Grayson Lee White is a young teen by the end of his memoir, Dotson: My Journey Growing Up Transgender. They started their story at the end (around age 12) but flashback to show us the journey they took. This is an interesting memoir of Grayson’s transition that is told in their own voice. His journey is relatable and understandable, because what he was going through is something we all can feel: such as he felt he didn’t fit in, things were wrong with his body, and most importantly he just wanted to be free to be himself. And when he finally realized that he was a Dotson (which was what he called himself (a daughter and son) before he had the language to really express their feelings) that’s when things opened up.
Because of the reserved, yet open, nature of White’s words, we are able to answer the “awkward” questions we have as people not transiting or might have family or friends who are. Because of this openness, yet they are not “over sharing,” I was really able to have some understanding of what a child could go through. And it allows me to wonder about how things would have been different if they were not born “now.” This subject is mostly out in the open now (but of course, not without controversy), so how much of their feelings come from the fact they didn’t really have to hide themselves for too long. They started some transitions as young as a toddler, seeing doctors to make sure it was not a “phase” and then finding doctors willing to help the transition process medically. Plus, more. This is a thinking book on top of being a nice book to read as well as this reads as a first person novel and not non-fiction.
As an adult who is still learning about sexuality, gender, and more in the GLBTQ community, this was a great way to experience “the other side” of the story. It can be for a younger child about ages eight and up, to read solo so they can also understand a sibling’s, family, friend or even their own journey maybe a little better. Or to be read to almost any age just as a way to open the conversation.
Grayson’s voice is young but mature as they have gone through a lot, thankfully in a very open and lovely environment (there are some lovely scenes with his twin Gabby). It would be interesting to “check in” with them in a few years/during high school and then college. Included is a glossary of terms used or White wants to give us (some their definition and others more mainstream), and other resources. And a quick note about the illustrations of Stephanie Roth Sisson . White said they were expressive of what they wanted to say, which I am excited over as they are pleasant to view and do support White’s story.