I’m now officially a trans elder — or maybe I just feel like one. A new book is out this month from Wilgefortis Press called Letters For My Brothers: Transitional Wisdom in Retrospect, and I’m honored to be one of the contributors.
The book “features essays from respected transmen mentors who share the wisdom they wish they would have known at the beginning of their journey into manhood.” I would say that “respected transmen mentors” means “old trans guys,” but most of the contributors are much younger than I am, and those who aren’t still have a lot more energy than I do.
It really means trans men who have transitioned, lived to tell about it, and are able to look back and provide guys who are just beginning or considering transition with the wisdom of our experience, including things that we might have done differently.
This book is the first of its kind, as far as I know, and I think editors Megan Rohrer and Zander Keig have put together something important and necessary. I remember how terrified I was when I was first gathering information about transition, and even when I “officially” started my transition.
The Internet was very helpful, but Loren Cameron‘s book Body Alchemy: Transsexual Portraits became my bible (or my security blanket — I should have changed my name to Linus), once I finally got up the nerve to buy it. I carried it to work with me to show my colleagues after I came out to them, and I looked through it every day.
Yes, that was 13 years ago, and technology is forever growing, changing, and improving — but there’s still something about holding a treasure in your hands and knowing that there are wonderful things inside (sort of like a newly purchased Snickers bar).
Trans people at first had nothing — no way to communicate, no way to really know that there were others out there who felt the same way that we did, and no real way to know what to do. Then we had a handful of books, hunted down, pored over, read and re-read until the covers bent and the bindings broke. Then more books showed up, then a few Internet sites, and now we are, quite literally, everywhere (we were everywhere before, too, but nobody knew it).
I think this book will definitely outlast me (there are days when I think the leftovers in my fridge will outlast me, but this book definitely will). And trans people still need books — they represent our shared experiences and are tangible records of our existence.
My autographed copy of Body Alchemy is still on my bookshelf. You can have my Snickers bar and my leftovers, but you can’t have that!
(The other contributors, respected names all, are Jamison Green, fAe gibson, Cristopher Bautista, Chase Ryan Joynt, Malcom Himschoot, Lou Sullivan, Reid Vanderburgh, Aaron H Devor, Aaron Raz Link, Patrick M Callahan, Elliott Anthony Brooker, Zander Keig, C.T. Whitley, Raven Kaldera, Tucker Lieberman, Lyle Blake, Keith Josephson, and Elijah Crane, and their individual and collective wisdom cannot be underestimated. I’m honored to be in their company.)