Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out” as Want to Read:
Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out

by
3.85  ·  Rating details ·  3,391 ratings  ·  571 reviews
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 preferen
...more
Hardcover, 182 pages
Published February 11th 2014 by Candlewick Press
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Beyond Magenta, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
tineke Note: I acknowledge the difference between books where abuse victims can speak about their past, and books where abuse is glorified/promoted. This…moreNote: I acknowledge the difference between books where abuse victims can speak about their past, and books where abuse is glorified/promoted. This person made it sound as though the book promoted p*dophilia. Promotion is bad. Victims speaking about past experiences can be both a healthy form of closure for them, as well as a way to give other victims hope, or allow non-victims to feel empathy.(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.85  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,391 ratings  ·  571 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Rick Riordan
Jul 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A timely and poignant exploration of the lives of transgender teens — each chapter a narrative constructed from interviews with those teens who have, with varying degrees of success, come to terms with their gender identity and overcome prejudice and misunderstanding at home, at school, and in the workplace. The best way to understand someone’s struggle and to develop compassion is to listen to them tell their stories. You would have to be very hard-hearted indeed to get through this book withou ...more
Amantha
Feb 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: People who haven't the first clue about transgender issues
I'm leaning more towards 3.5 on this one. Yes, transgender issues need to be talked about more. Awareness and understanding need to be fostered. Yes, it's great to have a book that shows exactly the struggles transgender teens face in day-to-day life.

However.

The scope of this book is extremely narrow. Out of six narratives, five of them are from NYC and the surrounding areas - the last teen, Luke, lives in Madison, WI. I almost stopped reading after the first two narratives because Jessy would s
...more
Florian
Oct 24, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: lgbt, nonfiction, ya, trans
The idea of this book is fantastic: allowing young trans people from many different backgrounds to tell their own stories, which would then be collected and published, allowing the wider world to read about a variety of trans possibilities and experiences. The actuality of the book was incredibly disappointing.

The most positive thing about Beyond Magenta is that it does strive to include the diversity of the trans community as reflected in the identities of the interviewees. There is an equal r
...more
Romie
Dnfed it 24 pages in, because COME ON SERIOUSLY ?!
Let me explain a bit more:
I’m having a real problem with Jessy. The guy knows what it’s like to be a girl, but he’s being really macho “Now that I’m masculine enough I can say ‘back off’ to other men when they talk to my girlfriend, I can take as much space as I want when I sit down in the subway, I take on the male social role now” …. REALLY ?
He also reinforced gender stereotypes : “Girls are so superficial and complicated” ; “I’ve always thoug
...more
K.m.
Jun 18, 2014 rated it did not like it
I appreciate the fact that the author of this book, Kuklin, allows the teenagers' stories and photos to mostly speak for themselves with seemingly little intervention. It would have been nice to see what kinds of questions teens were responding to, in order to have a sense of how Kuklin may have shaped the information given.

The stories teens told were interesting and sad and funny, they spoke about how they view gender, what their childhoods were like, etc That said, this collection feels like
...more
Wart Hill
Read this and other reviews at Things I Find While Shelving

There is one word I can use to describe this book: snapshots.

This book is a series of snapshots of people on the Trans* spectrum. It doesn't cover everything, but it is refreshing to read the words of young Trans* people, to hear how they explored their identities and found their truths.

I wish there had been a book like this when I was a teen. I'm glad it's out now for those teens who are struggling to fit in this world that still won't
...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Oct 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: banned-books, read2016, ya
I read this as one of my selections for Banned Books Week, from the list provided by ALA of "frequently banned diverse books." Alongside it I read Am I Blue?: Coming Out from the Silence, a short story collection from 1994, geared to the same age group. I think the grouping put this book into more perspective. No, these six profiles of transgender, genderneutral, genderfluid, and intersex teens can't possibly capture every possible experience in the trans community, but I appreciated the attempt ...more
Jae
Nov 05, 2015 rated it it was ok
I just...ugh. I was so disappointed by this. Yet another book about trans people but not for us. And I get that the whole point is teens telling their own stories but the way most of them talk about gender is so troubling, especially considering the clearly cis anticipated audience. Trans is not the next step down the (nonexistent) line from gay. And the glossary in the back was so bare bones and very off base in a lot of cases. I can't recommend this to anyone honestly. None of the voices reson ...more
Maja (The Nocturnal Library)
Beyond Magenta is the very first non-fiction book reviewed here in the five years of The Nocturnal Library’s existence, and I couldn’t have picked a better one for the honor. It consists of six stories about six transgender, genderqueer or gender nonconforming teens, accompanied by gorgeous, honest photographs and several comments by the author. The stories are told in first person by the teens themselves, interspersed here and there by the author’s brief comments and observations.

