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Beyond Magenta

Transgender Teens Speak Out

Susan Kuklin


List Price: 15.99*
* Individual store prices may vary.

Other Editions of This Title:
Digital Audiobook (2/10/2014)
Compact Disc (3/10/2015)
Hardcover (2/11/2014)
MP3 CD (3/10/2015)


A 2015 Stonewall Honor Book

A groundbreaking work of LGBT literature takes an honest look at the life, love, and struggles of transgender teens.

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.

Praise For Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out

[A] sorely needed resource for teens and, frankly, many adults... Downright revelatory. ... Kuklin captures these teenagers not as idealized exemplars of what it “means” to be transgender but as full, complex, and imperfect human beings. As Kuklin writes, “My subjects’ willingness to brave bullying and condemnation in order to reveal their individual selves makes it impossible to be nothing less than awestruck.” She isn’t wrong.
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Kuklin brings her intimate, compassionate and respectful lens to the stories of six transgender young people.
... The collective portrait that emerges from these narratives and pictures is diverse, complex and occasionally self-contradictory — as any true story should be.Informative, revealing, powerful and necessary.
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

[A] strikingly in-depth examination of the sometimes clinical complexities of being transgender, even as Kuklin’s empathy-inducing pictures put a human face on the experience. ... Kuklin’s important new book brings welcome clarity to a subject that has often been obscure and gives faces—literally and metaphorically—to a segment of the teen population that has too long been invisible. Speaking with equal impact to both the reader’s heart and mind, Beyond Magenta is highly recommended.
—Booklist (starred review)

Readers [will] become immersed in these young adults’ voices and experiences. The youth interviewed here do not uniformly share It Gets Better-style happy endings, but their strength is nonetheless inspirational as they face ongoing challenges with families, sexual and romantic relationships, bullies, schools, transitions, mental health, and more. The level of detail about their lives, and the diversity of their identities–including gender, sexuality, ethnicity, religion, and geography–provide a powerful antidote to the isolation and stigma that some transgender youth experience. ... There is much here that will resonate with and hearten the kids who need it and will foster understanding and support among those who live and work with transgender teens
—School Library Journal

Pain and possibility are juxtaposed in this groundbreaking book that by its very existence portends a better future.
—San Francisco Chronicle

It is a testament to Susan Kuklin's gifts as a listener and interviewer that her subjects describe their lives with such candor. ... Kuklin introduces each teen with a bit of background, and often (but not always) the teen's gender at birth. Kuklin treats her subjects with tenderness and respect. Her book provides both reassurance and answers to questions that teens may not even realize they have.
—Shelf Awareness Pro

The presentation of the spectrum of experiences is remarkably nuanced and sensitive... Kuklin also brings her skills as a photographer to the book’s design, using some pictures documentary-style interspersed throughout an individual’s interview, others grouped as breathtaking galleries that explore expression or isolation.
—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

Kuklin’s book is not just a lifeline for teens who are going through something similar and need to see themselves and their lives so openly portrayed—this book is an important read for the parents, friends, and loved ones who want to understand what a transgender teen might be going through. This book is worth having on any shelf in any library and will not linger there long. ... A highly informative resource that is powerful, respectful, honest, and most importantly, long overdue.

In her edited transcriptions of the interviews, Kuklin lets her subjects speak wholly for themselves... Photographs (of most of the subjects) are candid and winning; and appended material, including Kuklin’s explanation of her interview process, a Q&A with the director of a clinic for transgendered teens, and a great resource list, is valuable.
—The Horn Book

This book examines a sensitive issue and explains the spectrum and diversity within the transgender community as well as defines the distinction between transgenders and individuals identified as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or queer. ... This book is a valuable resource for students desiring information on gender identity and the LGBTQ community.
—Library Media Connection

—Wall Street Journal

While several books have illuminated the lives of LGBT youth, this is the first book to focus solely on trans subjects, in an attractive collection that's perfect for a coffee table or your favorite pre-teen's bookshelf.
—The Advocate ("The Year's 10 Best Transgender Non-Fiction Books")

An eye-opener. ... Through extensive interviews, Susan Kuklin has captured the thinking and personalities of each subject in this book. Her sensitive photographs shows them as interesting people who have struggled to understand themselves and how they each, in their own unique way, differ from the norm.
—The Huffington Post

[A] candid, inspiring book. ... The teens are members of a group, but also distinct individuals, each with a unique, highly personal story. It goes without saying that their decision to share these stories is courageous. But being brave and taking chances is what transitioning is all about.
—The Chicago Tribune

Candlewick, 9780763673680, 192pp.

