An inspirational story of accepting and embracing two trans people in a family--a family who shows what's possible when you "lead with love."
All Amanda Jetté Knox ever wanted was to enjoy a stable life. She never knew her biological father, and while her mother and stepfather were loving parents, the situation was sometimes chaotic. At school, she was bullied mercilessly, and at the age of fourteen, she entered a counselling program for alcohol addiction and was successful.
While still a teenager, she met the love of her life. They were wed at 20, and the first of three children followed shortly. Jetté Knox finally had the stability she craved--or so it seemed. Their middle child struggled with depression and avoided school. The author was unprepared when the child she knew as her son came out as transgender at the age of eleven. Shocked, but knowing how important it was to support her daughter, Jetté Knox became an ardent advocate for trans rights.
But the story wasn't over. For many years, the author had coped with her spouse's moodiness, but that chronic unhappiness was taking a toll on their marriage. A little over a year after their child came out, her partner also came out as transgender. Knowing better than most what would lie ahead, Jetté Knox searched for positive examples of marriages surviving transition. When she found no role models, she determined that her family would become one.
The shift was challenging, but slowly the family members noticed that they were becoming happier and more united. Told with remarkable candour and humour, and full of insight into the challenges faced by trans people, Love Lives Here is a beautiful story of transition, frustration, support, acceptance, and, of course, love.
Amanda Jette Knox's memoir about having a trans child and a trans spouse alternates between first-person POV for Amanda’s story and third-person POV for her wife’s story.
“Knowing what I know now, I’d love to tell this story in a way that paints me in a better light.”
Written with barefaced honesty—Knox never tries to make herself look good, and it is the recounting her own missteps that make this book so meaningful.
“I had never heard that sound come out of me before. It was a primal, hopeless cry. I now know if as the sound I make when I believe my world has completely fallen apart.”
Knox writes honestly about the internal struggle, but her words are always coupled with fierce Mama love. We all screw up, we all fail our loved ones in big and small ways no matter how hard we try, but if we keep trying, we will get there eventually. That’s the hope of this book.
“But I was going to need to get over my discomfort. Because my late-night research had also revealed the abysmal statistics on outcomes for trans youth.”
We travel with her through the initial discomfort and bumbling missteps to a place of advocacy, peace, and acceptance.
“Pronouns, I figured, were a lot like squats: I would trip all over them at first, but they would get easier with practice.”
Through it all, Knox's self-deprecating humor carries us.
“…if you wouldn’t feel comfortable asking your neighbor, don’t ask a trans person. And chances ae you won’t ask Dave from next door what his junk looks like or how he has sex. (If you do, we need to have a little talk about boundaries.)”
This book will warm your heart and renew your faith in love.
“Somewhere there was a kid searching for stories of other kids who came out and were still loved.”
Thanks, Net Galley, for a free digital copy in exchange for an honest review. Get your copy on IndieBound, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or wherever books are sold. If your library doesn't have a copy, you can recommend it to them here.
Copyright © 2023 Lara Lillibridge
Public domain imagery courtesy of Snappygoat.com