A Book Review
Enrobed in a pink, white, and blue flag, Juno Dawson’s book, What's the T?, is an accessible, enjoyable, and thorough primer on transgender and nonbinary. It is written for teens but provides helpful information for anyone wanting to learn more about TGNB folx.
Image of book
Vocabulary, History, and Science Lessons
Dawson, a transwoman (she/her), shares her own story of discovering her gender and coming out. Along the way she offers everything you want to know about transgender but hadn’t yet asked. Some of what the reader will learn include:
• Definitions of words like transgender, queer, and binary.
• History of “early pioneers” and famous trans individuals and how people have viewed transgender people over time and in various cultures.
• Characteristics that make up sex: gonads, hormones, external and internal genitalia, and hormones
• Intersex: what it means and some famous intersex people
• “Why” people are transgender (what happens as a fetus is developing)
Dawson combats common misconceptions, such as people with vaginas are female and people with penises are male; there are only two genders; you can’t declare yourself to be a gender; transwomen are just men in dresses; you might change your mind; and medical interventions are irreversible.
Besides teaching vocabulary, history, and science, Dawson provides helpful advice on coming out, presenting, and passing. She discusses common issues trans people face and how to handle them: transphobia, microaggressions, and nosy questions. Other chapters explore transitioning, love and dating (and sex), marriage, and babies. She includes a chapter written to parents and allies.
Her text is easy to access, enjoyable to read. Her style is “frank and funny”, weaving in the voices of many other trans individuals. What’s the T? covers the questions many TGNB people and allies wonder about.