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Across the country, as trans-identified and gender non-conforming children and teenagers are supported in living their affirmed gender identities, many are finding their anthem in an illustrated songbook by Phyllis Rothblatt:
Mixed Diversity Reads Children’s Book Reviews’ Interveiw with Phyllis Rothblatt
Omilaju Miranda of Mixed Diversity Reads Children’s Book Review who fell in love with the book upon reading it, had the pleasure of speaking with author, activist, and child and family therapist, Phyllis Rothblatt about her book and the victories and challenges of the movement to respect (not just tolerate) the identities of gender creative and gender non-conforming children and teenagers.
MDRCBR: What Inspired You to Write All I Want To Be is Me?
Rothblatt: I knew a lot of children who didn’t fit inside of typical gender boxes— they expressed their gender identity in more fluid ways, or, perhaps they didn’t identify as either a boy or girl. I knew children who felt like a blend of both genders, and those who felt that their body didn’t match who they really are inside and that they are really the other gender. I didn’t see anything available in children’s literature that affirmed or reflected these gender creative kids or their experiences. I wrote, All I Want To Be Is Me for these kids- they inspired me. Their intense determination to be themselves, even when no one else understood them or supported them- I found that inspiring and so courageous.
Imagine a world where it’s no big deal to be transgender, a safe space for everyone. I Am Jazz is the kind of children’s book that brings us closer to that world.
With a matter-of-fact and endearing voice, Jazz explains her journey to getting everyone around her to accept her identity. The book begins like any other children’s book about a little girl: Jazz’s favorite color is pink, and she likes dancing, singing, soccer, and mermaids. The turning point comes after Jazz introduces her best friends, Samantha and Casey, with whom she enjoys cartwheels and trampolines. “But I’m not exactly like Samantha and Casey,” she continues, “I have a girl brain but a boy body. This is called transgender. I was born this way!” Even as a toddler, Jazz tried to correct her mother when she called her a good boy. “No, Mama. Good GIRL!” (more…)