The first thi
...more
Jessica
Jan 06, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: lgbt-books
I was eagerly awaiting this book, but I was seriously disappointed. I went out on the day of the release, purchased it, and then returned it all in the same day because I found it so appalling. This is a subject that truly needs to be illuminated and deserves much more attention than it is currently receiving. However, this book only further served to put more false information into circulation and bolstered up some of the negative stereotypes that the transgender community has worked so hard to ...more
Stacie
Jan 06, 2014 rated it liked it
Received from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This is a really difficult book to rate. Kuklin gathers together stories of different transgender teenagers at various stages in their coming out process and talks with them about their lives up until this point. It's heartbreaking to read about the challenges each individual has faced and see the hate and discrimination they deal with everyday. Yet at the same time, I found myself wanting to scream at some of the things the teens were say
...more
Shenwei
Jan 22, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: queer-reads
changing my review bc when I first read it I was still a baby trans person and didn't see the issues. a book featuring a cis author speaking on behalf of trans teens is really not what we need. what we need is #ownvoices
Kazza
Jan 13, 2015 rated it did not like it
This was really disappointing and a great example of why books about a specific group of people should be written by a member of that group. Most of this book was dedicated to the tragic stories of transfolks and/or reinforcing the gender binary, and much of the language used around transness was really out of date. The author also inserts herself into the story in ways that feel inappropriate. This whole thing is clearly transness through the cis-gaze.

also trigger warnings: reinforcement of gen
...more
Paul
May 17, 2016 rated it liked it
I reserved a library copy of Beyond Magenta after seeing it on the American Library Association's annual top ten list of frequently challenged books. Beyond Magenta has become a target of book-banners, according to the ALA, who say it's anti-family, filled with offensive language and references to homosexuality, sneaky attempts to teach kids about sex, politics, and religion, and wrong for the age group at which it's aimed. Moreover, the ALA cites evidence that Beyond Magenta has prompted some s ...more
Sarah
This multifaceted photo book about six transgender teenagers was truly enjoyable. Blending first person accounts with portrait photography (when the teens were comfortable with it), this book profiles several diverse trans teens. Included are teens of color, trans men, trans women, teens dealing with mental illness, and an intersex teen. One of the trans women, Mariah, is bisexual and another, Cameron (pictured on the cover) is pansexual and genderqueer.

Kuklin explains in the afterward how the p
...more
Anna (Bananas)
This is a decent intro to trans, intersex, and genderqueer points of views. Each section is mainly comprised of the speaker's obviously transcribed own words, which is good in that you get their exact thoughts and feelings on their journey and who they are. However, the interviewees are all teenage or twenty-somethings, so a lot of what they say comes off as immature. More importantly the book needs heavy editing for repetition and at times for coherence.

But these are small quibbles really beca
...more
Rebecca McNutt
This moving, inspirational and innovative book is one of few that tells the story of kids trying to find not only their true gender identity, but also their place and sense of belonging in the world.
Kate Welsh
Aug 25, 2019 rated it liked it
I read this because a local Christian group is trying to get people riled up about this book being in my city's library, and I wanted to be able to say I'd actually read the whole thing and disagreed with their "concerns." However, while obviously I disagree with their bigoted nonsense about this book trying to hurt kids, it probably wouldn't be the first book I'd recommend because it very much presents trans people through the lens (sometimes literally) of the cis author and firmly others them, ...more
Danielle
Sep 12, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The topic gets 5 stars, execution 1. Such an of-the-moment topic, and one that needs more books to address. I felt like the kids in this book had so so many issues beyond their trans identities, and their comments about why and how they were transitioning were quite flippant and juvenile. It made me question their counsellors and the age at which they were making these profoundly life altering decisions. I also didn't like that all but one of the teens were from the same area, some diversity wou ...more
Cat  (cat-thecatlady)
this was disappointing.

it was very childish and shallow. and definitely not a book for trans teens. the gender roles and how most of the teens defined themselves based on that made even me, a cisgender person, really uncomfortable. the author's interventions were super weird, specially to listen to. a voice from older trans people might have put a lot of things in perspective too. not really the book I was hoping and not what young teens deserve.

full review here: https://catshelf.wordpress.com/2
...more
Sunday
May 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult-ya
I thought I knew what "transgender" meant. Not really. Such an honor to read these teens' stories and immerse myself in what it really means to be "transgender." Kuklin states it best in the author's note -
"So here we are, a pack of Homo sapiens thinking that we know whether a person is female or male. Now that I've spent a few years researching and talking with people who fall under the transgender umbrella, I am confident saying that male/female is not the only way to describe gender. The peop
...more
Sarah
Sep 14, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: book-club-1
This book is saved from a 1-star rating only because I think books like this are really important in this day and age. I'm very glad this type of book is out there, I'm just sorry I didn't enjoy reading it. I wanted a more diverse cross-section of voices - 5 kids from the East Coast and 1 from the Midwest - was too limiting for me to get a real feel for the experience or a deeper understanding of transgender identity. I also found that almost all of the teens were extremely damaged and had unsta ...more
El
Mar 23, 2019 rated it did not like it
From the very first story (Jessy's), the reveal of the teens' birth names, the focus on (before and after) photography, and the way Susan Kuklin guides the story while purporting not to guide, I knew this was yet another book about transgender people made by a cisgender person for a voyeuristic cisgender gaze.

