Tag Archives: trans

New Release: 4 Star for The Servant Duchess of Whitcomb (Scandalous Whispers of the Remmington Realm #2) by Vicktor Alexander (AUTHOR INTERVIEW) #MM #AlternateUniverse @VVeeB

1.5

Title: The Servant Duchess of Whitcomb (Scandalous Whispers of the Remmington Realm #2)
Author Name & Publisher: Vicktor Alexander (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: November 27, 2015 – 304 pgs

Synopsis

Orley Garrick is known throughout Angland not only as the man with two dukedoms but also as the hero who survived a brutal kidnapping at the hands of Nafoleon’s army, never once betraying the secrets of His Majesty. Still haunted by his memories, Orley pushes his crippled body to dangerous limits, all in an attempt to run from the demons of his past.

Until he meets Chester Boland, a maid in his friend’s household. Orley is besieged by desire for this gorgeous male woman, and by a connection he cannot ignore. But there are those within the Remmington Realm who take issue with the Duke’s choice—especially given Chester’s Tafrican lineage.

Having stared death in the face and won, Orley proposes they steal away and elope. However, before they can begin their new life, they uncover dangerous secrets that go deeper than they could ever imagine—involving those they trust the most.

Orley and Chester must discover exactly how deep these secrets run before their enemies make sure Chester is removed from Orley’s arms… forever.

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Review

FourStars

Let me say this world this author created was amazing! This is a warning that this is a MPEG book I know some are okay with that like me and some not so much! I do have to say the way the they delivered the baby was very different then anything I have read before.

Now I will admit I did not read the first book in this series before this one and I was honestly so lost through some of this book. I would definitely recommend reading the first book in this series before this one.

Orley is a duke who has fought in war and still has the scars both emotional and physically from this. He is visiting a good friend and is woken by the maid Chester which he feels a instant attraction towards. Chester also feels the same attraction towards Orley. They both go through a lot to be together.

Now with this book because I did not read the first book it took me awhile to figure out what was going on in this world. Chester was born a man but since he has female reproductive organs she/he is actually considered a woman just like some of the men in this world are born woman. The sex you were born is the name you are given hence Chester who was born a man but is a woman. I hope I explained that right. This is a very different take on transgender than I have ever read before and can I say I loved how the author wrote these characters even though it did take me awhile to figure everyone out.

Now as much as I loved these two characters and their story I have to admit there were a few parts that did drag for me.. But otherwise this book was filled with this amazing world that was created by this author that had some action, angst and so much steam.

All together I really liked this book!
I would recommend this book!

Kara

Excerpt

THE SHARP retort of gunfire exploded around Orley Garrick, Duke of Whitcomb, and he ducked, trying to avoid the debris and the bodies of fallen soldiers around him as he surged forward. The smoke from the countless rifles burned his eyes as he desperately looked for the person who had caught his eye. He heard the cries of the dying calling out to him as he rode his horse farther into the thick of battle. Using his sword, he cut down an enemy soldier who raced toward him, mouth open as he let out a battle cry. Orley closed his eyes against the spray of blood across his face and blocked out the sound of the man’s death gurgle as he fell to the ground beneath his own horse.

Orley raced on toward the figure in white who didn’t belong on the battlefield. He called out a warning, telling the woman to be careful, because there was no way a man would be on a battlefield wearing a long, flowing white chemise, free of dust and bloodstain, appearing almost angelic among the crowd of soldiers. The woman didn’t stop. Instead she walked straight toward the commander of the enemy soldiers, and fear filled Orley. He wasn’t sure why; he didn’t know the woman, and yet he could not let anything happen to her.

At that moment, the woman turned to look at him, and Orley gasped when he realized the woman in front of him was not female as he’d suspected but male. Why in the world was a lady on the battlefield?

“You should not be here!” he yelled, trying to warn the male, but just as he got close enough to lift the woman onto the back of his horse, an enemy soldier plunged his sword through the woman’s back and out through his chest.

