(All photos: Jonathan Ball)
A party was held on September 22 to celebrate Stittsville author, Amanda Jetté Knox and her award-winning book Love Lives Here: A Story of Thriving in a Transgender Family. And it was a party! Fifty people came out to ‘The Barn’ to get personally signed copies of Amanda’s book, hear her story and celebrate with some Quitter’s nibbles and cake (not one, but three rainbow cakes with picture decor done by Sweet Clementine). Octopus Books was on hand to handle the purchases for Amanda’s book. The party was hosted by good friends Rochelle Buenviaje and Samantha Ball, both of Stittsville.
Samantha (Sam), MC for the evening, introduced Councillor Gower who “thanked the Knox family for sharing their story and being leaders in our community.” He went on to add, “…a reminder for us all to always check our assumptions”.
When Sam asked the crowd ‘who had read the book?‘ almost everyone raised their hands. Describing the book herself, Sam affirmed “this book is a guide to being a better human“. “It’s a guide to being a better human being because it shows us how as a society we can all do better – to the kid who is being bullied, to a transgender individual or other member of the LGBTQ community who needs acceptance and support, to any individuals who are struggling… How can we all be kinder and more inclusive?”.
Amanda shared with the captivated crowd a reading from her book — of the time when her 11-year old daughter, Alexis, wrote an email to her and Zoe (Amanda’s partner) with her news of being transgender. In the same note she asked them to ‘come and see her when the news had settled in’. Through this journey of putting pen to paper to write this open, compassionate and life-revealing book, Amanda has met many supportive people and they verily share the same the comment with her – ‘your community is amazing. I wish I had that community’.
Many comments were imparted from those celebrating this author’s work. “Lyrical, poetic, beautiful writing”. “Great book to read about transgender issues but also many other parts for everyone: the lived experience, life throwing things your way, bullying, marital challenges”. “(Amanda) always being so well adjusted, so assured”. “Seeing the transformation of Amanda, through embracing she built her own resilience which empowers families”.
There were many questions for Amanda that she graciously responded to.
- When you were writing, were there emotional costs? Amanda: I saved the really tough parts when I was alone so I can fall apart. Two generous friends offered me their cottages which I used as a writer’s retreat where I can cry, walk it out, cry. It was very healing. When I read the story now, it is still emotional, but I feel good about it.
- Asked about process of sharing the role as a mother, role-sharing – Zoe mentioned sharing mother’s day. Amanda: “Alexis played a key roll in saving our marriage. When Zoe came out, there were lots of emotions but none were about “becoming something”. I admit I was attached to the name Mom.”
Also joining in the celebration were members of the local Pflag Chapter. You can find out more about the chapter and their monthly meetings held at St. Andrews Presbyterian Church: https://www.queerevents.ca/community-resources/community-groups/pflag-stittsville.
If you are a health care worker or know of a child who needs some support being trans, this is a good book to read – ‘Red, A Crayon’s Story’. You can purchase the book here. On the support of a trans child, Amanda noted, “Know that you are the only safe space for your child”.
Amanda thanks the community as “You gave us the strength and positivity to tell our story. THANK YOU!”
Editor’s Note: A personal thank you to Rochelle Buenviaje who assisted in this article.)
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