As often happens after I hit the ‘publish’ button, today I had some additional thoughts about Roving Pack, the novel by Sassafras Lowrey, that I recently reviewed.
In the review, I said that I was inspired and called to write my own genderqueer story after reading about Click’s.
Having the opportunity to read another person’s genderqueer narrative made me acutely aware of the lack of such stories in print. I can remember as a kid I couldn’t get enough of adventure stories. I always gravitated toward the ones featuring boy protagonists as I felt a strong kinship with them. Even though I wasn’t the same kind of boy. I made do. I took what I could from those stories because they came the closest to what I wanted to experience as an adventurous boy.
As an adult, seeking stories that reflect who I am, I find myself reaching for books by butches about being butch or stories by trans men about being a man born to an ill fitting body. Like my younger self, I’ve found a lot I can relate to in them, even when it doesn’t all fit. I was fine with that gap, in fact, I wasn’t really cognizant that I was ‘making do’ until I read Roving Pack. Â The books protagonist, Click, explores many of the same issues I’ve been struggling with: Â am I trans* enough? Â Am I trans* at all? Â Is there something about medical and legal transition that applies to me? Â What does gender mean to me? Â Why is it so hard for some trans guys to accept that I’m not a ‘baby trans’ who will someday transition to fully male?
I want to find all the genderqueer stories and read them. I don’t know how many more are out there, maybe there’s an undiscovered trove somewhere but so far I haven’t found it. We have blogs, we are making contributions to anthologies but we need more. As a writer, I need to do more. As someone who wants to read and consume genderqueer stories, I need to do more. I need to see encourage people to write their stories, even if they don’t consider themselves writers. Someday in the future, all the future genderqueers and gender explorers will have are the stories that were written/videotaped/sung and preserved somehow. We’ve got to do this for them, they need to hear how many different ways there are to be gender non-conforming, how many ways there are to think about gender. Can you imagine how much will have changed by then? How many things they’ll assume and take for granted about gender? We need to make sure they have a chance to see where the roots of their gender assumptions come from.
I’ve been thinking and talking for a while about starting a writing group for queers in town. I really, especially want a space for gender explorers to get feedback, read their work and hone their craft in story telling and writing. I want to form a group that can work together to get this work published somewhere. I especially want gender non-conforming voices to be heard and recorded. We need to tell our stories because no one else will. I mean, someone else might try, as a reporter or historian, but those are interpretations. We need to take charge of how our stories are told.
Help me out, will ya? It’s been a while since I updated my list of genderqueer, trans and butch blogs and online resources. I’m always looking for more, and really leaning on my readers to help me discover things I am not aware of. I’m also hungry for writings by genderqueers and other gender explorers. So please, if you come across a book, story or article with that viewpoint, please let me know. You can email me — kyle at butchtastic dot net.
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