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Publisher's Summary

Discover what it means to be a young transgender or non-binary person in the 21st century in this frank and funny guide for 14+ teens, from the author of This Book Is Gay

In What's the T?, Stonewall ambassador, best-selling trans author and former PSHE teacher Juno Dawson defines a myriad of labels and identities and offers uncensored advice on coming out, sex and relationships with her trademark humour and lightness of touch. Juno has also invited her trans and non-binary friends to make contributions, ensuring this inclusive book reflects as many experiences as possible and features the likes of Travis Alabanza and Jay Hulme. 

The companion title to the groundbreaking This Book Is Gay, What's the T? tackles the complex realities of growing up trans with honesty and humour and is joyfully illustrated by gender non-conforming artist Soofiya.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2020 Juno Dawson and Soofiya (P)2020 Hodder & Stoughton Limited

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  • KD
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I have shared this with loads of people. Informative and accessible. Go share it with others!

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  • Emily Valentine
  • 24-03-2021

Useful Information

"What's The T?" offers a helping hand to trans teens through reassurance and a you-can-do-it attitude. There are three parts to this book. The first part gives us a brief look at what it means to be trans and how it has been viewed in the past and present, in part two, we look at what it's like to be living as a transgender person and it concludes in part three which has a quick questions round and a chapter dedicated to parents and carers of trans youth. This audiobook also has a PDF of resources and information.

For me, this book felt like something you give someone who may be struggling with their gender identity and is not all too familiar with being transgender. The first part quickly goes over some significant trans history but only really enough to give context to where we are now and, perhaps, to inform the reader that trans people have existed for ages and that it isn't just some new social media trend at the moment, as most anti-trans media would have you believe. There's also mention of how gender is seen in different cultures but, again, this is more like a crash course so not a lot of time is spent there either.

What the book focuses its time on the most is in part two where there is much more information that is very useful for trans people now, such as the transitioning process and what to expect from medical transitioning on the NHS (e.g. what you can and can't have done on the NHS). It also looks at the legal side of being trans and, in doing so, highlights the current issues surrounding the trans and non-binary community in getting legally recognised which, while I kinda had a feeling of beforehand, laid it out in front of me so that I know what to expect when/if I get to that stage. There is also a mention of violence towards trans people which might sound a bit frightening given the current political climate of violence towards trans people being on the rise at the moment but it tries to balance the reality of that by reassuring the reader/listener that, although these things happen, it does not mean that being transgender is q bad thing, just a little bit difficult as with any minority group in our current socio-political landscape (unfortunately). In fact, this book is mostly hopeful towards being trans and offers reassurance, as well, when it goes into the dating and relationships side of things (an area, I'm sure, that a lot of people worry about when they first realise they might be trans). There is also a sex talk with the dating and relationships part of the book about safe sex and using contraception and lubricants and the pleasure side of sex and it is very informative in that regard as well (probably better than the current curriculum, especially as it doesn't assume sexual orientation or gender of anybody).

However, having listened to this book and finding bits of it useful, I kinda have mixed feeling. I can't really see the audiobook as something for older teens due to the mothering nature of the narration. I could maybe see this as useful for people who feel a bit more scared about realising they might be trans or for pre-teens. However, if I was an older teen, I would probably prefer having the physical copy of the book. The narration isn't necessarily bad but there is a lot of energy to the performance of it which I'm not a particular fan of, in audiobooks. For example. there are segments at the end of each chapter with its own kinda theme song where "transgender hall of fame" is sung and I just kinda wished there was an alternate take of it where it was just spoken rather than sung, jovially. Then again, this is an audiobook and not a studio album and it helps the celebratory tone of the book so that might just be a little bit nit-picky.

Overall, "What's The T?" is an informative and celebratory guide to what it means to be transgender. While it does discuss heavy topics, it does not let this get in the way of patting the reader on the back for being brave enough for being their true selves. If you are a young transgender person who might need a bit of encouragement or help in navigating your way through what you can do to become and be recognised for the person you are or want to be, then this is for you. If you are someone who has a trans child or wants to know more about what it's like to be trans and what the current issues are on the topic of being transgender without it all sounding doom and gloom or hopeless (like how other material might present it) then give this book a go. It's quick, doesn't over-stay its welcome and I can see this being a fun and informative listen for its audience.

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