A new book coming out for Trans Awareness Week is looking to answer and all questions about what it means to be trans.
Brynn Tannehill’s myth-busting “trans 101” guide covers the topics at the center of the national debate relating to transgender people across all aspects of life, from bathrooms to pronouns, in an effort to combat the intolerance, misunderstanding, prejudice, discrimination and exclusion of transgender people deserving of full rights and recognition.
“When I was about 13 in 1988, and starting to get inklings of gender dysphoria, I lacked the right words to express what I was feeling,” said Brynn Tannehill, a leading transgender activist, essayist, graduate of US Naval Academy, military veteran, former Navy pilot, wife and parent of three and now author of “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Trans (But Were Afraid to Ask)”.
“Instead, I asked my mother what it would mean if my brother or I were gay. ‘I’d rather you were dead,’ she replied curtly.”
No wonder that Tannehill’s groundbreaking “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Trans (But Were Afraid to Ask),” officially released this week, is poised to become a best-seller among the titles published by Jessica Kingsley Publishing, the UK-based transgender-friendly imprint with a branch in Philadelphia.
JKP was motivated to publish books on gender diversity to fill an obvious void within the industry. “We recognized a special need and we sought to address that need,” explained David Corey, JKP’s vice president of sales and marketing.
Besides Tannehill’s guide, JKP is releasing 10 more titles by the end of 2019 dedicated to gender diversity, including children’s transgender stories (about a transgender fox, Vincent the Vixen), teen-survival guides, parenting transgender children, transgender people in the workplace and professional counseling for transgender people of all ages and needs.
JKP has a staff-relationship coordinator who reaches out to organizations on the front lines of advocacy for the transgender community, Corey said. Its local office, for example, coordinates with Mazzoni Center and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
Another part of that outreach is educating and informing the public. With 250 essays to her credit in HuffPost, The Advocate and OutServe, to name a few, Tannehill said she was inspired to write a guide by readers. “I never started out to write a book when I began writing. I did it because so much of what you could read about transgender people on the internet was biased, wrong or just deliberately hateful. You also see very few transgender people given the opportunity to write about transgender issues on a big stage” that JKP afforded her.
In her reader-friendly guide, she argues in her myth-busting approach to informing and educating the public that “gender stereotypes aren’t hard and fast rules that define gender. What is wrong with stay-at-home dads or women fighter pilots in the military?” asks Tannehill.
“There is so much bad information out there, and it is being pushed very hard by organizations like the Family Research Council, Focus on the Family, Alliance Defending Freedom and the Heritage Foundation,” Tannehill said. “Collectively, they have millions of dollars to have people on their staffs produce deceptive or false information.”
On the Trump-led war against transgender people, Tannehill anticipates that it will be “a long, uncertain fight for transgender people, and it will get worse before it starts to get better.”