Sneak Peek: Dreamers (Trans YA Novel)

A few months ago over spring break, my roommate went out of town on vacation and I found myself with the apartment to myself (and no classes to teach) for a solid week. I used this time to start work on a story I’ve been wanting to tell for a long time: Namely, a trans guy coming out and learning to live life as himself. Perhaps because this was a sort of written exorcism of my own feelings, I ended up writing the entire novel in that one week, a feat I have never before accomplished (and suspect I never will again).

Said novel, tentatively entitled Dreamers, follows a young trans guy coming out to friends and family in high school – while dealing with the fact that the ghost of his father has started appearing in his dreams. The book is still in the editing phase at present, but I thought I’d share a blurb and excerpt today, because (a) Pride Month, and (b) honestly, I’m pretty excited about this project and can’t wait until I can get it out there for people to read.

I should also mention that one of my biggest goals in writing this book was to give trans kids something to read that doesn’t focus on the inherent trauma of being trans. The main character, Leo, goes through his share of angst, but the story overall is positive and upbeat, meant to uplift rather than beat down. There’s nothing wrong with stories that explore the very real trauma that trans people often endure, but this isn’t one of those stories.

S’arright? S’arright. Now onto the book!

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Random Queer Storytime: The Suit

Welcome, friends, and thank you for joining me for yet another thrilling edition of Random Queer Storytime, that all-too-frequent occasion when I launch into a random tale of my past that exemplifies both my queer/trans-ness and the fact that I was impressively oblivious as a young person.

In today’s episode, we learn about a dance, an ex, and an ill-fitting suit that finally cracked the closet door open — before I slammed it shut again and shoved myself in deep enough to get a glimpse of Narnia. But that’s another story for another day.

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Transgender Diaries: Entry 1

So, I’d like to start off by saying that it is 100% possible to be trans without spending your childhood despising all that comes with your assigned gender, and not everyone who identifies as transgender has the same “I always knew I was *insert gender here*” narrative. There’s no such thing as being “trans enough,” and you can identify as trans without ticking a single box on the What People Usually Expect Of Trans People list.

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Aces Are Wild (Let’s Talk About Asexuality)

Image: In today's edition of "I was wrong about something"... What exactly is asexuality?

As a long-time member of the queer community, I naturally thought that I had a pretty good handle on the many different and wonderful flavors of queerness. As it turns out, however, there is one particular orientation about which I was grossly misinformed, and maybe you are, too.

Asexuality.

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Girls just aren’t interested in that sort of thing

I occasionally find myself wide awake at 3 AM because my body thinks it’s funny to be a jerk sometimes, and as I lie there pretending to be asleep so my cats won’t decide it’s breakfast time, I often end up thinking Deep Thoughts. My thoughts this morning ventured back to childhood and some of my youthful interests, and I got to thinking yet again about the bizarre gender divide we’ve set up around certain activities.

There’s a continuing narrative, even in these “woke” modern days, that those born of the male and female persuasions are naturally and perhaps even biologically interested in different things. Girls like this and boys like that, and that’s just the way it is. And while we’re now beginning to encourage girl-type-children to enjoy pursuits outside of the stereotypical “feminine” realm (while stubbornly insisting the boy-type-children stay firmly in their place), we still have this idea that being born male or female automatically inclines a person toward certain endeavors.

But if we’re not biologically programmed to like certain things, then why do so many girls act this way while boys act that way?

Well, let’s talk about that via my own example.

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What is CHOSEN and why should I care about it?

T.J., you say aloud to your screen, I’ve seen you mention this queer fantasy book series, Chosen, approximately 1,000 times per post, but what is it? What is it about? What would the characters look like if someone spent valuable writing time creating avatars of them via an online fantasy avatar creator? I MUST KNOW.

Well, my inquisitive friends, look no further. This is the post for you.


What is Chosen?

Chosen is a book series that asks the question, “What if there was a fantasy story that featured 99% female characters, most of whom are queer people of color, but it was also, like, interesting and good and stuff?” <–(official tagline)

I’m a huge fan of fantasy, but the fantasy I grew up with generally involved straight white dudes (or straight white elves, or straight white dwarves, etc.) getting to do cool stuff while the women were there either as background characters, romantic/lustful objects for the aforementioned dudes, or as the requisite Tough Female Characters who were generally overly sexualized and ended up being defeated (or romanced, or both) by the main character dudes, anyway.

Queer storylines were pretty much non-existent, and while you would often get a token brown character thrown in somewhere along the way, it was always the exception rather than the rule. And you know what’s really awesome about creating a whole new fantasy world of your very own? You can decide what’s normal, so in the fantasy world of Chosen, normal involves a pantheon of queer goddesses, an abundance of non-white folks, and a general acceptance of queer relationships, trans people, non-binary people, etc.

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