Orley watched helplessly as the woman’s eyes widened moments before he collapsed to the ground, and a grief unlike aught he’d ever experienced ripped through him.

He was not sure how he knew, but the dying woman belonged to him, and someone had just taken him away.

Tossing his head back, Orley let out an anguished shout at the heavens.

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4 stars for A Boy Called Cin by Cecil Wilde @queerlyobscure #Trans #Genderqueer #MM @LT3Press

25181809

Title: A Boy Called Cin
Author Name & Publisher: Cecil Wilde (Less Than Three Press)
Publication Date & Length: July 8th, 2015 – 169 pages

Synopsis

On the search for a cup of coffee before the guest lecture he’s giving, Tom spies a tired, half-frozen young man who looks even more need of coffee than him. On impulse, he buys the man a cup—but an attempt to strike up conversation ends in the young man walking off, seemingly put off by Tom Walford—the tabloids’ favourite billionaire—buying him coffee. But when he reappears in Tom’s lecture, all Tom knows is that he doesn’t want the man slipping away a second time.

Agreeing to dinner with a man he only knows from internet gossip columns isn’t the wisest decision Cin’s ever made, but he wants to like the infamous Tom Walford and he can’t do that if he doesn’t give the man a fair chance to be likeable. Which he is, almost frustratingly so, to the point Cin wishes maybe he hadn’t been so fair because he never had any intention of getting attached to Tom, who seems to come from a world far too different from his own for anything between them to last. Little does Cin know, they’ve got a lot more in common than he imagines—including their shared discomfort with their assigned genders, and all the complications that go with it.

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Review

FourStars

I’m really glad I picked this one up. It’s very well-written. This is less a romance than a slice-of-life building of a relationship, which I really enjoyed. It’s also a pretty good Trans 101 primer for anyone unfamiliar with the process of self-discovery and medical/surgical transition.

This is proof for me that disliking a character’s personality–even a main romantic lead–does not prevent enjoyment of the story. I didn’t like Cin pretty much at all, other than his patience with helping Tom learn new things about himself. Cin was pretty much just not a particularly nice or likable person. However, I could see what Tom appreciated, and that’s why my personal feelings mattered less in this case. Their relationship was loving and sweet.

I adored Tom. I found him especially relatable for personal reasons, and I loved getting to know him both via his own thoughts and through Cin’s eyes. Tom expressed some things really well about his gender that I believe others might be able to appreciate and understand.

There are two reasons this doesn’t get 5 stars from me even though it was good. First, I really don’t need a trans primer myself. It felt at times like info-dump and training on “how to have sex with a trans person,” which is really not universal. I’d rather read a story where being trans is only one part of the story, not the entire thing. Second, I got really, really tired of hearing about Tom’s age and how “old” he was. This is not actually how 40-year-old people think of themselves or how we behave, and we are not all one heart attack away from death after vigorous sex, so it was incredibly off-putting. I would not tolerate a lover or partner who kept negatively referencing my age, and I had no idea why Tom was willing to do so. I’m a bit weary of the “young kid schools much older person” trope.

Other than that, this was a very sweet story and an enjoyable read. It’s certainly one I recommend for anyone who feels they want to learn more about some aspects of being trans.
~AmyM

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3 stars for Memories by Valentina Heart #Trans #MF #erotica @LT3Press

25695249

Title: Memories
Author Name & Publisher: Valentina Heart (Less Than Three Press)
Publication Date & Length: June 2, 2015 — 58 pages

Synopsis

Acceptance is never any easy road for anyone, but some roads are much harder to travel than others. When Marlin comes home one night, she is greeted by the sight of her man, Gabe, spread out on the bed waiting for her. Accepting all the love he has to offer has been a long process, but recounting all it took to get where they are is a reminder that every step was worth it.