Publication Date: March 10, 2015

About the Author

Susan Kuklin is the award-winning author and photographer of more than thirty books for children and young adults that span social issues and culture. Her photographs have appeared in Time, Newsweek, and the New York Times. Susan Kuklin lives in New York City.

Conversation Starters from

  1. What are some of the assumptions people make based on perceptions of gender? What pressures do family, friends, and society place on a person based on their perceived gender identity?generic viagra price canada
  2. Jessy first came out as a lesbian, and later as trans. How did the two experiences differ? Was one more difficult than the other for Jessy? Why or why not?generic viagra price canada
  3. During Jessy’s early high-school years, he didn’t know what the word transgender meant. “Hey, if you like women and you’re a woman, then you’re a lesbian” (page 7). How important is terminology in knowing one’s self? Do you think kids today know more about gender diversity?generic viagra price canada
  4. Jessy’s girlfriend, Nan, refers to Jessy as “she.” Why do you think this is? Why do you think Jessy doesn’t mind?generic viagra price canada
  5. Christina says, “The other day I was thinking, I really, really hate being a transgender. It’s a constant struggle. It’s so annoying” (page 33). Why do you think Jessy and Christina have such different feelings about being trans?generic viagra price canada
  6. Christina was bullied in elementary and high school. Have you ever witnessed someone being bullied for being perceived as LGBTQ? What happened? What did you do?generic viagra price canada
  7. Christina’s counselor tells her that if she wants to transition she should “do it after high school” (page 42). Why do you think he gave this advice? Do you agree with it? What do you think are the benefits of transitioning when you’re younger? What could be some drawbacks?generic viagra price canada
  8. Christina talks about getting her nails done and getting her school uniform sweater tailored to look more feminine. Why do you think clothes and fashion in general are so important to gender identity?generic viagra price canada
  9. Christina says, “I think the other students were freaked out because I looked like a girl and I was pressing against gender boundaries” (page 49). Why do you think some people get upset when someone challenges gender boundaries? Does it ever upset you?generic viagra price canada
  10. Mariah requested that no photographs of her appear in the book, saying, “I’m not a success story right now” (page 74). Why does Mariah think this?generic viagra price canada
  11. Mariah says, “Everyone goes through one kind of transition or another. We go through transitions every day. Except mine is maybe a little extreme. I’m not at the end of my transition. I’m barely at the beginning” (page 91). What sorts of transitions has Mariah gone through in her life? What sorts of transitions have you gone through or think you will go through in the future?generic viagra price canada
  12. Cameron says, “Gender is one variable in a person’s identity, and sexual orientation is another variable. The two are not connected. Being trans is not the next step to being gay” (page 95). In contrast, both Christina’s and Jessy’s best friends continued to think they were gay, even after they came out as transgender. Christina’s friend asked her, “Why can’t you just be a gay man?” (page 43). How are gender identity and sexual orientation connected, if at all? How do they differ? Why do you think some people seem more able to accept that a person is gay or lesbian than transgender?generic viagra price canada
  13. Cameron says, “Being trans is not something that is accurately portrayed in the media” (page 112). What portrayals of transgender or gender-neutral people have you seen in the media? Are they accurate? Why or why not?generic viagra price canada
  14. Why do you think Nat wanted to be photographed in black-and-white?generic viagra price canada
  15. Nat says, “When the doctors confirmed that I was intersex, I thought, Wow, I’m that whole other gender! It proved what I had been feeling all along. I was not only emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually both sexes; I was physically both sexes, too” (page 136). How does Nat experience gender compared to some of the other teens?generic viagra price canada
  16. Luke says, “There’s a lot you can say in poetry that you can’t say in conversation” (page 152). Why do you think it’s easier for Luke to speak his mind onstage in front of an audience of strangers than in conversation with people he knows?generic viagra price canada
  17. How did Luke’s acting affect his coming-out process?generic viagra price canada
  18. Photographs are a very important part of Beyond Magenta. What do you learn about each teen from looking at his, her, or their photographs?generic viagra price canada
  19. Mariah identifies as being transgender, while Cameron talks about doing gender. How do you think their gender identities or expression differ?generic viagra price canada
  20. Several of the teens discuss ways in which society, aside from their families, began to treat them differently after they began transitioning. What observations did they make?generic viagra price canada
  21. How did being transgender, intersex, or gender-neutral affect each teen’s early childhood?generic viagra price canada
  22. In all of the stories, personal pronouns are very important. What are your personal pronouns, and who decided what your pronouns would be?generic viagra price canada
  23. Did reading this book change your understanding of gender identity? Why or why not?generic viagra price canada