cover image Transitions: A Mother’s Journey

Transitions: A Mother’s Journey

Élodie Durand, trans. from the French by Evan McGorray. Top Shelf, $19.99 trade paper (176p) ISBN 978-1-603-09518-1

This gracious and informative gender primer from Durand (Parenthesis) invites readers along on a parent’s learning curve. Based on interviews with a real family and styled as a graphic narrative, the story focuses on Anne, the mother of a 19-year-old trans man named Alex. To Alex’s revelation that he’s a boy, Anne initially responds, “Did something bad happen to you?” Given that Anne is a professor of animal biology, her shock at the existence of gender-fluidity in her own species seems rather naive. A family therapist notes, “You fear that Alex will be marginalized, but the first and foremost marginalization is family rejection.” The tense relationship between mother and son turns when Alex’s friend attempts suicide, spurring Anne to commit to her “own transition.” She dives into research on gender identity and reminds herself to “call him Alex, at least some of the time.” With time, naming Alex becomes easy; hearing reports of anti-trans hate crimes never does. The main narrative is drawn in simple black-and-white lines, with the exception of Anne’s shock of pink hair. Colorfully drawn flashbacks depict Alex’s early childhood, and abstracted interstitial drawings showcase diverse bodies. Trans-savvy readers may find aspects of the story remedial or problematic (i.e., centering an initially transphobic cis woman). But for parents who relate to Anne—and are open to education against bias—Durand builds a sturdy bridge to acceptance brick by brick. (Nov.)