from Gender Identity Disorders
September 25, 2007 - Elsworth Rockefeller, a young adult services librarian in Ocean County, New Jersey applauds the emergence of "transgender-inclusive" literature for young adults.
Rockefeller, writing in The Horn Book Magazine (September 1, 2007) outlines numerous books that have been published in recent years that include sympathetic portrayals of teenagers who believe they are trapped in opposite sex bodies.
According to Rockefeller, "There are no universal truths, but one thing that must be present in these YA novels is a respect for atypically gender characters."
He notes four different types of transgender inclusive fiction: 1. The novel that features characters who identify as the opposite sex but do not have sex change operations; 2. The novel that presents negative stereotypes about transgendered teens; 3. The novel that shows a teen passing as the opposite sex as a quick fix to a problem; 4. The novel that crafts "believable, multidimensional characters who embody or face transgender themes in a plausible way."
One novel in the fourth category is Luna written by Julie Anne Peters in 2004. It is a story narrated by Regan who has a transgender sibling named Luna. Her brother, Liam, thinks he's a girl and dresses as a girl. He also attempted to cut off his male sex organ with a kitchen knife. Rockefeller describes Luna as "compassionate" yet heavy-handed in its message.
Two other novels (Fool for Love and A Queer Circle of Friends) by Lisa Lees, describe a relationship between a female-to-male transgender teen and an intersex teen. In A Queer Circle, a sequel to Fool for Love, Lees focuses on the FTM teen, an intersex teen and a male-to-female teen that evolves into a "polyamorous bond."
Rockefeller concludes: "The future of the genre could prove to be valuable for teen readers, but not until authors can both lighten up on the didacticism and deepen their books to go beyond gender - moving, like their heroes, into a larger world."