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Review

ThreeStar

I give this credit for having some exceptionally hot sex that was very well done, but it didn’t quite make up for everything else this lacked. I realize erotica doesn’t always have much of a plot, but in this case, the plot was more or less every trans trope in one location. I was really put off by how it fell into the “acceptable trans woman” narrative–she’s very feminine, only interested in men, and her lover (or husband; it was a little hard to tell) was really masculine and possibly bisexual. I’m generally a fan of bisexual characters, but in this case it seemed to be all about how he was sort of bi because he was able to get over her body parts. (He never exactly identified that way except when he apparently lied about it to his friend–that was also a very bizarre plot point which seemed to only be there so readers would know he was not put off by the fact that Marlin hadn’t had bottom surgery.) There were all kinds of other annoying things, like finding every possible slur to use against her. I’m not sure if this was supposed to educate readers on the plight of trans women or served some other purpose. And while I support every trans person’s decision about medical and surgical interventions, Marlin’s reasoning that she just had to be confident in her womanhood so she wouldn’t need it seemed condescending to trans women who do choose to have surgery for exactly the reasons she rejected.

I’m getting tired of reading the exact same trans woman story in multiple ways. This author wrote such intense, beautiful, loving, life-giving sex scenes (and man, those were some of the hottest m/f I’ve ever read–just so lush and elegantly detailed) that I cannot for the life of me figure out why the rest of it was so bad. I’m going to trust that Ms. Heart can do a better job next time (and I really hope there’s a next time).

~AmyM

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5 stars for Be My Queen by RayeAnn Carter #Trans #Romance @LT3Press

24808269

Title: Be My Queen
Author Name & Publisher: RayeAnne Carter (Less Than Three Press)
Publication Date & Length: April 22, 2015 — 154 pages

Synopsis

Lavender doesn’t want a man in her life, not if it means exposing that she’s trans. Fortunately, Diego’s only in LA for a week. She can enjoy the attention without him finding out her secret.

Falling in love isn’t part of the plan. Neither is the jealous housemate determined to ruin everything.

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Review

FiveStars

I really really enjoyed this book! There was a couple of twists and turns that I didn’t see coming that kept the pages turning. I have to say that although I don’t really care for insta-love…. which this sort of had, it kind of worked since it was more that he was willing to take risks with his heart in order to find love.
I liked the way the transgender issues were addressed as well, not just in a relationship setting, but normal, everyday type situations.
A very good story!
Renee

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5 stars for Defying Convention by Cecil Wilde @queerlyobscure #Trans #Genderqueer #Bisexual @LT3Press

23459803

Title: Defying Convention
Author Name & Publisher: Cecil Wilde (Less Than Three Press)
Publication Date & Length: January 28th, 2015 — 65 pages

Synopsis

Danny and AJ have been online friends for years, and secretly in love with each other. When the opportunity to attend a comics convention comes up, they decide to go and share a room. But friendship online does not always translate to friendship offline, and both are anxious about how the meeting will go, and the friendship change, when faced with challenges easily avoided behind the safety of computer screens…

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Review

FiveStars

This was so cute and sweet and charming. I loved both Danny and AJ right away, and I loved how we got to know them without the specifics about their genders (other than their pronouns) until well into the story. I think that was probably the best part and certainly the hallmark of expert writing. I was also thrilled with having the premise revolve around the sci fi/fantasy convention. My inner geek rejoiced, and I wished I was there with them!

The sex was delicious, steamy, and sweet, a perfect combination and a good fit with the rest of the story rather than feeling like an add-on or a distraction. The story would have been fine without it, but it was just as good with it. I loved seeing a couple with an established friendship taking it to another level.

I really appreciated the way the situation with Christie was handled. Too often, it feels like trans stories include transphobia without any real resolution to the characters or scenarios introduced. This had nice closure.

