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Love Lives Here: A Story of Thriving in a Transgender Family

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All Amanda Jetté Knox ever wanted was to enjoy a stable life. She never knew her biological father, and while her mother and stepfather were loving parents, the situation was sometimes chaotic. While still a teenager, she met the love of her life. They were wed at 20, and the first of three children followed shortly. Jetté Knox finally had the stability she craved--or so it seemed. Their middle child struggled with depression and avoided school. The author was unprepared when the child she knew as her son came out as transgender at the age of eleven. Jetté Knox became an ardent advocate for trans rights.

For many years, the author had coped with her spouse's moodiness, but that chronic unhappiness was taking a toll on their marriage. A little over a year after their child came out, her partner also came out as transgender. Knowing better than most what would lie ahead, Jetté Knox searched for positive examples of marriages surviving transition. When she found no role models, she determined that her family would become one.

The shift was challenging, but slowly the family members noticed that they were becoming happier and more united. Love Lives Here is a story of transition, frustration, support, acceptance, and, of course, love.

288 pages, Paperback

First published July 30, 2019

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Rowan Jette Knox

2 books5 followers

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 581 reviews
Profile Image for Cecily.
1,137 reviews4,178 followers
June 24, 2020
Love always comes first.

An honest, uplifting, sometimes painful, passionate, informative, reflective story that I broadly knew from following Amanda on Twitter. In the space of a year, her middle child came out as a trans girl, aged 11, followed by her spouse as a trans woman.

It’s told with a light, self-deprecating, sometimes humorous touch, from Amanda’s perspective. Alexis and Zoe were fully involved in what’s written, and can tell their versions if they ever want to. Meanwhile, how many excellent writers are both mother and spouse of trans people?

What this is (personal) - and is not (TERF wars)

We’re a typical home filled with laughter, conversation, sibling rivalry, too much laundry, not enough vegetables and fights over who gets to pick the Friday-night movie… Some of the names and pronouns have changed, but the love remains the same.

This is a personal memoir. The ups, downs, and sideways paths. It’s written to inform and to prompt empathy and understanding.

It is not a medical text, a guide book to being trans or supporting trans people, nor a polemical trans manifesto. It’s not even an analysis and rebuttal of divisive issues the media loves to debate.

The family’s story speaks for itself.
It informs without preaching.

Puberty-blockers; dealing with bullies; adjusting language and relationships; coming out; shopping, changing rooms and loos; surgery or not, and fitting in at school and work, are all mentioned in relation to the specific circumstances of the Knox family. Gender critical and trans exclusionary reactionary feminism (TERF) are mentioned, but in the context of threats and hate mail received.

It’s refreshing to have a friendly, very readable narrative, that shows trans people as ordinary people who happen to be trans. Rather than focusing on, let alone judging the issues, you warm to them as people.

The book is suffused with love and hope and more love, as the family demonstrates "the power of visibility".

Image: “Lead with Love” (Amanda’s tattoo) (Source.)

The story

Amanda covers her own mental health issues (abandonment, being bullied, and into rehab at 14) and dropping out of school, as well as her spouse’s early years. They married and had children young and poor. The marriage wasn’t easy, but “the girl from Peterborough” (as she describes pre-coming out Zoe) developed a good career and Amanda was beginning to feel accepted as a suburban school mom and blogger. And then…

Her being a boy was part of my identity but it wasn’t part of hers.

Alexis was 11 when she came out (her brothers were 17 and 7). Amanda tackled this surprise by going into research mode, then education and advocacy on all things LGBTQ+. She knew from having a brother with Down Syndrome that “love and inclusion can make a meaningful difference”.

But Alexis’ blossoming made Zoe’s dysphoric moodiness worse, and ultimately precipitated her own revelation.

I had always known she wasn’t one of the guys. I just didn’t know to what extent.

It obviously raised questions about their marriage, and as the main earner, Zoe was additionally anxious about work - a place she’d been for 12 years.

She felt like she knew everyone there. She felt like nobody knew her… Seen, but invisible.

It’s not a spoiler to say this is a happy story. Not an easy one. Not without pain. But happy.

Image: Transformation of a Monarch butterfly (Source.)


I was the captain of Team Righteous” on matters such as breastfeeding and sleep training, and “I likely hurt a lot of feelings… I only thought about being right”.

In these new circumstances, where she is the one being judged, Amanda realises her past mistakes as well as the times she doesn’t say or do the right thing to support Alexis and then Zoe. I think she’s too hard on herself. It also makes her already fragile mental health especially vulnerable to malicious criticism.

Risk and opportunity

The ups and downs of family life were already in the public domain via Amanda’s mommy blog. When Alexis came out, Amanda couldn’t not mention it.

They decided - as a family - that although there were risks, Amanda would continue to blog, using it as a platform for good. They assessed subsequent media offers in a similar way, accepting some and refusing an exploitative “reality” show.

