Archive for the ‘Review’ Category

Review: *Luna*… of photos and siblings

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

An excellent young adult novel is an excellenLunat novel. I am late coming to read this one (after all, it has been nominated for a number of awards since it’s appearance in 2006), but boy am I glad I found it.

Luna, by Julie Ann Peters, is the nuanced story of a trans girl, and her family. The author brilliantly tells the story from the point of the view of Liam/Luna’s younger sister, Regan, as she comes into her own. I loved how the story unfolded, changing my perception in particular of the parents as the story went along. The importance of friends and family in a trans person’s youthful experience is of course huge.

We see Luna through Regan’s eyes. Trans knowledgeable readers will treasure each new understand she comes to, and the less knowledgeable have the opportunity to learn in a very natural manner.

One of the situations that most struck home for me was an episode where Luna describes how her sister puts her ‘boy drag’ school pictures up on the wall, and takes pot shots at them. I had a true shiver of recognition at that. I loathed having my picture taken in my youth. I never looked right. This kid is a bit more direct in disgust.

I was a bit afraid of this novel early on. It puts the darkness of hiding and being trans right out there. I was afraid of Bad Things. But Luna constructs herself and her life with daring, so the reader (trans or not) needn’t be afraid. Go for it!

Not long after reading this, I heard of the YA novel I Am J. I have it on request at the library. Coincidentally, I just read a wonderful article by the author. I can’t wait to read the book!

New book!

Thursday, February 9th, 2012

Friends of mine have edited and just released a new essay collection, “Gender and Transgender in Modern Paganism.” It’s available as a free download, or order-able printed book, at http://cerridwen.st4r.org/wiki/index.php/Gender_and_Transgender_in_Modern_Paganism. Check it out if you’re interested in the intersection of transgender issues and spirituality.

I was honored to be selected as a contributor. I felt like I was being risky in my style; it’s a near stream-of-consciousness travel through time and experience, revealing the intersections of transition and spirituality that I traversed. It was fun to find another author (T. Thorn Coyle, whose work I really admire) used a similar approach. 🙂 Mine is rather a historical piece nowadays; so much (thankfully) has changed in the visibility of transgender people and experience.

I like that the book offers a variety of voices, from assorted sides of the issue (there are more than two, methinks). Some are long-winded, some are exciting, some brisk and some detailed. I think it’s a good read.

There will be another discussion on gender the paganism at the upcoming Pantheacon conference (www.pantheacon.org). There’s plenty to discuss!

Siblings and Self-Awareness

Monday, November 8th, 2010

The New York Times Magazine has a new article out, When Brother Becomes Sister. Though it is ‘positive,’ as far as its exploration of what it means to be in relationship with a person who comes out as trans, I find myself ambivalent about the piece. And perhaps that is fair, as the writer’s experience is (still) ambivalent, as many folks’ are, in a similar situation.

I am sorta amused by the use of reference to a travel guide book as the parallel ‘story’ in the narrative. It’s classic NYT style, and fine prose… but just so very odd. The book is Jan Morris’s “Venice,” who is transsexual, so that part as parallel makes sense. But the use of actual bits o the travel writing in the current story felt very off to me, like they were mostly about taking up space. A writer certainly has a number of words to fill in any particular assignment.

I also wish that the author had at some point, when seeing her own response to her sibling would be that s/he “be content to stay semi-in-the-closet so he could keep his job teaching music at a Catholic school”.  The lack of self-awareness in some of these statements honestly surprises me, as does the lack of questioning of the school or the mere fact that her sibling would have to be someone other than who she was in order to keep her job.

On the other hand, the ending of the piece is sweet in the author’s interest in “competing” with her sister in terms of makeup and such.

My sister doesn’t talk to me, so I think a little competition sounds nice.

Movie: Beautiful Boxer

Monday, September 20th, 2010

Beautiful Boxer is a beautiful film, from lush foggy mornings to flashing legs in bright shorts in kickboxing arenas. It’s also difficult to watch at times; the utterly solo pain of not being able to be who you are, of how stereotypes are used for money-making, of simple family struggles. This is the story of Parinya Charoenphol, a poor child, a “transvestite” in Thai parlance, who discovers a talent for kickboxing, and goes on to be a champion who revitalizes the sport. The ultimate male sport, done to support hir poor family, and to save for sex reassignment surgery.

The actor who plays adult Parinya is a professional kickboxer! How cool is that? Can you imagine a US fighter who would be willing to play an MTF? I was pretty wow’d by the acting throughout the film, from the little boy who was Parinya as a child monk (hungry for lipstick) to the adult fighter.

What I liked best perhaps was that this movie is about *showing,* not telling. It’s not a talking heads movie, despite the interview wrapper. Strong and lovely film.