The Israeli children’s book shelves will be expanded with a new children’s book, the first of its kind, that will deal in its entirety with the subject of being transgender.
“I Just Want to be Me” is the name of the book that contains three stories of children. Two stories are presented from the perspective of transgender children, “born in the wrong body and trying to find a solution to the challenge they are faced with,” says writer Galit Tzuk. “They don’t know what to say, who to talk to, and they debate among themselves about the subject”. The third story is called “Abbit” and tells the story of a girl whose father comes out and tells her he is a woman. In response, the girl tries to digest this information and then tries make up a name other than the name “Abba” (‘Daddy’), that is no longer relevant. Thus is born the new name, Abbit.
The decision of Galit to write this book comes from a personal story that is rather unusual. She was married for 24 years to Amit, who came out as a woman a year ago. After the transition, they have continued to stay married. They have four children; the youngest is seven and the oldest is 18, and the book was written about how the whole family deals with the new mom. Abbit is the name Amit received from her own children.
“A documentary about us is expected to be broadcast in the spring, and we signed a confidentiality agreement for our full story”, she says, explaining why she can’t give more details. “I can tell you that Amit is the inspiration of all the stories. I wrote six stories in total and this book includes three of them, and everything described in the book really happened. It’s based on real feelings of real children.
Galit with wife Amit.
“I was surprised to find out that this is the first transgender book published in Hebrew. There are children’s books on single-sex families, but there is no book that deals with transgender from the perspective of children. I think that LGBT families as a whole will find this book interesting; It does talk about a transgender boy and girl but the messages behind the stories are about accepting the other, retaining human dignity, and realizing that everyone is equal.
“Children are born free of all stigma, and we parents inculcate their stigmas. If parents don’t tell their children that ‘those children are different,’ the children wouldn’t know it. Ignorance passes from generation to generation through the parents, and if children receive values of human dignity and acceptance of others, I’m sure they will grow up much more open minded in their consciousness.”
The length of the book is 36 pages, and the illustrations are by Liron Robin Moses, a graphic designer and illustrator who works with Amit and Galit in the same company. A large number of people read the book, says Galit, including educators, psychologists, psychotherapists, physicians and endocrinologists. “They really reinforced my decision to publish it.”