Curiosity - right and wrong

Being trans wasn’t the problem… The problem was how society treated her.

It’s natural to be curious, especially about the unfamiliar. But kindness and basic good manners should filter what’s in one’s mind before it comes out in one’s words.

The world is finally interested in trans people, but often pruriently focuses on the wrong things. Genitals, in particular - a hugely inappropriate interest when the subject is a child. However, Amanda, with her educator’s hat, reaslies the subject needs to be discussed a little, so does.

Epilogue - 1 and 2

My paperback has an epilogue which mentions Amanda and Zoe adopting Alexis’ best friend, Ashley, in January 2020.

Since then, in April 2020, Alexis, now aged 17, has refined her labels and came out as non-binary: happy with her name, and with female or non-gendered pronouns. But firmly not male.

More info

Amanda often mentions research, websites, and forums. I wish they’d been listed in an appendix.

She was a warm, informative, patient, and positive presence on Twitter, but in the last few weeks, has deactivated her account. (When I last looked, a troll was currently using her picture and a very similar account name.)

However, her blog is still going: amandajetteknox.com. Read about her, her family, and sample her writing.

You also get an impression from the sequence of chapter titles:


Hate is loud and violent, but it burns out quickly. Love is quieter and slower, but more resilient.
Profile Image for Lindsay L.
679 reviews1,323 followers
March 16, 2022
5 stars!

One of the most impactful, eye-opening, informative and inspiring memoirs I’ve ever read! A powerfully phenomenal book that supports and strengthens the LGBTQ+ community. I am forever changed after reading this.

This is Amanda’s family story. It is a heart wrenching, raw, emotional, eye-opening look at her life during some very difficult years centring around LGBTQ+ rights and education. Amanda openly shares her family’s experiences while they go through some big transformations that drastically change their family dynamic. I applaud Amanda and thank her for sharing this intimate look at her life as a mother of a transgender child and the wife of a transgender spouse. This book challenged my thinking. I believe that all who read this could learn a lot from Amanda and how she processed and moved forward with the major changes in her family. She CHOSE LOVE, KINDNESS AND ACCEPTANCE each and every time she was faced with a challenge and she fought for her family. She teaches the importance of promoting love, support and inclusion for the LGBTQ+ community rather than simple ‘tolerance’. There is a HUGE difference between the two.

Not only did I find the content of this book extremely intriguing, informative and unforgettable, but I found the writing truly mesmerizing! The way Amanda wrote touched my heart repeatedly and never felt preachy. She narrated the audiobook herself and I often felt as though I was simply having a conversation with her, learning from her and feeling true connection with each and every word. Amanda is such an inspiring person!

This book challenged my thinking, my opinions, my biases, my naivety. It’s truly a life changing book that I highly recommend to everyone.

Amanda - thank you for sharing your story and teaching me.

Thank you to my lovely local library for the audio loan!

Audio rating: 5+ stars!
Profile Image for Allison.
884 reviews
June 14, 2019
This kept me up until four in the morning even though I know how it ends - if that's not the hallmark of a great book, I don't know what is. If you know Amanda, it can be easy to forget that she has, not to put too fine a point on it, Gone Through Some Shit, even before her daughter and her wife came out as trans. This is an unflinchingly honest, unapologetic, hilarious, heartwrenching, clear-eyed account of a bunch of that shit. I guess coming through the fires of horrific bullying, adolescent addiction, sexual trauma, then finding out two of your family members were assigned the wrong gender at birth must really season the soul. As a long-time reader of Amanda's blog, I knew that she could write. As a fairly long-time friend, I knew that she was a big-hearted, generous woman. This book roundly confirms both of those things. She's neither naive nor cowed in the face of all the hate that is out there, much of it directed at her and her family daily. She just realizes that, for the most part, living well - and having the wittiest quips on social media - is the best revenge.
Profile Image for Tinichix (nicole).
304 reviews52 followers
March 18, 2020
"Life changes you." - Amanda Jetté Knox

I finished this book yesterday. Wow. There was so much I wanted to say about this book, still is. I was hoping reflection would give me time to better articulate my thoughts. It didn't. I feel like I have even more to say and comment on. I think this book is amazing! I will do my best to phrase things appropriately, this book deals with very sensitive topics, please know if something is said that is not "by the book" that is not my intent. I have no intent to discredit, insult, or use incorrect terminology etc. I am an ally, please forgive anything that may not be stated exactly the way it should be. I am doing my best, and like many others still have a lot to learn.

In this memoir Amanda Jetté Knox gives us a very raw and emotional insight to her life and family. The flap of the book tells us that she was wed to her spouse when she was 20, and the first of their three children followed soon there after. Their middle child, which they then knew as their son came out as transgender at age eleven. The author then became an active advocate for trans rights. Approximately a year after their child came out her partner came out as transgender also. Her book describes their shifts and challenges of becoming not only a child and then marriage surviving transition but an entire family surviving transition and being a positive example as a whole.

