On ‘This Kid Can Fly’ by Aaron Rose Philip

Book #5 in my Trans Rights Readathon week

Tucker Lieberman
3 min readMar 25, 2023

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Image from Bookshop

When she was 14, Aaron Rose Philip published the memoir This Kid Can Fly: It’s About Ability (Not Disability), co-written with Tanya Bolden. Intimate, informative, and overall upbeat, it’s geared for readers ages 8–12. After the book was published, Philip came out as a trans woman, and today she’s a fashion model.

Her Story

Philip was born in the city of St. John’s in Antigua and Barbuda. She was so tiny, her parents had “to cut newborn Pampers in half” to diaper her.

Her lungs were underdeveloped. A doctor in Antigua thought she might have cerebral palsy. In 2003, when she was two-and-a-half, her mother flew with her to New York where the diagnosis was confirmed.

Due to her type of CP, she’d never be able to walk, take deep breaths, or clear her lungs. She’d have discomfort from being unable to shift in her seat, which would occasionally be extremely painful. She’d be sensitive to cold. In therapy, she practiced speaking “long sentences to boost breathing stamina.”

At four, she had a surgery to remove useless hamstring muscles to prevent her knees from freezing up. Later, her daily exercise included spending an hour in a device called a stander, allowing her to bear…

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Tucker Lieberman

Editor for Prism & Pen. Author of the novel "Most Famous Short Film of All Time." https://tuckerlieberman.com/