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My Sister: How One Sibling's Transition Changed Us Both

Selenis Leyva, Marizol Leyva

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Gender studies: transsexuals & hermaphroditism

A powerful, honest memoir by two sisters -- one a star on Orange Is the New Black, one a trans woman and activist - about transitioning, family, allyship and the path to self-realisation.

When Selenis Leyva's parents adopted a baby into their warm, loving family, Selenis was immediately smitten. The pair was always close; Selenis showered her younger sibling with affection, who in turn looked up to Selenis and followed her everywhere. The siblings realised, almost at the same moment, that the younger of the two was struggling with their identity. As Marizol transitioned and fought to define her identity, Selenis and her family, a traditional Catholic Afro-Latinx family, struggled to support her. In My Sister, they narrate their shared journey, challenges and triumphs.

In alternating chapters, Selenis and Marizol write honestly about the issues of violence, abuse and discrimination that trans people and women of colour-and especially trans women of colour-experience daily. And they are open about the messiness and confusion of fully realising oneself and being properly affirmed by others.

Profoundly moving and instructive, My Sister offers insight into the lives of two siblings learning to be their authentic selves. Ultimately, theirs is a story of hope, one that will resonate with and affirm those in the process of transitioning, watching a loved one transition, and anyone taking control of their gender or sexual identities.

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