In uncertain times like these, publishing progressive and thought-provoking books at Beacon Press becomes ever more urgent. “One of my great joys at Beacon Press is being able to sign progressive books . . . [that] deserve to be read and debated,” said our editorial director Gayatri Patnaik. Crucially, we sign progressive books to lift up the voices of our marginalized communities. This is true for the continued support needed for the transgender community.
By Mary Collins | I have a transgender son, Donald Collins. Let’s start by erasing the D and make that onald Collins just to show how distorted this sentence becomes with that one edit, with that one irrational erasure. Let us now move on and erase onald and only use Collins, because the Trump Administration wants to define gender solely on the basis of genitalia at birth.
By Mary Collins: I never expected my trans son, Donald, whom I battled with over his medical decisions during his transition in high school and college, would ever agree to pen a collection of essays with me that explored our painful emotional journey—nearly failed journey—as a family.
By Donald Collins: One of my favorite photos of all time is a bewitching 1970 image of a young queer person reclining on the edge of a fountain. Her large coat is pulled down to her forearms, splayed dramatically beneath her. She’s wearing flared slacks, boots, a white tunic-like shirt, and a medallion. Her dark hair is short and boxy; she’s giving photographer Kay Tobin a familiar, clever smile. You can probably see the photo on this page, but it feels almost more meaningful to describe it. I also have a history-crush on her.
By Louis RoeLife as Jamie Knows It is one of the first covers I designed for Beacon, and still one of the covers I’ve presented the most ideas for (only a handful are pictured here). Michael Bérubé provides his reflections on raising his son, Jamie, who has Down syndrome, as his son transitions into adulthood. Several important moments in their relationship take place at a public pool, which is why I was drawn to a blue palette. I also wanted to convey a sense of peeking into this young man’s life and identity; he isn’t summed up by any single part of him, least of all an irregularity in his chromosomes. One of my favorite elements of this cover is a sample of Jamie’s art in the bottom-right corner of the cork board.
By Donald Collins | Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR), observed on November 20th, was started by writer and LGBTQ pioneer Gwendolyn Ann Smith in 1998, after the death of Rita Hester. Hester was a black trans woman, living and working in the Allston neighborhood of Boston. She was found brutally stabbed in her apartment two days before her thirty-fifth birthday, and died on the way to the hospital. Her killer(s) were never caught.
By Mary CollinsIn honor of the word “Awareness” in Transgender Awareness Week, I urge parents in conflict with their trans teen or college student to try their hand at penning an authentic personal essay about how you feel about what’s going on. Pick a specific topic—such as “name change”—and then ask your child to pen his/her/it/they own essay as well.