A Mother and Transgender Son Pick Up the Pieces

A co-written memoir that explores the role of family among trans rights activists.
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At the Broken Places: A Mother and Trans Son Pick Up the Pieces.

At the Broken Places: A Mother and Trans Son Pick Up the Pieces.

At the Broken Places: A Mother and Trans Son Pick Up the PiecesMary Collins & Donald Collins
Beacon Press

In this affecting memoir, Mary Collins and her son Donald take turns reflecting on Donald’s teenage realization that he is transgender — and the painful conflicts this brought to their relationship. Donald spent much of his early life unhappy with his body. Once he realized he was a boy, he was eager to make changes: a new name, hormone injections, operations. To his frustration, his mother begged him to slow down, mourning what she felt as the loss of her daughter; when Donald started hormone therapy in college, she banned him from her house. To this day, she remains convinced that trans activists, in their enthusiasm to validate trans identities, are too quick to shut out parents. It seems doubtful that Donald shares this view, but together the duo evokes a moving and hard-won connection that, in Donald’s words, “doesn’t mean forgiveness or acceptance or even agreement of any kind.”

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