The only thing that made me hesitate is that I thought AJ fell a little bit into a particular narrative of being genderqueer. There could be many reasons for that, and AJ wasn’t a cliche, just a bit on the “gender trendy” scale, and only in the physical appearance sense. Everything else definitely “defied convention,” as the title suggests.

All in all, this is one of my favorite new stories, and I think I may have to read it several more times just to experience the lovely feelings over again.

~AmyM

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TWO 4 Stars for Witch, Cat and Cobb by J.K. Pendragon #FF #Trans @LT3Press @JKPendragon

0.2

Title: Witch, Cat, and Cobb
Author Name & Publisher: J.K. Pendragon (Less Than Three Press)
Publication Date: October 14, 2015

Synopsis

Destined for an arranged marriage she wants nothing to do with, Princess Breanwynne decides that the only option for escape is to run away. Upon the announcement of this plan, her trusted pet cat reveals he can talk by asking that she take him along. Listening to his suggestion to venture into the lair of the Swamp Witch proves to be a very bad idea, but Breanwynne would rather face a witch any day than be forced to marry a prince.

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Review

FourStars

This short story was addicting and completely adorable. The characters grabbed me instantly and the ‘Cat’ in the title, Fen, had me chuckling from the first few lines. The interactions were well planned and some were downright funny. While there were some word repeat issues (just a habit of using a single word, in this case ‘Swamp’ several times in a few sentences) and a section near the end where things got a little muddled over who was who, overall it was well done and driven. My only major complaint is that it wasn’t longer! I loved the progression of the story and the eventual outcome. The twists provided by the author were wonderful and kept a smile on my face. I would definitely recommend this one for a quick, fun read.

Rhayne

 FourStars

This was a wonderful, light and original short novel. The three main character were quirky and believable, even the talking cat!!!
I really enjoyed the wry humour which was present throughout the novel, often making me laugh out loud. If you are looking for a novel as an escape from the mundane, even for just a short time, this is the novel for you. It was easy to read and pure escapism. We all like to believe in  fairy tales, where good is rewarded and a happy ending is inevitable, but much needed, and this novel provides all of this in abundance.
The only reason I did not give five stars was due to the naivety of the rhetoric at times, which did detract a little from what was otherwise a brilliant tale. Despite this, this is a book I would heartily recommend.
~Chris

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5 Stars for Fiery by Alyssa Astra #Trans #YA #FF @AlyssaAstra

1.5

Title: Fiery
Author Name & Publisher: Alyssa Astra (Torquere Books)
Publication Date & Length: September 23, 2015 – 70,000 Words

Synopsis

Aiden Adams, a transgender teen, begins writing in a journal when he moves to a new town named Ashmore and begins “passing.” He is counting on everyone to believe that he is the every bit the male he appears to be. Writing in his journal helps him unclog his brain as he writes about the daily struggles he faces as a transgender teenager, his painful past that he is trying to forget, the new friends he is making, and the beautiful girl named Abby whom he has fallen in love with. Aiden has already come out to his open-minded mother, but will Abby be just as understanding?

When Aiden loses his journal, he worries that the secret he is trying so desperately to keep will come out. And if it does, how will everyone react? Will Abby be able to cope with everyone knowing that he is transgender? Will his new friends accept Aiden for who he really is—a boy—or will everything fall apart?

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Review

FiveStars

This is an AWESOME book for transgendered females. Most of the trans books I’ve read were men who wanted to be women so this was a really nice change.
I have to admit, I had a few doubts going in because it is young adult and that’s not normally my thing, but I’m SO glad I picked this up. It was really really insightful and enlightening.
The struggles Aiden goes through are struggles I image every trans goes through no matter their gender or age when they are at this stage of transformation.
Finding love, keeping hidden, revealing their secret to those that are close to them, how parents handle the news… It’s all there in this book.
I really can’t rave enough about how great this book was to not just those who find themselves thinking they might be transgender, but anyone interested in it at all.
Renee

Excerpt

The beautiful eyes belong to the beautiful girl from the library. The one I notice every day for one reason or another. The one I sketched on a page in my journal. I’m such a creep.

