Review: Trans woman and her sister learn acceptance, love
“My Sister: How One Sibling’s Transition Changed Us Both,” Bold Type Books, by Selenis Leyva and Marizol Leyva
In alternating chapters, Selenis Leyva of “Orange is the New Black” and her sister, Marizol Leyva, tell the heart-wrenching story of Marizol’s journey toward accepting herself as a transgender woman.
What makes “My Sister” special is not only the way it addresses trans identities with such care — educating readers in a respectful and non-condescending way — but also the way it balances a trans person’s journey with the corresponding journey that her family must take to embrace her as she is.
Selenis’ difficulties as she learns to love and support Marizol better is a crucial part of this story, as is Marizol’s growth in learning how she wants to be loved.
As a trans woman of color, Marizol battles challenges both internal and external. While Selenis does her best to be there for her, she doesn’t always do the right thing. It is important to see Selenis stumble and fall, but then get back up and try again.
Similarly, we see Marizol’s determination as she works through her shame to ultimately find pride in herself, as well as the confidence to demand respect from those around her.
“My Sister” is an important, informative and captivating read that chronicles two strong women learning to love one another.