I love how Knox admits she isn’t a perfect human being, mom, spouse, daughter etc. & that she has made mistakes and will most likely make mistakes in the future. We are all human after all. But everyday she is trying, and everyday she is choosing love and acceptance. Everyday she is trying to break down the walls to societal norms and how they impact us and our decisions and opinions. Even those of us who consider ourselves strong allies have room to grow and learn. The book taught me a lot about how we treat others when we aren’t necessarily feeling our best selves or happy looking inward. It reminded me how much children and their opinions are influenced by us and at times how flexible and accepting they actually can be. This book covers it all, everything. Knox is open and so beautifully accepting. She discusses mental health, bullying, addiction, phobias, misconceptions and stereotypes. But it also covers compassion, bravery, honesty, courage, resiliency, and respect. I would be very surprised if anyone that reads this with an open mind doesn't learn something, we could all take something away from this.

This isn't my platform to convince anyone to change their beliefs. I appreciate the fact that Knox clearly admits we will never all hold the same beliefs, but if you disagree to please "just exit quietly". No matter what belief anyone holds we are all entitled to respect, equality, and to be treated like humans. I commend Knox for opening up the most personal parts of her world to help people better understand and learn. "Love Lives Here" is easily one of the best memoirs I've read, ever.
Profile Image for Candie.
333 reviews112 followers
September 24, 2019
This book is a very open and honest portrayal of Amanda's experience of living in a family with a transgender daughter and wife. It also talks quite a bit about the mental health issues she has dealt with throughout her life. Her courage to share her family's experience with opening up and transitioning was very eye opening and has provided me with so much more knowledge and understanding. I previously had no experience with any transgender people directly in my life, that I know of, and it was so interesting and amazing to hear what she had to say. I love experiencing the world through the eyes of another person. The love in this family is truly beautiful and inspiring.

I definitely recommend this book.
July 30, 2019
It's almost a cliché to say that a book changed your life, but this book did. As a 57 year old man born and raised in the buckle of the Bible Belt in the 1960s and 1970s, I had very definite thoughts growing up about the LGBTQ+ community... it didn't exist. Years later, it was just confusing and inexplicable.

This book about a real family living real lives made me realize that people are the same inside, regardless of the outer packaging. Amanda Jette Knox has taken a very difficult and sensitive subject and written a touching, at times painful, at time humorous, account of one family's journey through a transition from a traditional family of a mom, dad, and three boys, to a new dynamic of two moms, two boys, and two girls.
Profile Image for Lily Herman.
569 reviews590 followers
June 11, 2020
Welp, my gal pal Mackenzie continues to be magical when it comes to book recs; Amanda Jette Knox's Love Loves Here was the Bad Bitch Book Club's June 2020 pick, and it was excellent.

Amanda Jette Knox's writing reminds me of the blogging days of yesteryear; it's filled with empathy, warmth, informality, and humor, all of which add to her family's powerful story. She's honest about the plethora of mistakes she's made over the course of her life when it comes to understanding topics like gender and sexuality, and I also appreciated her vulnerability about her own hopes and fears as both her child and her partner came out as trans.

I'd say the only thing this book could've used a little more of was an ultra-explicit conversation about the intersectional identities of trans people in terms of race, class, religion, and other demographics. There were hints of it throughout the book (like when she mentioned the privilege of having healthcare costs covered for certain medical procedures), and I think that would've strengthened an already solid memoir.

Love Lives Here is especially impactful for those who are just beginning to learn more about the experiences of trans people and their loved ones in our world, and I definitely recommend this book.

Content warning: Transphobia, homophobia, self-harm, suicidal ideation, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, bullying, physical violence
Profile Image for Alison.
5 reviews2 followers
July 27, 2019
I could not put this book down. There is so much love in this family. We can all take a lesson from the pages within. Thank you Knox family for living your lives openly and doing the emotional work. You certainly personify “Lead with Love”.
Profile Image for Katy.
304 reviews
January 28, 2020
This book was long listed for Canada Reads 2020 along with fourteen others. I selected some of the fifteen books I wanted to read and proceeded to place holds at the library on a few books. In the meantime, the short list came out and this book did not make the cut, but it was the first of my holds to become available, so I decided I’d read it anyway.

The theme for this year’s Canada Reads is “One book to bring Canada into focus”. On the website it continues and states “How do we move forward together?”

Well, Amanda Jetté Knox is one courageous persistent and generous woman. I am convinced her entire family is rather brave and should be applauded for openly and publicly telling this story. Regardless of how you feel about the LBGTQ community this story tells how we move forward in a positive, accepting and loving manner as the trans community continues to become more open and public.