The book is small, covering only 6 young people living in a very small geographical area (none of whom happen to be black). Despite it's slim size, the text is riddled with typos. Not only
...more
Stacia
Sep 04, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016, north-america
Beyond Magenta is a book on the ALA's list of most challenged books of 2015.

I think it's a needed book (especially for teen audiences) and, otoh, I wanted to like it more than I did.

What I liked:
-- the bravery of these teens to live their lives how they want & need to, often in the face of opposition
-- the willingness to share their struggles & stories so that others may learn
-- nice photography of the teens who were willing to be pictured
-- the author's lists of resources for support gr
...more
Jenni
Sep 04, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction, book-club
While this book definitely encouraged an amazing discussion at our book club meeting, I really felt it was lacking in many ways. First, I am not trans, nor do I know any personally, so that's where I am coming from. Here's what I didn't like. I felt the teens interviewed were not as diverse as they should have been - most all being from one area in the east, and only one from the Midwest (and none from the west.) Also, most of the kids seemed pretty damaged from events that were NOT necessarily ...more
Naomi
Mar 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
Terrific interviews with transgender, intersex, and genderqueer youth and young adults that offer insights into the variety of gender experience and the social issues in surviving and trying to thrive in a binary gender and cisgender privileged world. Lots here for youth and young adult groups and OWL (Our Whole Lives) youth, young adult, and adult classes to talk about, as well as social justice groups seeking to understand more about fluidity and variety in gender and challenges there. There a ...more
Dana Berglund
Feb 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
4 stars for the idea and content. Though the audiobook readers are good, I definitely recommend the print version because of the photographs and excellent additional resources at the end. That this book exists at all is amazing. The teens are brave and worth knowing. A strength of the book is in their personal diversity:nobody claims to be the trans spokesperson. They are each their own person, as there are an infinite number of ways to be queer or trans.
As a piece of literature, however, only 2
...more
Alexa
Aug 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fab-15, summer-15
This is beautifully photographed – one might be worried that such gorgeous photographs might only encourage prurient interest – but they’re so engaging they just drew me right in – “Oh, I want to know more about that person!” The lack of analysis and the simple storytelling just feels so right! It was seriously wonderful and moving. The individual stories are quite touching, yet varied. And the photographs are luscious, in the most respectful of ways. I picked it up just to browse through it, bu ...more
Becky
Jan 24, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: ya, lgbtq
I agree with a lot of the lower rated reviews of this book here on Goodreads, like this one: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

In the back of the book the author lists various resources including a very sadly short fiction list that included only Middlesex and Luna and nothing that has been published in the last ten years. 10 years! These books exist, and if you are making a resources page, for god's sake, find them.
Skyler
This is the kind of book that makes me want to come out publicly.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Sno-Isle Mock Printz: This topic has been closed to new comments. Beyond Magenta 4 12 Oct 02, 2014 02:37PM  
AfterEllen.com Bo...: Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out. 1 23 Apr 07, 2014 09:44PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Branded by the Pink Triangle
  • Stonewall: Breaking Out in the Fight for Gay Rights
  • Rethinking Normal: A Memoir in Transition
  • Mama Africa!: How Miriam Makeba Spread Hope with Her Song
  • Pride: Celebrating Diversity & Community
  • Some Assembly Required: The Not-So-Secret Life of a Transgender Teen
  • The V-Word: True Stories about First-Time Sex
  • The Letter Q: Queer Writers' Notes to their Younger Selves
  • Go: A Kidd's Guide to Graphic Design
  • "You Can Tell Just By Looking": And 20 Other Myths about LGBT Life and People
  • Eyes Wide Open: Going Behind the Environmental Headlines
  • Bootleg: Murder, Moonshine, and the Lawless Years of Prohibition
  • Being Jazz: My Life as a (Transgender) Teen
  • They Called Themselves the K.K.K.: The Birth of an American Terrorist Group
  • Freedom Summer: The 1964 Struggle for Civil Rights in Mississippi
  • The Whydah: A Pirate Ship Feared, Wrecked, and Found
  • Master of Deceit: J. Edgar Hoover and America in the Age of Lies
  • We Will Not Be Silent: The White Rose Student Resistance Movement That Defied Adolf Hitler
See similar books…
“SK: What causes a person to be transgender?

MS: I think the question should be flipped around: What’s the cause for assuming that one’s gender identity has to be the one that you are born with? When I first came into this job, I was much more comfortable about people’s sexuality than I was with people’s gender identity. But when you hear the same stories over and over again, from people from all over the world, you start realizing that transgender is not an anomaly. It’s a part of the spectrum of people’s realities. Then you stop wondering about the cause and you start realizing it’s a part of reality.”
1 likes
“But when you hear the same stories over and over again, from people from all over the world, you start realizing that transgender is not an anomaly. It’s a part of the spectrum of people’s realities. Then you stop wondering about the cause and you start realizing it’s a part of reality.” 1 likes
More quotes…