When we are in school, we study William Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience. Elijah C. Nealy’s most recent contribution to LGBT academic study combines both in his latest book Transgender Children and Youth. Subtitled, “Cultivating pride and joy with families in transition”. Nealy sums up the whole package with haiku-style simplicity — when we celebrate all families and provide the love and encouragement all children need to thrive, not merely survive, and we are all elevated.
While many who have been active in LGBT movements for some time may feel we know all there is to know, Nealy gently exposes gaps in the matrix of our understanding of one another. He gently guides us through the shoals of emotion with scholarly mien by going back to basics, then building on what has gone before.
Part 1, is Foundations for Understanding Transgender Youth. There are powerful forces at work that may put what a child learns at home in conflict with the cues received from the world, and the culture in which we live.
Part 2, is Trans Youth and the World Around Them. We are all connected, not just in the metaphysical spiritual sense, but also culturally and cross-culturally.
While Lesbian, Gay and Bi people understand that coming out is a continual process; it is that much more so for transgender youth. Many do not have support or resources.
Finally, Part 3, is Supporting Trans Youth. While this volume is weighty reading, take time to digest it bit by bit. The world that the struggle for LGBT recognition and rights has created and has helped more trans children and youth recognize who they are. There are a host of options available. The more we understand how to support all children, the greater, and happier is the world we create.
Dr. Nealy has given those of us hungry for facts and science the information we devour in order to understand the world around us. The more we know, the greater we are as a community in creating space and change for a better world.
Buy the book, take your time, and give the book as a gift. What it gives in return is greater still.