Amanda was a stay at home mom and well known blogger in the Ottawa area. It is no secret that the book tells the journey of her family when the middle of Amanda’s three sons comes out at age eleven, and she does everything in her power to support the transition and the move forward. Everything she does starts with love. She goes to bat for her daughter at every opportunity. Amanda researches where to find assistance and how best to make her daughter feel comfortable while educating others on how they can be accepting and respectful of her daughter. This is a highly challenging and exhausting undertaking. Amanda’s husband, while supportive, is not as active in this pursuit.

Within months of Alexis coming out, Amanda’s husband follows suit. Amanda is determined to keep the family together as it is in everyone’s best interest. How she does this is again no small feat.

Through these two journeys, running side by side like tracks for a railroad, she proceeds to enlighten her blog readers, her friends and family, the school system, the medical community (who had little experience in some cases with such a young trans person), and then her wife’s place of work, and the list goes on. She is approached by the media and after thinking this through, she enlightens them as well. There is yet more to the story, but she tells it in such great storytelling fashion that you should just read it!

The book is well written, in that she provides background where needed and at appropriate times, she reveals her trials and tribulations without throwing anyone under the bus, she uses flashbacks effectively, and she mixes humour in appropriate doses to offset the heavy reproach regularly received by the family, friends and the public. Her persistence and love pays off and she wins many of them over to the side of acceptance and respectfulness.

Hats off to this author for bringing so many issues to light, and to enlightening so many along the way. She has brilliantly used her blogging and social media, and now her book to do her advocacy work as a change maker. Opening doors and opening eyes and opening minds. She is clearly helping her community to move forward and enlightening the rest of us to focus on how we are more alike than different....and she does it through the universal language of love.

Although I have only so far read one of the five finalist books for Canada Reads 2020, this book should clearly have been vying for the title. I thought of giving it 4.5 stars to leave room in my mind for one of the remaining four books I haven’t read to take the Crown in my own personal Canada Reads race, but I can’t imagine what else this author could have done to improve this story... so 5 stars it is!... and of course... a rainbow! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 🌈 💕
Profile Image for Jessica Woodbury.
1,639 reviews2,155 followers
October 8, 2019
Sometimes I will say with a little negativity that a book is "Trans 101" but the honest truth is that we need Trans 101 sometimes. There are still a lot of people in the world who have never met an out trans person, who have uninformed and bigoted ideas about them. And for those people, we need some accessible, relatable Trans 101 stories. It isn't even bad if some of them are by cis people, because presenting that cis lens and showing by example when to speak up and when it's not about you can be helpful for someone who's just getting started.

Knox's book is a solid entry in the Trans 101 genre. While Knox herself, a cis woman, is the center of the story, she does so many things right that a lot of cis people get wrong. She does not deadname. She only misgenders when she is discussing misgendering. She sees her wife and daughter as two beautiful, whole women. She also reels when each of them comes out and talks through the experience as a spouse and parent while still making it clear that this is more about the trans person than it is about their cis friends and family.

This is the kind of book I'd recommend for people looking to educate friends and family about trans issues and to help them understand the role of cis family and allies. For those more deeply involved in the LGBTQ+ community, it will indeed feel like Trans 101, but a good tool to have for the right audience.
591 reviews
December 1, 2019
I have mixed feelings about this memoir. It is an important subject, and her story is very very unique, and yet I found her annoying, narcissistic, lacking in certain boundaries that would protect her family, and almost condescending at times to other members of the queer community, who has not had her exact experiences but of course have had many experiences of homophobia, mis-gendering, transphobia, and the like. I think she is a bit ignorant about the hetero privilege she has traded in, so to speak, but which lingers in the way she tells her story. I'm glad she wrote it, and I guess I am glad I read it, but some of her decisions feel reckless for her children. Plus, her sense of her own awesomeness really grated after a while. I guess I wish her trans kid or spouse had written this from their perspectives, or at least had had their own alternating chapters. It would have been a much better book, and might have avoided some of the annoying "I'm not trans but I am going to tell you how it is" tone. It is not exactly her writing that bugs me, it is something about her role in the story and/or her personality itself. Does not compare favorably to Susan Faludi's In the Darkroom, which is a MUCH better book on similar themes.
Profile Image for MissBecka Gee.
1,603 reviews639 followers
March 26, 2020
I went into this with little info.
I expected a mom's thoughts on her transitioning child's journey and how it affected the family.
While it did have that...
She conveys so much more emotion than I expected.

