Second Son: Transitioning Toward My Destiny, Love and Life by Ryan Sallans
I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Ryan Sallans a couple of times over the last year or so. He is a soft-spoken, charming and compassionate man. My first meeting with him was in February 2012. He was a featured guest on Lavender Hill, a GLBTQA news and talk program I co-host on KZUM in Lincoln, NE. He was on as part of our Transgender Issues series. This was before his book had come out – we hope to have him on again now that the book has been out for almost a year.
Second Son is an autobiography, no way around that. It is the story of Ryan Sallans’ life from birth to nearly the present day. It is the story of his struggles and triumphs, how his family came to understand him and how he found his place in this world. Ryan tells his story honestly and without holding back.
When I picked up Ryan’s book I knew I would be in for an emotional roller coaster ride. So I took my time reading and always made sure I had a box of tissue nearby. Not say that the book is a tear jerker. It is real. It is heart warming in places, heart breaking in others.
Ryan opens himself up to the reader and lays it all out for them. His confusion over his sexuality as a child and teenager. His battle with an eating disorder. His obsession with his body’s appearance. His struggles as a lesbian. His heartbreaking relationship issues while transitioning into who he really is. All the ups and downs that come into a person’s life are magnified when you read them coming from the perspective of a person who is living in the wrong body.
His frankness about his transition is especially refreshing. Going through all the stages of transition. You have to read the book to understand it all. I simply cannot put it into words, words that are not mine. This is a must read for anyone who is transitioning, has transitioned, works with or in the transgender community, and for anyone who wants a better understanding of transgender issues.
I am not transgender. But I am a gay man. I have had some of those same battles, but not all of them. Reading Ryan’s words made me realize just how convoluted things can be for anyone who is transitioning. I feel proud to have met Ryan and hope to continue to build a friendship with him.
Listen to the entire Lavender Hill Transgender Issues series from February 2012