An acclaimed podcast by the mother of a transgender daughter has now given rise to a deeply moving new memoir.
How to Be a Girl by Marlo Mack grew out of her podcast of the same name. It's an audiobook published as an Audible Original, out now for Transgender Awareness Week.
"When my child first told me, at age 3, that she was not the boy we all believed her to be, I assumed it was a phase and didn't take it too seriously," Mack, who also narrated the book, tells The Advocate. "How could such a small person know what gender they were? In any case, I believed it was impossible: How could a boy become a girl? I might as well allow my child to become a turtle or a T. rex! I thought perhaps I had a gay son, or simply an unconventional one with a flair for drama and fabulous taste in fashion. So I pushed back, attempting in every possible way I could dream up to convince my child that 'he' actually was a 'he.'
"Ultimately, I lost my long, painful battle, when I was utterly defeated by my child's fierce spirit, by my love for her, and by science. I wrote How to Be a Girl, an Audible Original, to show the world how hard I fought. I wrote this book to prove that, yes, I exhausted every avenue. So that the next parent won't have to. So that the next parent (or teacher or neighbor or uncle or friend) of a kid like mine will listen, believe, and be led by love rather than fear. Because, as your readers know all too well, we cannot change who someone else is, any more than we can tell them whom they should love. Our children are who they are. And they are beautiful, just as they are."
Mack's podcast was a Peabody Award finalist in 2017, and it has won a Webby Award and was selected as the Best International Podcast by the British Podcast Awards. Mack has changed the names of most people in the book, including her own and her daughter's, to preserve their privacy. She is a single mother living in Washington State and blogs at Gendermom.
To order the book, click here.