Amanda is extremely honest in her thoughts and feelings without becoming wishywashy or harsh.
Perfect balance of facts and fun in an extremely conversational format (I did audio).
Something I think ALL my friends should read!!!
Profile Image for Kathleen.
915 reviews
June 28, 2020
Love Lives Here: A Story of Thriving in a Transgender Family by Amanda Jette Knox was long listed for CANADA READS 2020, but did not make the short list.
My favourite quote in this book is on page 199: –
"I spoke about leading with love and letting everything else fall into place. I spoke about the thorny path of advocacy, but said I would walk it until the day I died for my child. As I spoke, the giant screens on each side of the stage showed one of my recent tweets: "I used to not want to rock the boat, but I think I tipped it over a long time ago and am now using it as a battering ram."

####### SPOILER ALERT. #######

"All Amanda Jette Knox ever wanted was to enjoy a stable life. While her mother and stepfather were loving parents, the household was sometimes chaotic. At school, she was bullied mercilessly, and at fourteen, she completed a program for alcohol addiction.
As a teenager, she met the love of her life. They wed when Jette Knox was twenty; the first of three children followed shortly. Jette Knox finally had the stability she craved - or so it seemed. Their middle child struggled with depression, and Jesse Knox was unprepared when a child she knew as her son came out as transgender at age eleven. Shocked, but knowing the importance of supporting her daughter, Jesse Knox became an ardent advocate for trans rights.
But the story wasn't over. For years, Jette Knox had coped with her spouse's chronic unhappiness, which was taking a toll on their marriage. About a year after their child came out, her partner also came out as transgender. Jette Knox searched for positive examples of marriages surviving transition. When she found none, she determined that her family would become one.
The shift was challenging, but slowly the family noticed they were happier. Told with remarkable candour, humour, and insight into the challenges trans people face, Love Lives Here is a story of transition, frustration, support, acceptance, and, of course, love. "
- Quote from inside flap cover
Love Lives Here is a memoir of embracing two trans people in a family that leads with love.
Profile Image for Lara Lillibridge.
Author 4 books77 followers
June 10, 2019
Times I full on cried: 8
Times I laughed out loud: too many to count

Amanda Jette Knox's memoir about having a trans child and a trans spouse alternates between first person POV Amanda’s story and 3rd POV for her wife’s story. Written with barefaced honesty—Knox never tries to make herself look good, and it is the recounting her own missteps that make this book so meaningful. We all screw up, we all fail our loved ones in big and small ways no matter how hard we try, but if we keep trying, we will get there eventually. That’s the hope of this book. We travel with her through the initial discomfort and bumbling missteps to a place of advocacy, peace, and acceptance.

Through it all, Knox's self-deprecating humor carries us. This book will warm your heart and renew your faith in love.

Thanks, Net Galley, for a free digital copy in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Ann Douglas.
Author 52 books151 followers
June 3, 2019
I was lucky enough to receive an advance reading copy of this book, which is scheduled for release in August. Here’s a copy of the endorsement I provided to the book’s publisher, Viking Canada: “Love Lives Here is a fiercely courageous story about the power of unconditional love. It’s an unflinchingly honest memoir that is one part thriller and one part love story — a book that demands to be read from cover to cover and to be shared with the people you love.”

Yes, I loved the book that much.
Profile Image for Brandon Forsyth.
899 reviews150 followers
November 9, 2019
An incredible story, told with remarkable honesty and staggering vulnerability. A great resource or introduction to transgender issues for those like me who are new to the topic. A spirit of unconditional love suffuses these pages, and it’s the kind of narrative we need more of in these divisive times.
Profile Image for Kara Babcock.
1,952 reviews1,293 followers
April 25, 2020
If I had read this book last year shortly after it came out, I would be writing this review from the position of a cisgender man and, like Amanda Jetté Knox, hopefully a trans ally trying to educate himself. Instead, I recently came out as transgender, not too long after having the epiphany that I am a trans woman (I’m still trying to work out the precise language I want to use to describe that experience—but that’s for another blog post). So I picked up Love Lives Here: A Story of Thriving in a Transgender Family because I wanted to see other perspectives on coming out. In particular, I’m quite interested in stories of people who, like me, come out later in life rather than as teenagers or very young adults. Finally, as I wade into some trans spaces online, I want to be able to bring my love of books to bear when it comes to recommending trans-friendly and trans-supportive books to my fellow trans friends and cis allies—and that means I need to read more!

Who is this book for, by the way? Despite its heavy focus on the transition of her daughter and her wife, Love Lives Here really is Jetté Knox’s memoir and really is about her. Although Jetté Knox shares some key moments in Alexis and Zoe’s stories, this book does not chronicle their experiences in detail—nor should it, of course, because that’s not Jetté Knox’s story to tell. So, is this book for potential allies, or is this book for trans people looking for some love and support? Who should read this?

The facile answer would be “everyone,” and it’s also true, although as I often tell my English students, somewhat uninteresting. As someone who is still very much recalibrating her mindset from “cis male ally” to “trans woman,” I feel like I can bridge these potential audiences and almost see the book from both perspectives.

