“Everything was always so dark,” said Ms. Goldstein, an inclusion and diversity consultant. “These kids are thriving and no one is telling their stories.”
The announcement of the books comes against a backdrop of anti-trans sentiment and legislation in states including South Dakota, Arkansas, Arizona and Mississippi. In some states, the issue has led to conflict between Republican lawmakers pushing bills and Republican governors calling for changes to them.
In Arkansas this month, after Gov. Asa Hutchinson vetoed a bill that would have made it illegal for transgender minors to receive gender-affirming medication or surgery, the Republican-led State Legislature overrode his decision. A few weeks later, Gov. Doug Ducey of Arizona vetoed legislation that would have restricted education about sexual orientation and gender identity.
One gender studies expert said the books’ arrival is timely.
“As legislators work on passing laws that attempt to police and punish trans kids, such as the recent spate of scrutiny around trans kids’ participation in sports, it’s crucial that trans kids themselves have a platform,” said Jason Ruiz, an associate professor of American studies at the University of Notre Dame.
“These books provide one,” he said. “Social media and various public relations campaigns play parts, too, but longer form books will allow them to go more deeply and hopefully beyond just tolerance.”
He added that “there’s a lot of potential in listening to trans kids tell their own stories.”
In her book, Ms. Parr described coming out as transgender before starting the eighth grade. She and her parents first told teachers and faculty and then sent a letter to the rest of the school.
“I got so many text messages from my friends saying, ‘I love you for who you are.’ That meant everything to me,” Ms. Parr recalled. “I could be finally be myself for what felt like was the first time.”