It is a strange Pride Month in the UK. Trans rights are threatened as never before, as the governement uses trans people as a handy “other” to draw into its culture war firing line. The reality, that most people believe in equal rights for trans people, seemingly gets lost amid Daily Mail hysteria and ministers adopting extreme anti LGBTQ positions. Indeed LGBTQAAI rights as a whole seem under attack, with the slurs of groomer I thought I had left behind in my youth, resurfacing.
So, it seems very timely to be reviewing a book which is a practical guide to taking good care of your mental health and well being, specifically written with trans/non binary readers in mind. There are plenty of more theorectical texts out there, some aimed at counsellors, others at the lay person. This is easily accessible, even if you know nothing about the topic. Katy’s own stance, as a person centered therapist, a queer person and a non binary person shines out of every page. This is not written about the other, but from a perspective of lived experience. They, as they adage says, write what they know, to great effect.
Divided into nine sections, and a further reading/resource guide, one of the strenghts of the book is it doesnt need to be a cover to cover read. Each section is a through exploration of one topic, including self harm, trauma, depression, self care, anxiety, body image, and suicidal ideation. I particulally like the way the chapter on self care moved a long way from the quite toxic commodification of self care we have seen happen, and included guidence on how to avoid self care itself becoming harmful.
I would recommend this book both to trans/non binary people who either want to read it as a whole, or dip into it for support and ideas when they are struggling. In many ways it is like having a friendly warm counsellor on your book shelf, there when you need them. I would also suggest it as a great starting place for counsellors unfamilar with working with trans/non binary people to get an insight into some of the issues we face. In that vein it may also be very useful for friends, families and partners of trans/non binary people, with the caveat of course that not everyone faces all of these struggles.
In this hostile, and increasingly transphobic world, this book is a very welcome addition to the bookshelf, and can be purchased in hard copy here.