American Teenager: How Trans Kids Are Surviving Hate and Finding Joy in a Turbulent Era (Hardcover)

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From an award-winning journalist comes a vivid and moving portrait of eight trans and nonbinary teenagers across the country, following their daily triumphs, struggles, and all that encompasses growing up trans in America today

“A master class in journalism as a force for change.” 
—SAMANTHA ALLEN, author of Real Queer America

“With humor and compassion, Lang shows trans teenagers as they really are: kids trying their best.”
—MAIA KOBABE, author of Gender Queer: A Memoir

 “Lang proves how rich the discourse is when trans youth take their rightful place at the center of their narratives.”
—RAQUEL WILLIS, activist, and author of The Risk It Takes to Bloom: On Life and Liberation 

“An incredibly important, humane account.”
—GARRARD CONLEY, New York Times bestselling author of Boy Erased: A Memoir 

Media coverage tends to sensationalize the fight over how trans kids should be allowed to live, but what is incredibly rare are the voices of the people at the heart of this debate: transgender and gender nonconforming kids themselves. For their groundbreaking new book, journalist Nico Lang spent a year traveling the country to document the lives of transgender, nonbinary, and genderfluid teens and their families. Drawing on hundreds of hours of on-the-ground interviews with them and the people in their communities, American Teenager paints a vivid portrait of what it’s actually like to grow up trans today.

From the tip of Florida’s conservative panhandle to vibrant queer communities in California, and from Texas churches to mosques in Illinois, American Teenager gives readers a window into the lives of Wyatt, Rhydian, Mykah, Clint, Ruby, Augie, Jack, and Kylie, eight teens who, despite what some lawmakers might want us to believe, are truly just kids looking for a brighter future.

“With heartfelt empathy, Nico Lang uncovers the human stories overshadowed by political rhetoric, showcasing the struggles and resilience of transgender youth amidst adversity while simultaneously amplifying their voices, which are all too often silenced. ”
—JAZZ JENNINGS, author of Being Jazz: My Life as a (Transgender) Teen and I Am Jazz 

“An urgently necessary book. By allowing trans teens to tell their stories themselves, Lang has given them—and by extension, all of us—a great gift.”
—HUGH RYAN, award-winning author of When Brooklyn Was Queer

“Lang weaves this broad bleak terrain with warm insights and a clear immediacy of message. Expansive and compassionate.”
GABE DUNN, New York Times bestselling author of I Hate Everyone But You

“Lang’s excellent reporting reminds us all of our shared humanity.”
—BRIAN K. BOND, CEO, PFLAG National
 
An absolute must-read. An evocative and authentic story that is intimate and illuminating.” 
—RODRIGO HENG-LEHTINEN, Executive Director of the National Center for Transgender Equity 
 

About the Author


Nico Lang (they/them) is a nonbinary award-winning journalist with over a decade of experience covering the transgender community’s fight for equality. Their work has appeared in major publications, including Rolling Stone, Esquire, the New York Times, Vox, the Wall Street Journal, Salon, Harper’s Bazaar, Time, The Washington Post, and the L.A. Times. Lang is the creator of Queer News Daily and previously served as the deputy editor for Out magazine, the news editor for Them, the LGBTQ+ correspondent for VICE, and the editor and cofounder of the literary journal In Our Words. Their industry-leading contributions to queer media have resulted in a GLAAD Media Award and 10 awards from the National Association of LGBTQ Journalists (NLGJA). Lang is also the first-ever recipient of the Visibility Award from the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund (TLDEF), an honor created to recognize their impactful contributions to reporting on the lives of LGBTQ+ people.

Praise For…


“An urgent and heartfelt chronicle of families under attack, American Teenager is a master class in journalism as a force for change. Nico Lang cuts through the political ping-pong over transgender rights to surface the human stories that too often go ignored. As rigorous as it is compassionate, this daring journey through the Heartland shows that love remains the best way to disarm fear. As right-wingers try to make boogeymen out of our most vulnerable, Lang’s lucid and clear-eyed account of their lives offers an essential corrective, reminding us that there's nothing more American than the freedom to be yourself.” 
— SAMANTHA ALLEN, author of Real Queer America

“The transgender children and their families who are finally given the megaphone in Nico Lang’s American Teenager love this country. Unfortunately, it so rarely loves them back. Lang weaves this broad bleak terrain with warm insights and a clear immediacy of message. In Lang’s pages, these families aren’t talking points bandied about on Capitol Hill or coastal elites out of touch with ‘real America.’ They are real America—and in Lang’s expansive and compassionate writing, they’d rather be stretching a dollar and going to soccer games than being forced onto an unnecessary political battlefield.”
— GABE DUNN, New York Times bestselling author of I Hate Everyone But You

