Beyond Pronouns – Tammy Plunkett

A quick note first here: I come to this book, intended for parents of trans kids that just came out to them, as a 9yr old transmasc. I don’t have kids, but I am trans and non-binary, and I have had no shortage of folk asking me for advice about trans-related stuff; including what to do now their kid has come out. So I believe I approach this book, while not quite as the intended audience, with experience and some expertise in the matter.

Now, with that out of the way, let’s talk about the book.

Plunkett is the parent of a trans boy, and has written this book herself, with his input. He writes his own intro to the book, telling the reader that he has worked with Plunkett to create this.

The book itself is intended as a beginner’s guide to navigating the first 100 days or so after your kid comes out. And Plunkett bares all, in here; the latent transphobia, the fears, the things she messed up, she doesn’t hide any of it, because it all matters, and she’s learned from it. The honesty is refreshing. There’s no “you should do this”, no “you should feel like this”, without an accounting of how she got over each barrier herself.

Plunkett, like many who are faced with a loved one, especially their kid, coming out as trans, discovered transphobia she didn’t even know was there. She found herself bargaining with her kid–maybe he could just be a butch lesbian? Was he really sure he was trans?–because to her mind, being trans was a bad thing. It was painful and confusing and she just wanted her kid to be happy, but how could he be if he was trans?

That’s common. Especially when you go down an internet rabbit hole and wind up with stats about attempted and successful suicides, murder, and transphobes offering not just ways to forcibly stop your kid being trans, but excuses for why as well.

Keep away from the harum scarum. Keep away from mumsnet. Keep away from anyone talking about ‘sex-based rights’ and ‘rogd’ (rapid onset gender dysphoria–it’s not a thing). In short, keep away from anyone, anywhere, that is advocating stopping your kid from being who they’re telling you they are.

Throughout the book, Plunkett uses the female pronoun to discuss things prior to him coming out. She chooses this as being less confusing, and though it must have been approved by her kid, I disagree. You should never, ever misgender someone just because you’re talking about something that happened before you knew they were trans. Don’t do it. Stick to the name and pronouns they have now.

That said, I do understand why that choice was made. Just don’t take it as permission to do this to any trans folk in your life.

Throughout the book, Plunkett offers definitions, advice, and stories of her own journey with her son. It makes the lessons she’s teaching feel less like a lecture, and more of a conversation you’re having with someone who has been where you are. It’s very well done.

Also, Plunkett does a great job of telling you what your kid being trans means and doesn’t mean. No surgery, no hormones, just social transition–name, pronouns, presentation–when they’re ready, and perhaps puberty blockers if that hasn’t started in earnest yet, which gives them time to decide.

All in all, this is a great, accessible, helpful book. If you’ve just had the trans bombshell dropped by your kid and you’re reeling a bit, then this is a book you need to read asap.

Beyond Pronouns was released on June 21st 2022. You can get it from Amazon UK or US, or ask for it at your favourite bookstore or library.

Like the reviews? Buy me a coffee!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.