In today’s world we have an ever-growing selection of LGBTQ+ focused books; however, the pool is still lacking on the transgender front. I am a trans man and have scoured countless shelves to find proper representation.
Luckily, I came across If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo. It tells of a teenage girl growing up in the South who happens to be transgender. The author does an amazing job helping the reader see past her medical label in that Amanda is just a girl trying to navigate high school unscathed.
I also love that the character never lost her Christian faith with all she went through. As a Christian myself, it was something I was pleasantly surprised to see.
This book dealt with heavy topics such as suicide, homophobia, and transphobia. These topics are common in today’s world, and especially so in the queer community. According to The Trevor Project:
Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among young people ages 10 to 24… In a national study, 40% of transgender adults reported having made a suicide attempt. 92% of these individuals reported having attempted suicide before the age of 25.
These numbers are staggering and will only continue to increase if we don’t discuss it and find ways to do better. I’m grateful that Meredith Russo chose to have these facts represented in this novel.
The author allowed readers to see through the eyes of this girl and her transgender experience. The way Russo depicted this character made it very clear that she was female no matter the biology. It did not feel as though the book held a magnifying glass up to Amanda to “prove” her trans-ness; instead, it proved her humanity.
She was shy in the beginning and then as she became comfortable with herself and surroundings, she flourished into a beautifully confident young lady. Amanda made friends, journeyed through high school, fell in love, and not only survived but blossomed. This is what she and many like her wish for every day — the ability to thrive.
If you choose to read this amazing book, it will leave something in you long after you turn the last page. May you be blessed by it.
Alex Burchnell (he/him/his) lives in Johnson City, Tenn., with his husband and pet cats. Enrolled in Emmaus School of Ministry to become an ordained pastor at his LGBTQ+ affirming church, Landmark Worship Center, where he holds a local ministry license. He was the founder of Queer Christian Family Values and has now continued his online ministry through social media as well as in his role as Media Director for LWC. Alex is an avid reader and has a soft spot for books with queer characters.