“As a transgender woman who transitioned during childhood, American Teenager resonates deeply with me. With heartfelt empathy, Nico Lang uncovers the human stories overshadowed by political rhetoric, showcasing the struggles and resilience of transgender youth amidst adversity while simultaneously amplifying their voices, which are all too often silenced. In a society where ignorance and bigotry seek to vilify the most vulnerable among us, Lang’s sincere portrayal pulls back the curtain to unveil remarkable youth who simply want to be kids. As a child, I would often say, ‘Get to know us, you'll love us.’ American Teenager allows readers to meet these extraordinary kids along with their families and fall in love with their hearts, minds, strength, and, most of all, the courage to embrace their authentic identities and face the world as their true, beautiful selves. With raw honesty and emotional depth, Lang sheds light on their heartwarming journeys, intense challenges, life-changing moments, and the true meaning of unconditional love.”
— JAZZ JENNINGS, author of Being Jazz: My Life as a (Transgender) Teen

An evocative and authentic story of the love and resilience of transgender teens and their families. Lang's storytelling is intimate and illuminating, walking a tightrope between the complex narratives of trauma and joy, without ever leaning too heavily into one and discounting the importance of the other. Simultaneously heart-wrenching and heart-warming, American Teenager is an absolute must-read.”
— RODRIGO HENG-LEHTINEN, Executive Director of the National Center for Transgender Equity

"With tremendous empathy and the kind of precision that only comes with a years-long commitment to truth-telling, Nico Lang amplifies the dreams, fears, and resistance of transgender teens in the United States at the current moment. Lang proves how rich the discourse is when trans youth take their rightful place at the center of their narratives."
— RAQUEL WILLIS, activist and author of The Risk It Takes to Bloom: On Life and Liberation

"In their powerful new book, American Teenager, Nico Lang shares the very raw, very real experiences of trans youth and their families at a moment in time when so much and so many things are conspiring against them. In doing so, Lang reminds us all of our shared humanity—and most especially, our capacity to find joy even in the hardest of times."
— BRIAN K. BOND, CEO, PFLAG National

"With humor and compassion, Lang shows trans teenagers as they really are: kids trying their best, day by day, to grow into their truest selves and fullest potential. The various chapters are by turns deep, silly, introspective, sweet, and smart, just like teens themselves."
— MAIA KOBABE, author of Gender Queer: A Memoir

American Teenager is an incredibly important, humane account of the joys and struggles of so many youth currently under attack in our country. I pray this book will one day be seen as a historical work that sheds light in a dark world and that Lang’s message of love and acceptance becomes the story we carry forward into the future.”
— GARRARD CONLEY, New York Times bestselling author of Boy Erased

"Nico Lang’s American Teenager is an urgently necessary book, bringing the voices of trans teens (and their families) to the forefront of a conversation that has been about them and around them, but which has all too often ignored their actual words and experiences. By allowing trans teens to tell their stories themselves, with all the messiness and complications that come with being teenagers, Lang has given them––and by extension, all of us––a great gift."
— HUGH RYAN, award-winning author of When Brooklyn Was Queer

"American Teenager speaks profound truths about the modern experiences of trans youth and their journeys toward becoming their true selves. Lang has crafted a vivid portrait of the environments and challenges that trans teenagers navigate daily. Helping readers understand that these kids just want to be kids. They long for the simple pleasures of youth—friendship, acceptance, and the freedom to explore their identities without fear or judgment. I hope everyone picks up American Teenager to gain a better understanding of these young lives, beyond the hate and prejudice that too often cloud public perception. This book is not just a collection of stories; it is a call to recognize and celebrate the humanity in all of us."
— MAXWELL POTH, photographer and author of Young Queer America

"Nico Lang’s American Teenager provides a heartwarming and honest look into the real lives of young trans people and their loved ones as they navigate growing up in the U.S. today. By centering the real moments in their lives, Nico reminds us the experiences of young trans people are not universal, but are also so similar to that of all teenagers: filled with navigating regular problems like falling in love for the first time, getting ready for college, or finding a prom date. What pervades all of their stories however is the simple reality that these young people are growing up amid a terrifying rise of anti-trans bigotry––where new laws and policies create real barriers to their abilities to thrive. American Teenager provides an intimate window into the stories that the anti-trans hate machine doesn’t want you to hear: the real experiences of trans kids and their families."
— IMARA JONES, CEO, TransLash Media

American Teenager provides a beautiful—often uplifting, occasionally heart-wrenching—window into the lives of contemporary trans kids and their families as they navigate their teen years amid ever-increasing anti-trans legislation and prejudice. Tune out the politicians and pundits, and pick up this book if you actually want to learn more about trans kids.”
— JULIA SERANO, author of Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity


Product Details
ISBN: 9781419773822
ISBN-10: 1419773828
Publisher: Abrams Press
Publication Date: October 8th, 2024
Pages: 288
Language: English