For trans readers, this book may be difficult at times. I’d also add that cis people might find parts of this book triggering too. Jetté Knox mentions this up front, adding in content/trigger warnings not just for transphobic incidents but also when she discusses her history with alcohol and sexual abuse. But for trans readers in particular who have struggled with being closeted for much of their lives, reliving Zoe and Alexis’ experiences through Jetté Knox’s eyes might be a bit much in some cases. However, I’m not saying this because I want to discourage you from reading it. On the contrary, for most trans people, I think this book will feel like a warm blanket. Just have a box of tissues next to you, because you will cry a lot, happy tears and sad ones. Love Lives Here is a reassuring balm to the firehose of transphobic and trans-exclusionary rhetoric that spaces like Twitter inculcate. I’ll be spending the rest of my review discussing the book from my perspective.

For cis readers, you could not really do better than this book when it comes to learning about being an ally. Jetté Knox is refreshingly honest and open about her internalized transphobia and her missteps in her reactions to her daughter and wife coming out. I think “you will screw up and have to apologize and learn but that doesn’t make you a bad person” is a very important message that cisgender people need to hear (and internalize) if they are going to be good allies. Jetté Knox tries very hard not to self-aggrandize or sugarcoat how she handles what transpires (pun intended). When someone close to you comes out as trans, no matter how supportive you think you are of trans right, it’s totally understandable for it to be a shock.

Love Lives Here reminds all readers that life is a constant learning process. Friction comes about when one is confronted by an unexpected change, and instead of pausing to take in that change and re-evaluate one’s attitude, one reacts instinctively, perhaps even lashes out, because the change is so startling. This book reminds us that it is important to take time, and to have faith that even if you don’t understand something right now, you will eventually get there in the end.

As a memoir, this book is about more than Jetté Knox’s adaptation and adjustments to having a trans child and partner. Those are obviously very important, but we also learn about her growth and the challenges she faces as her family relocates a couple of times and has to put down new roots. In particular, I was really fascinated by how Jetté Knox realizes that she constructed her sense of self around the identity of being “a good mother,” and that some of her apprehension regarding Alexis’ transition was rooted in how this affected her self-worth as a mother. That’s probably (I don’t know, I’m not a parent) something many parents can empathize with. She also discusses how the transition of two people in the family affect the other two children, both in the sense of the worries she projects on these children as well as the collateral damage that might happen as a result of being a high-profile trans-inclusive family.

Indeed, Love Lives Here is a chronicle in many ways of Jetté Knox’s personal journey from thinking of herself merely as an ally to being an an accomplice. (For more on allyship versus accomplice, this article is a good primer. And I want to recommend this site specifically for being an accomplice around racial justice, although that is not the topic of this book. The entire framework originates from anti-racist/anti-colonialist work done by Indigenous Action.) Not everyone who has a transgender family member ends up speaking and writing about trans rights, of course, but there are plenty of other ways to become an accomplice. It’s a matter of moving from “I support you/trans people in general” to “I will actively work to make the world around you a better place and remove the unfair institutions that oppress you.”

It is honestly so reassuring and wonderful that even in the short time since Alexis came out around 2014/2015, we have moved forward here in Canada and Ontario when it comes to accepting trans people. Jetté Knox observes that 2014 was really the beginning of a surge in trans visibility and acceptance, and I agree. When I came out publicly (by which I mean on social media, because that’s my version of “public”!) and at work at the end of February, I was inundated with love and support. My work has very explicit policies around how to include trans students; I was a little apprehensive because I couldn’t find any policies regarding trans staff, but turns out we have a dedicated “human rights and equity advisor” who, bonus, knows what she’s doing. So even in the span of a few years, supports and access have measurably improved. It still isn’t good enough—there is still far too much violence against trans people, and as the TPL kerfuffle demonstrates, still too many people who think trans rights are up for debate. But it is getting better.

But if it’s getting better, that’s because of people like Jetté Knox, and hopefully you too, dear reader. Love Lives Here is an example of why advocacy, activism, and accomplices are so crucial. Perhaps the most important takeaway from the book, something that Jetté Knox repeats a few times and with which I heartily agree, is this: the hardship and struggles that trans people face are never a result of being transgender. These struggles are a result of the society around us not accepting us. The solution will never be to change transgender people, to question our certainty, to ask us to take a seat or maybe not be so loud about our transness. If you really do support trans rights, then you need to work towards changing society until it supports us. When trans people are loved and supported, and when we work towards a better future together, the world is better for all of us. Jetté Knox makes it clear that working through this challenging time with her family has improved her personally, whether it involves coming to terms with her own sexuality or growing as a person and a self-made professional.

One final thing to discuss: the role of allies and accomplices in taking up space. Certainly I was a little apprehensive going into this book. As Jetté Knox acknowledges in the preface, it’s not her place to take up space in the conversation around gender identity. When you take on that accomplice mantle but don’t share that particular marginalization, you run the risk of taking up space that should be given to those who have that identity. Should I be reading a book by a cis person about transgender issues? Seems like a strange decision.

