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.
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.
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.
Greetings, friends. So, you may have noticed that a lot of people are not so pleased with J.K. Rowling as of late, and if you haven’t delved too deeply into the issue, you may be wondering why emotions are running so high. I thought I would offer some clarity on this matter, as it might be helpful for someone innocently wondering what JK possibly could’ve said to alienate and anger so many people.
So, there seems to be a lot of confusion out there about sex, gender, gender identity, etc., so I figured I would offer a quick primer for anyone in need of clarification. I’ll start out by saying that there’s a certain fluidity to all of this, and one person’s experience does not encompass all people’s experiences, and a general rule of thumb is just to take people at their word when they say they are this or that.
“I’m trans.” “Oh, okay, cool.”
“I’m non-binary.” “Oh, okay, cool.”
“My pronouns are “they/them.” “Oh, okay, cool.”
“I am a giraffe.” “I mean, you don’t look much like one, but you would probably know better than me, so okay, cool.”
See? Super easy.
But let’s get a little more in-depth here.
So, at some point in our illustrious history, it was decided that when it came to humans, there were only two boxes that could be checked. One was “male” and one was “female.” Which box you ticked depended solely on what body parts you had, and this was further expanded with the idea that said body parts also determined your interests, personality, mannerisms, and what kind of body wash scents you were allowed to enjoy.