“Hi,” she says loudly.

I take out my earbuds and turn off my radio that’s still in my pocket. “Hi,” I say back.

She’s on one knee to be eye-level with me, but she spins and sits down beside me, really close. Wait a minute…

SHE’S GOT ON THE COOLEST BOOTS!

They’re shiny black leather and they go up to her knees. The bottom of them is a three-inch platform, all clunky and sexy—I mean cool. She has black skinny jeans tucked into them.

“I just wanted to make sure you were alive,” the girl says. “Why are you all the way over here, by yourself?”

“I don’t know anyone,” I admit.

She holds out her right hand. “I’m Abby Abernathy.”

I grasp her hand. Handshakes are always awkward. Her hand is really warm or mine is really cold.

“I’m Aiden Adams.”

“Nice to meet you—now you know someone.” She smiles.

“I guess I do.”

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3 stars for Sex, Love, and Videogames (Serpentine #3) by CJane Elliott #MM #Trans @dreamspinners @CJaneElliott

SexLoveVideogamesFS

Title: Sex, Love, and Videogames
Author Name & Publisher: CJane Elliott (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: August 21, 2015 – 264 pgs

Synopsis

Shy guy Jed Carter has always felt invisible next to his charismatic older brother, Kent. Kent’s master plan for Jed is simple: University of Virginia, business, sports, and ladies’ man. None of it is Jed, except for playing on the rugby team, which he joins in defiance of soccer-loving Kent. Jed comes out in his sophomore year and starts seeing Pete, an attractive junior, who uses him for sex and videogames. Jed wants more—in life and in love—and starts making his own plans. First on the list: getting to know Charlie, the handsome guy working at the local videogame arcade.

Charlie Ambrose has always felt like an oddball, and not just for his tendency to stutter. Being gay sets him apart from his African-American community, and as a “townie,” he doesn’t fit in with the college crowd. Charlie’s inspiration is his cousin, Morocco, who’s transgender and doesn’t give a fig about fitting in. Art is Charlie’s passion, and when a local videogame designer discovers him, Charlie’s living a dream. The only thing he’s missing is love. But the last person Charlie expects to find it with is a cute, white U.Va. rugby player named Jed.

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Review

ThreeStar

This is a hard one for me to review because I’m not sure how I feel about it. On the positive side, I loved the characters. Jed and Charlie were both so likable, and their close friends were wonderful. I loved Myesha, and Morocco was a lot of fun. Both guys had many supportive friends around them, and I liked their families, too.

I loved the multicultural aspects of the story. I’m always happy to see more stories featuring characters who are not only white and middle class, and I love books with great trans characters. This book gets a win on that front.

Another thing I liked was that it wasn’t a traditional romance, and that wasn’t the only thing going on. I don’t need my love stories to focus exclusively on the relationship–in fact, I’d rather they not. So another plus.

On the other hand, there were a lot of things I struggled with about this book. For one thing, there was really no plot. A lot of things happened, but there was no running thread from start to finish other than various versions of people being closeted. There were a lot of loose ends, which I’m not sure relates to this being part of a series or if they really just won’t ever be resolved. I was bored for a lot of this book–the relationship between Jed and Charlie didn’t even start until 2/3 of the way in; they had almost nothing to do with each other before then. It was odd, given that, how they had instant love and declared “forever” at twenty or twenty-one.

I was really wary of the portrayal of the only “bisexual” characters. They seemed to be stereotypes and reinforced some negative things–that Black bisexual men are “on the down-low” and are responsible for spreading STIs to gay men and straight women and that white guys are “mostly straight” but like to have sex with men sometimes (and will probably lie to and cheat on their girlfriends/wives). I’m sure this wasn’t intentional, but it is something the bisexual community is actively working to change, so it upset me to see it shown in the book without anything to balance or challenge it.