In my opinion, Jetté Knox avoids most of the pitfalls that even the most well-intentioned ally can fall into when speaking up about these issues. As previously mentioned, Love Lives Here really is the memoir it claims to be, and I think that’s very important. This is definitely a book about trans rights, but it is a book about trans rights wrapped up in a very specific story of one Canadian family adjusting to two people coming out and told from the perspective of one of its cisgender members. Jetté Knox is very careful to try to give back space when possible and point out where her voice can’t go; it sounds like she consulted carefully with her daughter and her wife when it comes to how much information she should include in this story. Ultimately, I would hope that cis people who read this don’t come away thinking, “Oh, cool, I can go out there and speak all about trans issues everywhere!” That’s definitely not what Jetté Knox is saying. Love Lives Here is an exemplar but not a blueprint for advocacy. That has to come from within, from your particular circumstances.

I’m still reeling a little bit from my abrupt pivot and coming out, to be honest. I’m struggling to understand what my new public gender identity means for how I interact with the world—and as a recent blog post explains, the current situation in the world complicates this! So I came to Love Lives Here looking for some reassurance, perhaps—and I found it—and maybe some answers. Of course, that is a bit much to ask of any single book; I need to write the answers for myself, and I know that they will probably be years in coming. Nevertheless, this was a really good place to start.

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Profile Image for Magdelanye.
1,672 reviews210 followers
February 15, 2020
Here's a step by step guide to being awesome. p225

Not that a sex change is a guarantee of awesomeness; but AJK is not claiming that. What is awesome to be taken away after the book has been read, is the unconditional love that this family shares. The irony is that both AJK and her partner, when they first fell in love, married to be normal. For a long time it appeared that they were right on track; three kids and all the trimmings. But if the norm is not real, it will not endure.

That their marriage has not only endured but thrived as a result of their courageous commitment to their truth, is celebrated in the title. It wasn't entirely easy, but without the acceptance and critical support, it could have been a much darker outcome for the whole family.

When we're trying to change the world, love must be our foundation. Hate is loud and violent, but it burns out quickly. Love is quieter and slower, but more resilient. p275
Profile Image for ❀ Susan G.
704 reviews54 followers
January 16, 2020
Wow!! What a loving family. I am thankful that they were willing to share their story, their challenges, their knowledge and their love with others.

As part of the Canada Reads long-list, it is another book that will move readers to a place of understanding and, hopefully, less judgement than seems to exist in society.

I am thankful to have read, learned and witnessed the love of a family through this book and think it would be a great memoir as part of Canada Reads!
748 reviews7 followers
July 28, 2020
This book's tone frustrated me. Perhaps it was that it was so overly bright and cheery. She was horribly bullied and then as an adult just walks right up to one of her bullies in the grocery store and chats her up as a lesson to her kid. I guess I'm not that highly evolved yet. It also seems like she played coy with the details like her wife's surgery. She had one...but she won't tell you which one and how dare you be so obsessed with genitals anyway?! She glosses over the family from Finland that they sheltered and the child they adopted late in the book. I'm thinking, come on, all this had to be stressful. Things had to be happening with your other children. There is very, very little about her sons in this book, except that they are wonderful and accepting people. I'm wondering about their side of the story. It's gotta be exhausting to put that much effort into supporting someone else's emotional well-being, doesn't it? If your partner dissolves because the clerk at a drive thru calls her "sir?" That's what I'd like to know more about the stressful stuff she kind of glossed over, the people in her family who got short shrift because she was occupied with advocating. (Full disclosure: I have a sister who was born with severe medical issues that occupied all my parents' attention. I always had to be okay because I recognized my parents were overwhelmed by my sister's needs.) I think this might be a dynamic at play in a transgender households as well. For the cis child/spouse they have to swallow any need, pain, concern, or frankly any negative emotion they have because everyone is more concerned about the well-being of the trans person, how the trans person will be shattered, spiral, descend into dysphoria or depression because of some occurrence. I'd really love to see a book about the complexity of being cis in a trans family that isn't all roses and sunshine because my life experience indicates that they likely ignored, at least some, of the needs of their cis children and they faced their own struggles because of it.
Profile Image for Jennifer M..
422 reviews3 followers
July 3, 2019
To be perfectly honest with you, I had no idea what Love Lives Here was going to be about. I picked it solely on the title. Then I started it. And wow, my heart fills so full after reading.

LLH is about a family. It's a family who goes through challenges that most people do not. If you are not someone who loves or accepts transgender people, then this book probably isn't for you. Or maybe it is. Maybe you want to learn more of the daily struggles or just find that you want to be more accepting.

