Ottawa

'A lot of love': New book tells stories from transgender family

Ottawa's Amanda Jetté Knox's wife and daughter both came out as transgender. Her new book shares stories about their unconventional but supportive family.

Amanda Jetté Knox hopes to foster better stories about trans people's lives

Amanda Jetté Knox (right) writes openly in her new book about how she came to accept the decision by her wife Zoe Knox (left) to transition and live openly as a woman. (Provided)

When her wife Zoe came out as transgender, Amanda Jetté Knox was ready to hear it.  

After all, her daughter had already done the same thing.

"The door was open to my understanding of transgender people, because our daughter had come out about a year and half before," said Jetté Knox on CBC Radio's All In A Day last week.

Jetté Knox, who later came out as gay herself, is telling this story and others in a new book called Love Lives Here: A Story of Thriving In A Transgender Family.

She said she wants the book to serve as a roadmap for better stories about transgender families, ones that are "told in a way that honours trans people." 

Amanda Jetté Knox's new book is called Love Lives Here: A Story of Thriving In A Transgender Family. (Submitted by Amanda Jetté Knox, Viking)

Jetté Knox said she knows she's made mistakes along the way and said things to her wife that she regrets — comments she blames on "that tug of the emotional side of me, versus the logical side."

Nevertheless, she decided to share those unflattering moments with readers.

"I put it in the book, as hard as it was and as much as I know people might judge me for it, because I want to show that love isn't perfect," she said. 

Reality show offers

Jetté Knox said her family has received several offers to be the subjects of reality shows — but unlike the book, it didn't feel like television producers wanted an authentic view into the life of a transgender family. 

"These shows, they wouldn't further the conversation we felt. It was more just to gawk at, to look at and judge," she said. "We didn't do this to get famous." 

Being an outspoken advocate for her family and for transgender people more broadly has also drawn plenty of hate. Jetté Knox said she ignores all the emails and social media attacks, because paying attention to them serves no purpose.  

"Hate in a person burns out quickly. You can only shout and scream and hate a person for so long [before] you will get exhausted," she said.

"I have a great family there is a lot of love in our family and that is what keeps me going."

She's at University of Ottawa as part of their Pride Week celebrations and she's at Christ Church Cathedral on October 27th as part of the Ottawa International Writersfest. 12:40

With all the changes her family has gone through, the end result, Jetté Knox said, is an openness and willingness to talk about anything. 

"Having that honesty in the house, it just lifts everyone to a place where we can discuss everything," she said. "I never feel alone anymore. I never feel like I have to keep things buried."

Jetté Knox will be reading from Love Lives Here: A Story of Thriving In A Transgender Family on Oct. 27 at Christ Church Cathedral, as part of the Ottawa International Writers Festival.