Frank, friendly and funny, the Trans Teen Survival Guide will inform, empower and arm transgender and non-binary teens with all the tips, confidence and practical advice they need to navigate their teenage years.
We spoke to authors and trans icons, Owl and Fox Fisher, on the book’s release.
You’ve co-written this book to help gender-questioning young people navigate their teenage years. How would you sum up your teenage years in three words?
Owl: Shame. Isolation. Hope.
Fox: Sad. Challenging. Endurance.
The book includes first-hand stories from other trans and gender variant young people. How important was it to you to have a range of different voices in the book?
It was incredibly important, as we wanted to make sure the community felt included, and that we had a wide range of voices from different backgrounds contributing to this book. The trans community is so vast and has different experiences, and we wanted to give other people a chance to tell their stories and share their experiences. In our mind, getting those stories was one of the most important thing when creating the book.
Did you learn anything surprising or new when you were writing the book?
There are always details or new things to learn about in the trans world – we definitely gained some more information about the specifics of things, and really had to do some research to find out what’s new in terms of binding, packing, how to navigate your way through the systems in terms of name changes or access to health care and so on. But as activists, these were all things we had information on, but writing it down and doing research definitely gave us better insight.
The book includes some ‘awkward trans tales’ from contributors – real life scenarios where things haven’t gone quite to plan. Have you had any awkward situations like those featured in the book?
Owl: Many of those are something we can relate to – even though it might not have been exactly like that. But I think trans people share a commonality with awkward situations, and we can all imagine being in those shoes, or have even been there ourselves.
Fox: The story about leaving your packer at someone’s house is something that happened to me – I once left mine at someone’s house after filming them, and then when I returned to try and find it I found it all mangled up in the garden, covered in mud. It looked like it had a really great night!
The book is not just for teens, but for anyone who’d like to learn more about the trans community and how to be a good ally to trans people. Do you have any suggestions for cis readers on how to best support trans people?
Fox: Buying this book is a good start! There are loads of things people can do. They can support trans organisations by donating money to them, or volunteering for them. They can get involved with activism and events led by trans people. They can also share articles, share words and stories by trans people on social media. It’s also about challenging every day transphobia, such as when someone misgenders someone or says something malicious about trans people. Challenge people and let them know that you don’t agree with statements like that. If someone stands up to them, it might cause them to rethink or re-evaluate their opinion.
Owl: It’s also about supporting trans people personally. If you have a trans person in your life, it’s really important to support them and check in with them. Trans people often struggle in their day to day lives due to stigma and discrimination, and it’s really important that we check in with them, support them and just make them know that you’re there for them.
Do you have any words of advice for teens who are just starting to work out who they are?
There is no right or wrong way to be trans or cis, or just a person in general. We all have our own ways of expressing ourselves, and everyone should have the freedom to express themselves and be their authentic selves. Whatever that might mean. So don’t be afraid to explore and you don’t have to fit a mould. Don’t try to be someone you’re not, because you can only really be yourself.
Click here for more information or to buy a copy of the book.
Fox Fisher and Owl are trans-rights campaigners and the co-founders of trans film project, My Genderation.
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