 2009

If you work with children, have children or love children, The Transgender Child:  A Handbook for Families and Professionals by Stephanie Brill and Rachel Pepper should be on your bookshelf next to all the other books about infant and child development.

“But I don’t know any transgender kids,” you might be thinking.  You’d probably be wrong.  The Transgender Child focuses not only on those who will eventually want to make the transition via surgery to the opposite gender but also on children who live with any form of gender variance.  From the little boy who loves to play with dolls to the teenager already living in her preferred gender, this book touches on issues that anyone who is around children will eventually face.

The Transgender Child gives solid advice on mentoring gender-variant children from their earliest years until they are ready to leave the home and beyond.  Compassion rules; Brill and Pepper advocate extensive education so that parents, school staff, physicians and friends are prepared to offer support for the physical and emotional challenges transgender children will face.

So much of their advice seems appropriate even when applied to children who present as straight:  Draw appropriate boundaries.  Get educated.  Become an assertive yet calm advocate when problems arise.  And perhaps most importantly, demonstrate unconditional love no matter what gender or orientation is exhibited.

Brill and Pepper quote one seventeen-year-old transboy as follows:

If I could change one thing, it would be that all people were required to understand that there are more than two categories of gender.  That way other kids won’t have to suffer like I did.

I’d like nothing more than to see this wish come true.  A fine way of achieving this goal would be to grab a copy of The Transgender Child, read it through, then pass it on to someone else who could be an advocate for a child who lives outside of the bindary gender classification.

The Transgender Child: A Handbook for Families and Professionals by Stephanie Brill & Rachel Pepper
Available at Amazon.com
Cleis Press, 2008
8.5 x 5.5 x 0.9 inches
200 pages
$16.95 list