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Mom, I need to be a girl

By Just Evelyn: editor Dawn Trook,

Book review kindly provided by by Dr Tracie O'Keefe DCH

This is a book that made me laugh several times and, at other times, feel very proud of the transsexual's mother who wrote it. Just Evelyn discovered that her child Daniel was identifying as a transsexual when he apprehensively revealed that information to her at the age of fifteen. Without any knowledge of the subject she embarked on what can only be described as a crusade to get her child treated hormonally and surgically as soon as possible while keeping them in school.

This resulted in Danielle being a post-operative transsexual in her final year in an American high school. Just Evelyn makes no bones about the way that she had to be very devious at times with the authorities and the inflexible state and legal systems, to afford her transsexual child all the advantages and human rights that should have been hers automatically. In fact Danielle and Just Evelyn together sought to work the system on the advice of the radical campaigner and well known Texas transsexual lawyer Phyllis Randolph Fry. I guess I identified with this book so much because for me, having been in exactly the same position as Danielle, I would have given my eye teeth for the kind of Mother Just Evelyn was to her child, courageous, relentless, protective and determined that her child would continue in education.

There were of course members of her family like the Father who rejected Danielle's transsexual status, grieved for his son but refused to accept his daughter. The grandparents and cousins on the other hand accepted, embraced and welcomed Danielle. Just Evelyn, who basically had no financial resources worked, saved, borrowed, begged and plundered her credit cards to get the treatment her child so desperately needed before she grew anymore.

Along the way she criticizes greatly many of the clinicians that she encountered - like counsellors who demanded psychometric testing which has had no proven advantage in the diagnosis of sex and gender dysphoria, and seemed to take up time doing little if anything at all for Danielle and her family.

The vultures, as Just Evelyn calls them, do need to be criticized in many ways but perhaps she goes a little too far. When a clinician takes on a client who identifies as sex and gender dysphoric they have a responsibility to that client to ensure that the ideation is constant, stable and is unlikely to change, post transition. I have personally encountered many people who were incredibly convincing in role, and identified as transsexual, but who later have changed their minds. So every clinician walks a tightrope in this respect, and they must help their clients in accordance with the likelihood of probabilities, but never impinge or hold back that client's potential.

This is a good book. One where both Mother and daughter have become outspoken and very public activists for the transgender movement, by exposing us to their story and innermost secrets. Perhaps any parent who has a child with sex or gender issues could benefit enormously from reading this book. Also children and teenagers who are in that position can use the book as a tool to educate others about their plight. One of the things that comes across very strongly through this moving story is that any parent who bonds more with their child after they have disclosed about sex and gender identity issues can find that the support, help and love they give them will help that person to become the best possible person that they can be.

Published by Walter Trook Publishing, Imperial Beach, California, USA, ISBN 0-9663272-09.

To order send an international money order for $10.00 which includes tax, shipping and handling to: Just Evelyn, 3707 Fifth Ave. #413, San Diego, Ca. 92103 Phone 1-800-666-8158

Dr Tracie O'Keefe DCH is a clinical hypnotherapist, psychotherapist, and counsellor formerly practising at The London Medical Centre, Harley Street in the UK. Now the Director of the Sex, Gender, and Sexuality Identity Clinic, at The O'Keefe Institute, Sydney, Australia.
In association with Katrina Fox, she is the author of a number of books, details of which may be found on her website:
Their latest publication is Finding the Real Me: True Tales of Sex & Gender Diversity, published by Jossey Bass Wiley

Published by Pluto Press Ltd , 2005
Paperback: 116 pages,
ISBN 0 9663272 0 9
Copyright GENDYS Network and Dr. Tracie O'Keefe. Page design Jed Bland. 13.02.01 Last amended 28.01.04