BOOK REVIEW: He’s Always Been My Son by Janna Barkin

He’s Always Been My Son

A Mother’s Story about Raising Her Transgender Son

Janna Barkin

This inspiring and moving story, told with great passion and gentle humour gives us the inside story of an extraordinary family. Barkin’s engaging and entertaining prose allows us to gather first-hand experience, frustrations, learning, insight and humour as they recount the emotional and uplifting journey of raising a transgender son.

Janna Barkin’s family has come a long way since their child, Amaya, first told them he was a boy and not a girl and this charming memoir charts the family’s experiences of raising Amaya, from birth through to adulthood.

The book shows us how it’s not just the parenting; but the friends, family, wider community and people living shared lives that all contribute to raising healthy and happy adults.  The books has may different points of view with chapters from Amaya’s grandparents, family and friends sharing personal stories of the support  and learning shared by the wider community and family.

Barkin wisely then brings all this learning and discoveries her family has encountered and provides a ‘care package’ of advice for families facing similar issues. There is a glossary of terms and a list of hand-picked support sources.

Written with warmth and humour, ‘He’s Always Been My Son’ reminds us to accept others for who they are, guiding us in how to support the development of young people into their full adult potential and will offer support and inspire anyone who reads it. Barkins’ story of her family and their adventures in life is wonderfully warm, fun and has a simple clear honesty about it that all parents will be able to connect wit. It’s a balance: the soft unconditional care of motherhood with the gentle academic sifting of hard granite truths from conventional (and unconventional) wisdom that allow gender questioning folk to construct their own firm foundations in life, elicit their own solutions to the problems presented to them and learn from this educator teaching from experience.

As she says herself in her heart-warming, shrewd and candid blog

I feel called to tell our story. Making the decision to go public was a challenging one. I certainly don’t want to put my son, myself, or anyone in danger. But I know my silence would not make the world safer for transgender people. My silence would not provide comfort to other parents, nor tell them they are not alone. And it’s more than that: by sharing our stories, we can give voice to the voiceless. Our family is fortunate for what we have, for where we live, and we are grateful. We have the strong support of our extended family and a wide circle of friends, a great number of loved ones who fully accept our transgender child. We have good jobs and good medical coverage. We are white. We live in an accepting community.

I am humbled to remember every day that not everyone shares these privileges.

Janna’s website is a warm and welcoming place for other parents to lean and use the collated resource’s that they have found over the last few years, although it has a continental USA bias (as the family are American). The info, advice and guidance work for all parents; it’s simple, loving and considerate.

Out now, paperback or e-book. 


For more info or to buy the book see the publisher’s website here




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