Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out

By Susan Kuklin
Published on February 11 2014
Published by Candelwick Press
Source: Netgally
Author and photographer Susan Kuklin met and interviewed six transgender or gender-neutral young adults and used her considerable skills to represent them thoughtfully and respectfully before, during, and after their personal acknowledgment of gender preference. Portraits, family photographs, and candid images grace the pages, augmenting the emotional and physical journey each youth has taken. Each honest discussion and disclosure, whether joyful or heartbreaking, is completely different from the other because of family dynamics, living situations, gender, and the transition these teens make in recognition of their true selves.

I think this a really important book for teens (and adults) to read, whether or not they have someone in their lives who is transgender. I appreciated that the book is a series of conversations with six different transgender teens. Hearing their experiences in their own words was enlightening and really showed the kind of struggles they faced. Family photographs also added a nice touch.

However, it was hard for me to finish the book because of its narrative style. I got bored easily because all the stories sounded the same. "I grew up in New York City, I didn't like the things other girls did. I played soccer instead of playing with dolls. I knew that I was really a boy. Now I am happy and have a girlfriend. . ."  etc. If I as an adult had a hard time finishing it, I'm sure there are many teens who who know nothing about the subject who might have found it dull as well. I'm left wondering if there isn't a more teen-friendly approach the author could have taken.

I would like to see a similar book with a more diverse population: more minorities, teens from conservative small towns (not NYC), etc. This really is an important subject for everyone to become educated on in 2014, and I hope there are more, similar books to follow.


  1. I felt the same way about a book called TRANSITIONS OF THE HEART: Stories of Love, Struggle and Acceptance by Mothers of Transgender and Gender Variant Children. The experiences in the book were very similar from story to story (although in this book there were examples of people from smaller towns, and conservative backgrounds). All but one of the children were strictly transgender, but the title had led me to believe there would also be discussions of gender-fluidity and other forms of gender-variance, which are such important discussions among teens nowadays. I haven't read BEYOND MAGENTA yet, but I'm searching for the book that covers this topic in more depth--and considers more variations.


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