To read Ryan Sallans’ new memoir, Transforming Manhood: A Trans Man’s Quest to Build Bridges and Knock Down Walls, is to understand what it is to be a transgender man of Generation X, an activist sandwiched between the legendary (and, more often now, deceased) pioneers of the Baby Boomer generation and the Millennials. Does it matter? Most certainly.

—Diane Anderson-Minshall
Editorial Director of The Advocate
Author of Queerly Beloved: A Love Story Across Genders and four novels

We learn in Transforming Manhood that Ryan K. Sallans comes to us not as a trailblazer but a trail maintainer. And that he does – honoring the generations of transgender people that came before him, inviting us to carry on the legacy of fighting for the rights of every person to live with pride and confidence in their true gender, with full support from those around them and compassion for those not yet there. With openness, empathy, brilliant insight, and a wide-angle lens, Sallans shares his personal journey from little girl to lesbian to trans man to human being. No other writer has come close to giving us a window into that evolutionary process, including the beginning of ageing–never a walk in the park but always bursting with new discoveries. A must read for anyone who wants to know, both inside and outside, what transgender looks like from transition to transformation to integration of all that we are that makes us mindful human beings.

—Diane Ehrensaft, Ph.D.
Author of The Gender Creative Child and Gender Born, Gender Made Director of Mental Health, Child and Adolescent Gender Center, University of California San Francisco

No other writer has come close to giving us a window into that evolutionary process

Ryan Sallans’ Transforming Manhood is not just about contemporary trans issues, but about the human issues associated with human transformation such as mortality, finding peace and love within oneself, facing and accepting fear, and the complexity of family as a work in progress. Sallans is at his most vulnerable. While his “scars from the gender-affirming surgeries have faded, some now unseen,” his story is his body, a beautiful “trail map of life’s journey.”

—Loren Kleinman, If I Don’t Make It, I Love You

His story is his body

With his powerful memoir, Transforming Manhood, Ryan Sallans has provided the world with a true gift. With each chapter, Sallans bares his soul with intention, vulnerability, and power. In doing so, he invites the reader in to not only his gender journey, but also to delve into our assumptions about our own gender assumptions. This memoir stands along with the great ones — Leslie Feinberg’s Stone Butch Blues and Michelle Obama’s Becoming. With each page, there is tenderness, respect, and love even beyond our gender journeys that readers will feel for this thing we call “life.” Sallans has issued a call for us to truly live our lives while we can. I didn’t want the book to end, and that alone is one of the messages Sallans leaves the reader with about our own lives. A true gem!

—Anneliese Singh, PhD, LPC
Professor and Associate Dean of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, University of Georgia, and author of The Racial Healing Handbook and The Queer and Transgender Resilience Workbook

This memoir stands along with the great ones

Ryan presented Healthcare Disparities in the Transgender Community as a Diversity and Inclusion offering to employees of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan in Detroit on August 26, 2016. As BCBSM expands their health care coverage in 2017 to include gender-transitions services the information shared by Ryan was relevant and timely. He encouraged questions as he presented and then took time to respond to each one.  This engagement allowed for a greater understanding of the issues. Feedback from attendees was, without exception, overwhelmingly positive. Ryan’s openness on his personal journey, the breadth of his information and his presentation style made the 90 minutes go by too quickly. I highly recommend Ryan.

Kim Zaugg, Chair, Equally Blue (Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan employee resource group for LGBTQ employees and their allies)

It takes a lot of emotional strength and courage to tell a story like Ryan’s, but he was so passionate and knowledgeable in his speaking that it made others in the room actually feel like they were a part of his journey as well. There was a point when I scanned the room when Ryan was discussing a very difficult point in his life and I could see not one but many eyes in the room welling up with tears. To have this type of emotional reaction from an audience is the sign of an amazing speaker. Ryan not only educated, but deep down touched something in everyone who attended the training.

Here are a couple comments from the employee evaluations:

“Best training we’ve had in long time”

“It was fantastic and very educational”

“Ryan presented a very sensitive subject to us with great knowledge and skill.”

Jon Marquardt, Assistant Superintendent of Recreation, Skokie Park District

Thanks to Ryan Sallans, the Management Team and employees at Nebraska Furniture Mart had an opportunity to expand our knowledge and awareness of topics surrounding transgender employees (and customers).  Ryan created a comfortable learning environment for what might still be a somewhat awkward workplace topic.   Using real-world business best practices, personal experiences, and the perfect amount of humor, our team was able to unite behind this important initiative and learn what a healthy workplace family looks like.  Ryan is a subject matter expert who deftly cut through the mystery and confusion that often surrounds gender identity issues. I look forward to working with Ryan in the future to help further increase or organizational knowledge and acceptance.

Megan Berry-Barlow – Human Resource Director – Nebraska Furniture Mart

Ryan is an excellent ambassador of the Transgender community, and is a great resource for organizations looking to advance their LGBT inclusion agendas.

 In celebration of Pride month, we hosted two staff events where Ryan presented key LGBT concepts such as gender orientation, gender expression, gender identity, and sexual orientation. He was very knowledgeable of LGBT-related themes and issues, and was very engaging and  personable as a presenter.  We received excellent feedback. Many participants were inspired by Ryan’s personal journey and thankful for the knowledge he shared.

LGBT and Allies Network – Standard Chartered Bank

I had the pleasure to collaborate with Ryan on two occasions, as part of EQUAL!’s efforts to foster greater inclusiveness within Nokia. Both times were a hit: by telling his own story, Ryan delivered a highly engaging (and relatable) talk while keeping the audience highly interested — whatever their background may be. I personally received very positive feedback from colleagues in all parts of Nokia around the globe, sparking discussions and greater understanding. I definitely look forward to more of these sessions.

Jerome Meyer – EQUAL! (Nokia)

I saw Ryan at the MACURH Regional Conference and my students and I agreed that we needed to bring him to our campus to speak. His program FTM: Scouting the Unknown was inspiring, informational and honesty. He was wonderful to work with for the program and training session, I would highly recommend that you consider bringing him to your campus.

Melissa Hettmann, RHA Advisor/ Mitchell Hall Residence Hall Director, St. Cloud State University

Melissa Hettmann