Terri and Vince are the proud parents of two young men. However, for 15 years they believed their younger son was their daughter.
Allies & Angels is a story of strength, compassion and unconditional love—sharing how these parents supported their son’s transition and the lessons learned along the way. Learning their daughter was really their son taught them who they are and who they want to be.
This moving story highlights how allies guided and supported them on what they once feared was an unthinkable path. Allies & Angels will inspire the reader to look at their life differently and embrace their role as an ally. No matter who you are or how you identify, this book will challenge you to find a new acceptance for all and a deeper love for your loved ones.
Read a Sample Chapter. Click here.
What people are saying …
“Allies and Angels has an urgent message, but it does not tell you what to think—instead it shows, through the powerful, heart-wrenching narrative of a loving family, what a difference individuals can make in the lives of transgender youth. I hope it becomes the go-to book for the parents of such kids, and that it inspires the same kind of compassion and respect shown by Drew’s family. It should be required reading for all who work with children and young adults of any gender. I’m a little older than Drew, but also grew up in the suburbs of Syracuse, New York and also came out as transgender in my teens. I faced many of the same issues, from big things like bullying and suicidal depression to so-called little things like the pain of school dances and old family photos. Although few struggles compare to being a young man in a female body, there still is little guidance available for these boys or their loved ones. I wish such a book had existed for me and my parents during those difficult years and I hope this helps such families realize they aren’t alone. It will definitely improve, and most likely save, many young people’s lives.” —Elliott DeLine, Author of Refuse and I Know Very Well How I Got My Name
“Allies & Angels is a story that has the power to open your heart and your mind. Terri and Vince show us what it means to wholly and unconditionally love our children as the wonderful people they were meant to be. Their story is one of compassion, learning, and support that anyone who has or works with children and youth can understand and relate to, even if they don’t know someone who is transgender. Their family’s journey, through both laughter and tears, offers hope to families and young people going through similar experiences. After reading Allies & Angels you will certainly walk away with a greater understanding of what it is like to be transgender. If you allow yourself to, you will also understand the joys of loving someone who is transgender.” —Marissa Rice, Director of Youth Services, ACR Health
“Allies and Angels is about parenting and faith and living authentic lives. It explores the ways in which we can support our children through love, kindness, compassion and acceptance. It highlights what can happen when we have the love and support of family, and others who are open-minded enough to become part of a life changing journey. As a professional advocate for the trans* and gender non-conforming community I reap rewards beyond any expectation. The Cook’s are a significant part of those rewards. They have found a way to share this story, acknowledge all that contributed in some positive way, critique those who wish us harm and highlight significant challenges others face when they don’t have support. Read this book if you want to know how to parent your children through any challenge, big or small, significant or fleeting. Come to understand that “suppressing and rejecting” a [transgender] child robs them and adds tremendously to the already existing burdens that are part of life. This book is a gift that teaches that a change in perspective can have a miraculous impact in ways unimaginable.” —Sheilah R. Sable, Director of Organizing for the Empire State Pride Agenda
“Allies & Angels is a powerful story that would benefit anyone interested in growing in love and understanding. It certainly benefited me. The story provides you with a comprehensive understanding of not only what their son went through, but the entire family, when discovering their daughter is really their son. It’s a book that anyone should be able to relate to as a parent, a friend, as a human being. It will hopefully open the eyes of those who are quick to judge, and to instead “walk in somebody else’s shoes.” The Cooks could be your best friends, your neighbors, relatives or classmates. They give an honest and inspiring account about the power of love, courage and acceptance.” —Tami Scott, Editor of Allies & Angels, Baldwinsville Messenger.
“Once I started reading Allies and Angels, I didn’t want to put the book down. Reading this took me back 20 years when I came out to my parents. I wish there had been a book like this for them. This book reminded me of struggles others face when we come out as transgender. As someone who works with transgender youth, Allies and Angels provides an important perspective on the lives of transgender youth through the eyes of two parents. By sharing their struggles with coming to terms with Drew’s transition and then dealing with the world around them, Terri and Vince offer hope to transgender people, their family and friends … and help others understand what it means to be transgender. This book is a must-read for not only parents of transgender children, but anyone who knows someone who is transgender.” —Rob Pusch, Syracuse University, Associate Director at Project Advance and Q Center transgender youth group facilitator
“As someone who came out only six months ago at the age of 22, and whose parents are in the early stages of understanding and acceptance, this book was very emotional for me. The Cook family’s story is so inspiring and heartfelt. Thank you for making yourself vulnerable and writing this story so that others may find hope and come to better understand the experiences of trans* people and their families. I can only imagine what my life would be like now had I had the strength, courage, and support that Drew had, in particular from his family and the Q Center, to come out at a younger age. A great book for anyone to read – whether you’re trans*, you have family or friends that are, or you just want to learn a little bit more.” —Al Forbes, Syracuse University graduate student
“Live authentically.” “Find your passion.” “We are all connected.” These are familiar concepts to those of us in the self-help, life coach, and spirituality realm. I’ve read a lot about these ideas, but it’s a whole other experience to watch the Cook family live them every day. Now with their new book, Allies and Angels, others can benefit from their enduring story of love and acceptance. This book is a real life example of how living authentically, finding your passion, and realizing that we are all connected can bring more love, joy and compassion into your life. The knowledge and understanding gained by reading this book will make you an angel in someone else’s life. In my mind, there is no greater gift that you could give yourself and the human experience.” —Gloria Ierardi, Life Coach
“I remember when I first talked to you. I hung onto every word of your emails… literally… they were my only hope. I never felt so alone and so scared for my son and prayed for myself to gain some understanding. As you know… families should not have to go through crisis to that extent. A book like this would have been priceless to me. You and Vince will be helping so many people with this book. Thank you for being there for me, Terri. You don’t realize it, but you and the Q Center gave me understanding where I had very little. I am a much better person for it. Just take a look at my son… he is happy. That says it all.” —Laurie, Nurse and parent of a transgender son