TITLE: Yes, You Are Trans Enough: My Transition from Self-Loathing to Self-Love
AUTHOR: Mia Violet
RELEASED: June 2017; Jessica Kingsley Publishers
KEY INFO: Memoir, Self-Help, LGBTQ education, self-acceptance, empowerment
REPRESENTATION: Trans Woman
CONTENT NOTICES: (TBC)
When I first came across Yes, You are Trans Enough, I knew that it was going to stand out in the busy crowd of transgender memoirs as something different and special. The colourful cover was not only bright, bold and charismatic, just like it’s author Mia Violet, but it reached out a welcoming hand with its affirmative declaration that, yes, you are trans enough.
The overwhelming anxiety over whether you are “trans enough” to be transgender is a far more common concern than many of us realize and sadly it results in many trans people struggling in silence, afraid to talk about how they feel or admit to themselves (let alone anybody else) that they might be trans.
In this honest, witty and comforting memoir, Mia shares with us her experiences of struggling with those exact feelings and how she began to overcome them during her journey from ‘self-loathing to self-love’. From a botched coming out to her parents that had her running straight back into the closet at the age of 14 and living through years of denial that left her feeling depressed, hopeless and with shatteringly low self-esteem, to confronting the reality of her gender identity with the help of her loving partner and beginning the obstacle-ridden course of transitioning, right up to the day when Mia stopped living for others and started to love herself for the shining star that she is.
Yes, You are Trans Enough effortlessly blends together the many facets of living life as a trans woman to produce an account that is at all times raw and realistic, whilst always managing to stay light and entertaining. Trans people are no strangers to countless hardships and Mia definitely doesn’t shy away from speaking openly about the bullying, violence, fear, homelessness, and years spent hating herself. But her memoir is also brilliantly funny, hopelessly endearing and full of joy.
I loved that each chapter skillfully wove together Mia’s own personal account of transition whilst also relating it to wider issues such as the bathroom debate, access to medical treatment and NHS pathways, transphobia, the importance of positive representation in fiction, and the rampant lies about trans people in the media. In fact, right at the outset of the book Mia states that it is her hope that Yes, You are Trans Enough will combat misinformation, myths, stereotypes, and lies about trans people by revealing the realities of one trans woman’s life. What she goes to great lengths to demonstrate throughout the book is that transitioning is a difficult decision that many of us go to great pains to avoid. Nobody looks at all the potentially negative consequences of coming out and transitioning, such as various forms of violence, unemployment and/or job insecurity, homelessness, and the loss of your family and friends, and thinks ‘gee, that sure looks like a real fun thing to do‘. Nobody pretends to be trans for the hell of it, or with the aim of tricking their way into different bathrooms, or makes up their mind about it over lunch one day. Rather, it is a decision that we do not take lightly and which some of us are too scared to take at all.
But fear not friends, because Mia is here to help. Yes, You are Trans Enough is written in a way that is accessible to all so regardless of if you are a cisgendered person (someone who isn’t trans) who wants to learn more about trans people, an ally who wants to support the work of trans people, a service provider/company/organisation looking to make your work more trans-friendly, a trans person looking for an account which is full of positivity and love, or someone who thinks that they might be trans or want to transition, then this is the book for you!
What this book isn’t:
- Saying that everybody is trans
- Encouraging people to jump headfirst into transitioning, especially medical transition
- An account which depicts a “unified trans experience”
- Focusing on the idea of “becoming” a woman or only focuses on medical transition
What this book is:
- Encouraging you to give yourself permission to explore your own feelings and gender identity
- Challenging the idea of what being trans “looks like” and that there is a linear narrative to coming out, transitioning and being trans
- Combating misinformation, myths, stereotypes, and lies about trans people
- Recognising that there are lots of different types of trans people, ways to be trans and trans experiences
- Light and enjoyable with lots of information about different issues affecting trans people, written in a way that is accessible to all
- An account of one trans woman’s life
- An affirming story, a declaration of self-love and a welcome for you to do the same
About the Author
Mia is a bisexual trans woman who has been blogging about her transition on her website and on twitter for over 2 years. She is based in the UK and has written articles for The Huffington Post, Bustle, and The F-Word. She is a figurehead for all things self-care, positivity, trans rights, and nerdy. Yes, You are Trans Enough is Mia’s debut book which is available for purchase on the 21st June 2017.
My sincere thanks go out to Jessica Kingsley Publishers for providing me with an advanced reader copy of Yes, You are Trans Enough in exchange for an honest review.