Book Review #143 – Beyond Magenta, by Susan Kuklin

Hey everyone!

Here is my review for Beyond Magenta, by Susan Kuklin.

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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 preference. Portraits, family photographs, and candid images grace the pages, augmenting the emotional and physical journey each youth has taken. Each honest discussion and disclosure, whether joyful or heartbreaking, is completely different from the other because of family dynamics, living situations, gender, and the transition these teens make in recognition of their true selves.


  • gives voices to trans teens


  • little intervencion from the author makes the bits of the stories and their context feel a bit disconnected
  • that also makes the writing and remarks very childish
  • too rooted on gender roles
  • not really a book for trans teens


In theory, this book sounds amazing. A book that gives voices to trans teens and their stories? Hell yes, count me in. Unfortunately, this was disappointing. From the first story, I knew something wasn’t quite right. In there, it’s told a story of a trans boy. Nothing wrong there. The strange thing was how that the guy’s partner refuses to use the he/him pronouns and still used the she/her, in summary, still treating him like a girl. He seemed ok with it but it left me really uncomfortable. And it sounded utterly disrespectful, especially since the whole correct pronoun thing is very important to other stories in this book. I get it tries to explore different mindsets in transexual people, how there’s not a “right way” to be transgender but it didn’t feel like it did it correctly. Specially since all their experiences are super based on gender roles. Which totally erases many people’s other experiences. Maybe this is because of the teens’ age but it felt a bit reducing. That’s mainly why I think this book needed a bit of an older perspective. Maybe it could have been from the author or, even better, trans adults. This just lacks some tact on the subject it was discussing. Besides, this was just weird to read. Actually, I listened to the audiobook. The different parts of the stories felt really disconnected from each other and the author’s interventions were just random. She wasn’t there at all when suddenly she had something to say or made bits of the story sound like a newspaper article. But there are good things, like the inclusion of non binary teens. Ultimately, this is a book made by a cis person for cis people, about transsexuality. So it doesn’t really gives the subject any justice, in my opinion (which is a cis gender person opinion but anyway). It’s disappointing and definitely not a read I would recommend to trans teens and, to be honest, not even cis gender people for that matter.

Anyway, have you read this? What did you think of it?

See you guys soon,



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