For 58 years, author Faith Eileen Bryan lived what any reasonable person would call a “normal” life – married, with a family and a career. Faith also was not Faith; she was “John,” the name given to her at birth by parents who never knew their son was really their daughter.
“For me, “normal” was defined in the standard gender binary terms,” says Bryan, author of an upcoming new book, TRANSforming Normal: Ten Stories That Will Change How You See Transgender People. “You were either a boy or a girl.”
Bryan, 61, who came out as transgender in 2012, says society is redefining what is considered normal and acceptable in terms of the growing LGBT presence, and part of that transformation must include how society perceives transgender people.
“I believe there is a general perception that transgender individuals are somehow flawed, not ‘normal’ or in some other way do not make a positive contribution to the social construct,” Bryan says. “This work hopes to portray our community in its most human terms.
“We have careers and families, dreams and hopes like anyone, yet we do this in the face of extraordinary amounts of misinformation, blind hate and ignorance. This is what TRANSforming Normal is about … showing that transgender people are just like anyone.”
The book, projected for Summer 2015 publication, tells the stories of 10 remarkable people who work in a variety of careers: an air traffic controller, a baggage handler, an advertising sales person, a movie director/HIV counselor, a writer, an attorney, a chemical engineer, a beauty pageant director/politician, and a performance artist.
Oh, and they all just happen to be transgender, and all are actively working to advance equal rights for their LGBT sisters and brothers.
“These are vibrant and passionate people who care about others,” says the author. “People need to know that we’re not all drag performers or sex workers. Most of us have jobs, families, mortgages or rent payments, and dreams of something better. In other words, we’re normal human beings.”
Bryan, a former newspaper journalist and editor with 30 years’ experience who now teaches business and management for an online university, says this topic is not widely covered in previous works.
“A substantial body of scholarship exists on this topic that is based in scientific and medical research, and political discourse,” she says, noting there is a growing discussion of the increasing social impact of the transgender community.
“This book seeks to shine a positive light on that aspect of the transgender reality and to help fill the gap in understanding that exists between the societal mainstream and our community,” says the author. “My hope is that my book with help foster understanding where little exists.”
To donate to this project, go to https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/790423631/transforming-normal or http://www.gofundme.com/es9mgs
To learn more about the author and to read her blog, go to http://www.faitheileenbryan.com