This book will help you realize trans people are people just like the rest of us. All of us with our challenges and struggles and hoops we have to jump through. I loved this book so much for helping me love my fellow humans even more. This is the type of book that makes you feel all the emotions, but most importantly, hope.
Profile Image for J.H. Moncrieff.
Author 26 books242 followers
June 21, 2020
This book is a sucker punch to the heart.

I can't remember the last time I loved a book this much, but it's been a long while. Beautifully told and incredibly moving, Knox's account of "leading with love" when both her child and then her spouse come out as transgender is something everyone should read.

Sometimes it's an incredibly painful read--the horrific bullying Knox endured as a child, and then the agony her spouse and child suffered before, during, and after they began their transitions is emotionally excruciating--but the overall theme is love and hope, and there's plenty of both.

"Some of the names and pronouns have changed, but the love remains the same."

I wish everyone would read this book, as only a stone wouldn't be moved by this story. Even though one of my dearest friends is trans, this memoir still opened my eyes to so much I had never considered.

My one teeny quibble, and why I think of this book as 4.5 stars rounded up instead of a solid 5, is that it was a bit like the Lord of the Rings movie--just when you thought it was over, there was another chapter...and another...and another. But that's a very small nitpick. This book is a masterpiece, and I hope it makes a difference in the lives of those who need it.
Profile Image for Danielle.
327 reviews10 followers
May 5, 2019

This is such a raw and heartfelt book about a family who just happens to include two trans members. It took a lot of courage to take her family’s story out in the open. Amanda’s story comes from such love. After dealing with so much bullying, heartbreak and grief, they have landed in the life they are meant to live, authentically and non-apologetically.
It is 2019 and this is a necessary read.
Congrats Amanda and your family for this love letter. It will help so many people who are afraid to live who they really are and those who want to support them. I understand so much more now.

Love Wins.
Profile Image for Christopher.
15 reviews2 followers
August 12, 2019
This is one of the most important and powerful books I've read in a long time. I was sucked in from the first page and couldn't put it down. She inspires, provides tools, and tells stories that will leave you crying tears of joy and pain. I highly recommend it and will be passing along my copy and purchasing copies for others. It's a message so many people need to hear, and Amanda tells it so well.
Profile Image for Jenn.
150 reviews6 followers
December 7, 2019
I was so happy that Chapters sent my pre-order a little early! I read it in one sitting. It made me cry at times but by the end they were happy tears. It's a wonderful story of how love endures and what defines family. It was exactly the uplifting read I needed.
Profile Image for Bookworm.
1,004 reviews146 followers
November 12, 2020
Honestly what to say about this book??? Loved it! Authentic, sincere, from the heart...wow! The way in which Amanda shares her own and her family’s experiences was raw and powerful. I learned so much about transgendered folks and their challenges such as dysphoria. The respect with which she describes everyone in her story, including the bully who tormented her as a child, was honourable. Mental health is also a main theme, which she manages to make relatable. She is a gifted writer and a fantastic advocate for LGBTQ+. The world needs more people like Amanda.

This book in particular was a fabulous read. It flowed well and touched me emotionally. I felt transformed by the end of it. I listened to the audio version and it was performed incredibly well. I felt like I was there with Amanda, witnessing her life. Absolutely recommend!
Profile Image for Keri.
162 reviews3 followers
January 6, 2023
An incredible memoir. I really appreciate and respect that the author was honest about her feelings, mistakes, and growth throughout her child and spouse’s transitions. So much change in one household could have easily broken this family, but instead they chose love, patience, and grace.

The transgender community is something I’m unfamiliar with and have so many questions but never really knew where to start or how to understand. I think Love Lives Here was the perfect place to begin for me, and anyone else looking to learn more and be an ally.

CW: transphobia, depression and anxiety, suicidal ideation, self harm, addiction
Profile Image for Carolyn.
439 reviews17 followers
October 7, 2022
This was a remarkable and powerful memoir. I can’t recommend it enough; it’s simply splendid. The writing is smooth and real, honest and raw. It is very personal, and Knox tells her family story, as well as her own difficult backstory, with an openness and humility that draws out emotion and compassion. She truly opened my eyes and heart to gender identity issues, and I learned so much despite already considering myself, in theory, an ally of the LGBTQIA+ community. Our society can be so needlessly cruel and judgmental. Books like this can help foster understanding and acceptance, not simply “tolerance”. This book was uplifting and transforming. Read it.
Profile Image for Maggie Cavanaugh.
141 reviews15 followers
June 19, 2020
This was a great memoir, with a unique perspective, and I learned a lot! I didn’t realize how much I didn’t know about things like deadnaming and gender dysphoria (I had no idea a trans person had to be diagnosed in order to receive medical treatments!) Shout out to Bad Bitch Book Club for this pick, very much looking forward to the discussion with AJK herself.
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