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Rethinking Normal: A Memoir In Transition by Katie Rain Hill

by Catherine Van Bergen (follow)
Non fiction (64)      Memoir (25)      Autobiography (17)      LGBT (13)      Transgender (2)     


From birth, we usually have an identifying gender stereotype placed on us- baby boys get a lot of blue items and baby girls are surrounded in pink. If not for these colour allocations, many people would be hard-pressed to tell whether the new child is a boy or a girl, as the child would appear androgynous depending on its clothing and surrounds. As we get older, it becomes easier to distinguish genders through clothing, attributes and characteristics, yet some people are not always comfortable with their bodies and the gender that they are ‘supposed’ to represent. This was the case for Katie Rain Hill, who knew from an early age that she was ‘in the wrong body’. Having been born as Lucas, Katie knew in her heart that she was a girl, but life had physically trapped her in a boy’s figure. As a very feminine-looking young boy, and with the desires and wishes of a young girl, Katie felt conflicted about her gender, and as a result, was often bullied by the other children at school for being different. As she grew older, her father (a former Major in the US Marine Corps) gradually distanced himself from her as she showed less inclination for male-based activities. Worrying that she may be gay, she approached her mother for help several times but got no response. At the age of eight, these conflicting emotions led her to attempt to take her own life- an act she was obviously unsuccessful in doing.

Struggling with severe depression, and having visited countless psychiatrists and doctors to treat her psychological issues, Katie decided to do some online research and after a while discovered a term that was to change her life forever- transgender. Katie now had a name to describe her ‘condition’ and evidence to support herself. She once again approached her mother, explaining her feelings and describing everything she felt in relation to her new transgender revelation. Despite her obvious confusion and worries, Katie’s mother chose to support her decision to come out as a transgender teen, helping Katie to make the transition as smoothly as possible. She aided her in getting her name legally changed to Katie Rain Hill, she helped her tell the rest of their less-than-broad-minded relatives, she assisted her in finding new clothing and in her makeup application, and made inquiries into very expensive surgery and hormone replacement. She also looked into support groups for LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) people, and they were able to join a strong community in their area.

This first-person memoir follows Katie’s often difficult journey in her struggle to be ‘normal’. While some may think that her life-changing decision to physically become a girl is a bit extreme, you only have to read her story to realise that it was the best (and only) option for her to feel truly comfortable in herself. Her story is honest, confronting and eye-opening and she doesn’t hold back in telling about her surgery, her experiences and her navigation of the dating world as a transgender teen. This book is both inspiring and informative, and is a beneficial read for anybody, regardless of their sexual orientation or the gender that they identify with.


Rating: 4/5
Published: October 2014

#Non Fiction
#Memoir
#Autobiography
#LGBT
#Transgender
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