In the end, I’m glad I read this, but I don’t think it was the book for me.

~Amy

Excerpt

“Okay, warm up laps!” Beau led the rugby team in a slow circuit around the perimeter of Mad Bowl. After a few laps, he stopped and had them do stretching exercises.

The other team did their warming up, and when they moved to take positions, Jed noticed a pair of people standing on the sidelines. His breathing stopped for a second. Charlie stood, hands in his pockets, shifting from foot to foot, while Morocco, a vision in a pink track suit, set up a camp chair (apt name, that) and sat down. Morocco saw Jed looking and waved. Charlie turned and gave a small wave himself, and Jed waved back, heart beating faster.

“Who’re they?” Bud asked, squinting over at them.

“Um, Charlie’s a guy who works at Lucky’s. In the gaming area. And the other is his cousin.”

“Hmm. Townies?”

“Yep.”

“She’s cute.”

“Um, well, about that….” Jed cut himself off because the referee blew the whistle. Time to play ball and hope he did well in front of those two.

The game proved the usual testosterone-fest, with lots of grunting and body contact. When Jed scored some points, Morocco produced pom poms that matched her outfit and waved them wildly.

At the break, Jed ran over to them for a minute to say hi—fuck what the rest of the team thought.

“Jed, child, my word!” Morocco fanned her chest. “Y’all are such manly men! Rugby is going to be my new obsession, I just know it!”

“I like it. My mom never let me play contact sports in high school, so I kinda love ramming into people.” Jed felt his cheeks flame at what he had said. Crap-a-doodle.

But Morocco laughed and Charlie faked a cough so he could smile behind his fist.

“So, hey, thanks for coming. I gotta go back now.”

Charlie nodded as Morocco said, “We’ll see you after the game.” She picked up her pom poms. “Wa-hoo-wa!”

When the team huddled before the second half, a homophobe named Welburn said with a sneer, “Who are those freaks on the sidelines?”

Another guy laughed. “Yeah. I thought all the he-shes lived in San Francisco.”

“What’re you talking about?” Bud peered over toward Charlie and Morocco. “That girl?”

Welburn spit on the ground. “That girl is no she. She’s a he. What the hell are they doing here?”

Beau raised his voice. “Hey, concentrate, guys. We need to win this game.”

Jed held up a hand to stop Beau from continuing. “Before we do that, you all need to know that those are some friends of mine. So shut your fucking faces before I shut them for you.” He leveled a lethal glare at Welburn and his compatriot.

Fueled by his anger, Jed played an amazing second half, and the team pulled out a victory on the strength of his points alone. After their team high five, he trotted over to Charlie and Morocco. Charlie smiled broadly while Morocco jumped up and down. “Jed, Jed, Jed! Wa-hoo-wa! Thass right!”

“Okay, okay.” Jed couldn’t help laughing at Morocco’s outrageous enthusiasm. “Thanks for coming to the game.”

“It was fun. I’m glad we came.” Charlie took a step back, seemingly surprised to have gotten two stutter-free sentences out.

“I’m glad too.” They gazed tentatively at each other, and Morocco suddenly got busy folding up the camp chair.

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New Release: Fiery by Alyssa Astra #Trans #YA #FF @AlyssaAstra

1.5

Title: Fiery
Author Name & Publisher: Alyssa Astra (Torquere Books)
Publication Date & Length: September 23, 2015 – 70,000 Words

Synopsis

Aiden Adams, a transgender teen, begins writing in a journal when he moves to a new town named Ashmore and begins “passing.” He is counting on everyone to believe that he is the every bit the male he appears to be. Writing in his journal helps him unclog his brain as he writes about the daily struggles he faces as a transgender teenager, his painful past that he is trying to forget, the new friends he is making, and the beautiful girl named Abby whom he has fallen in love with. Aiden has already come out to his open-minded mother, but will Abby be just as understanding?

