Book Review: What Dad Became Joan: Life With My Transgender Father by Cath Lloyd

When I am contacted with offers of books to review, I take two things into consideration: would I like this book myself and is it a book I want to share with my readers. I especially consider the second point if the book has a story to tell, particularly if it is a real life story. When I was approached regarding this review, I immediately thought “Wow, this is a story I have to share”.

When Dad Became Joan: Life With My Transgender Father by Cath Lloyd tells the story of how in 1987, Cath’s father made the revelation that he was a transsexual and was taking the necessary steps to becoming a woman. The book explores how Cath dealt with this transition over the coming years and how eventually she came to terms with Joan. The second half of the book is the 7 steps that helped Cath come to terms with her new normal.

Cath’s, and indeed Joan’s, story is a very interesting one that is, despite being 2018, not in the spotlight enough. I cannot even begin to imagine how lost and afraid Joan must have felt in the 60s/70s knowing she was not the person she should be and feeling like there wasn’t anything she could really do about it. It is also hard to imagine how it was for Cath and her family to keep this secret due to the fear of being judged. True we have progressed as a society and it is somewhat easier now for transsexual people. However, there is a very high level of judgement and lack of understanding, which is why I felt the need to share this story with you.

What I liked the most about this book is how honest Cath is regarding her feelings. She is very open about the many years it took her to accept Joan, something that I think will help people currently fighting with their emotions. Therefore, this is more than a transgender story, it is a story of acceptance, depression and anxiety as well.

The second part of the book, how Cath eventually dealt with the change is as interesting as the story of the change itself. Cath outlines the 7 steps she followed:

  • The importance of our values
  • Hand on heart (getting in touch with our feelings)
  • Managing your belief system
  • Stop playing the victim
  • Laws of attraction
  • Acceptance
  • Strategise your strategy for chance

I don’t want to rewrite the entire book here going into detail about the 7 steps but I will say that they are very solid pieces of advice. You don’t need to be going through the same journey as Cath, or indeed any journey at all, for them to benefit you. What is really great is that every step has a series of small exercises that can help you come to terms with your feelings and help you to adjust to your new normal or even just get to know yourself a bit better.

Overall, this is a really great book. Cath does a wonderful job telling her story and portraying her feelings, so much so that I had a tear in my eye. I urge you to go and buy this book if you want to be more understanding of transsexual life, are going through a change in your life or want to dig a bit deeper inside yourself. You won’t regret it.

I was sent a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

When Dad Became Joan by Cath Lloyd


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