31 Days 31 Trans Voices|Day 4: Lexie Bean, Making Waves

Tender and wise, The Ship We Built, by Lexie Bean, is about the bravery it takes to stand up for yourself—even to those you love—and the power of finding someone who treasures you for everything you are.

The Ship We Built is also the first middle grade book from a major publisher that has a trans boy protagonist and is written by a trans person. It is scheduled for release May 26th, 2020 with Dial Books for Young Readers at Penguin Random House.

Anyone familiar with Lexie’s body of work knows that they are no stranger to storytelling. They are passionate about creating honest and complex trans narratives through writing, performance, & film. From curating their Lambda Literary nominated anthology for trans inclusion in the #metoo movement, to developing a tv series inspired by their homeland, to developing The Ship We Built from a text message into a novel, they create projects that transition and grow alongside them.

Lexie Bean | Photo by Llewellyn Nuñez

Lexie’s work specifically with transgender survivors of domestic violence and sexual abuse has received accolades from the founders of the Trevor Project and the Trans People of Color Coalition.

We are excited to share this news of the upcoming release of their new trans-centric literature – The Ship We Built.

From the back jacket of the book:

Sometimes I have trouble filling out tests when the name part feels like a test too. . .When I write letters, I love that you have to read all of my thoughts and stories before I say any name at all. You have to make it to the very end to know. Rowan has too many secrets to write down in the pages of a diary. And if he did, he wouldn’t want anyone to read them. He understands who he is and what he likes, but it’s not safe for others to know. Now the kids at school say Rowan’s too different to spend time with. He’s not the “right kind” of girl, and he’s not the “right kind” of boy. His mom ignores him. And at night, his dad hurts him in ways he’s not ready to talk about yet. But Rowan discovers another way to share his secrets: letters. Letters he attaches to balloons and releases into the universe, hoping someone new will read them and understand. But when he befriends a classmate who knows what it’s like to be lonely and scared, even at home, Rowan realizes that there might already be a person he can trust right by his side.

Readers can pre-order The Ship We Built at Penguin Random House.

The Ship We Built by Lexie Bean

LEXIE BEAN (@oklexiebean) is a queer and trans multimedia artist from the Midwest whose work revolves around themes of bodies, homes, cyclical violence, and LGBTQIA+ identity. They have performed, curated, and facilitated around the world and became a Lambda Literary Finalist for their work with the trans community. The Ship We Built is their debut novel, which began with a text message dare from a crush in 2014. Like Rowan, Lexie has a deep resonance with water and letter writing and is also a survivor of childhood sexual abuse.

Jacket art and book illustrations © 2020 by Noah Grigni

Jacket design by Kelley Brady

You can reach Lexie Bean at Instagram @oklexiebean

To check out Lexie’s other projects, visit their website at LexieBean.com.

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Terry Willits

Trans Speak's Editor-in-Chief is an international mixed media artist, writer, LGBTQ advocate, coffee snob, dog dad, and FTM transgender - but not necessarily in that order, who practices what he posts. A native of Cedar Rapids, Iowa; he now does the writing thing from St. Louis, Missouri. You should check out his work - it's recommended by 4 out of 5 people that recommend stuff.

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