When Aiden loses his journal, he worries that the secret he is trying so desperately to keep will come out. And if it does, how will everyone react? Will Abby be able to cope with everyone knowing that he is transgender? Will his new friends accept Aiden for who he really is—a boy—or will everything fall apart?

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Excerpt

The beautiful eyes belong to the beautiful girl from the library. The one I notice every day for one reason or another. The one I sketched on a page in my journal. I’m such a creep.

“Hi,” she says loudly.

I take out my earbuds and turn off my radio that’s still in my pocket. “Hi,” I say back.

She’s on one knee to be eye-level with me, but she spins and sits down beside me, really close. Wait a minute…

SHE’S GOT ON THE COOLEST BOOTS!

They’re shiny black leather and they go up to her knees. The bottom of them is a three-inch platform, all clunky and sexy—I mean cool. She has black skinny jeans tucked into them.

“I just wanted to make sure you were alive,” the girl says. “Why are you all the way over here, by yourself?”

“I don’t know anyone,” I admit.

She holds out her right hand. “I’m Abby Abernathy.”

I grasp her hand. Handshakes are always awkward. Her hand is really warm or mine is really cold.

“I’m Aiden Adams.”

“Nice to meet you—now you know someone.” She smiles.

“I guess I do.”

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4 Stars for Finding Masculinity: Female to Male Transition in Adulthood by Alexander Walker and Emmett J. P. Lundberg #Trans #NonFiction

1.2

Title: Finding Masculinity: Female to Male Transition in Adulthood
Author Name: Alexander Walker and Emmett J.P. Lundberg
Publication Date & Length: May 12, 2015 – 358 pgs

Synopsis

“Living out something you’ve spent countless hours daydreaming about and wondering about is an experience that isn’t easily put into words.” – Will Krisanda

Finding Masculinity is a collection of stories from a small cross section of the transgender male community that shares insight into the diversity of life experiences of transgender men, beyond the traditional narrative.

This anthology examines the many facets of life that transition impacts; transitioning on the job, emotional and spiritual growth, family, navigating the medical community, as well as romantic relationships. The stories within come from scientists, teachers, fathers, veterans, and artists who share how being visible as the masculine humans they identify as has developed, changed, and evolved their sense of masculinity.

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Review

FourStars

This is a collection of essays by trans men on various elements of their coming out and becoming the men they were meant to be. It is a good and important read for anyone who wants to begin to understand what it’s like to have been designated female at birth and come to understand oneself as male.

As much as I enjoyed the anthology, and as much as I believe it should be read widely, I did have a few issues. The first was that the format did not work for me at all. It felt as though these men were sent a list of interview questions and instructed to answer it school-essay style. I felt that some of what appeared in the section introducing the contributors was restated in their later sections, and I found myself skimming at times. It would have worked far better for each person to simply have told his story in one complete chapter. They felt a bit too blog-post for my taste, and not all were particularly well-written (barring Mitch Kellaway, who was an absolute delight to read).

The second thing I noticed was that it was overwhelmingly representative of straight/opposite-sex-partnered, white, middle-class, exclusively male-identified people between mid-twenties and early forties. I found that (again, except for Mitch Kellaway–specifically his essay on fatherhood and transition) there was a focus on a particular type of masculinity rather than a broad range of what makes a man or how one develops manhood. There was a heavy emphasis on medical transition as well. Perhaps the experiences of the editors sculpted the book’s landscape, or perhaps they have in mind to continue their work. I would love to see follow-ups that focus on men of color, non-binary male-spectrum people, men who chose not to medically transition, youth, and men who came out/transitioned late in life. Hopefully, if this book gains traction, that can become a reality.

Despite those concerns, I still strongly recommend this as a first step book on the experiences of trans men. This is one of many necessary books on the subject of what it’s like to be trans in current western society.

Amy

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