Prism Book Alliance® would like to thank Matthew J Metzger for stopping by today.
Title: Spy Stuff
Author: Matthew J Metzger
Publisher: Queerteen Press
Cover Artist: unknown
Genre: Contemporary, Trans*
Anton never thought anyone would ever want to date him. Everyone knows nobody wants a transgender boyfriend, right? So he’s as shocked as anyone when seemingly-straight Jude Kalinowski asks him out, and doesn’t appear to be joking.
The only problem is … well, Jude doesn’t actually know.
Anton can see how this will play out: Jude is a nice guy, and nice guys finish last. And Anton is transgender, and transgender people don’t get happy endings. If he tells Jude, it might destroy everything.
And if Jude tells anyone else … it will.
Life Without Love
The problem with the LGBT fiction genre is that it’s not.
LGBT, that is.
It’s got more G than my pre-surgery chest, and my old bras are 28G over-the-shoulder boulder-holders. Occasionally, amongst the walls of muscled torsos and the poetic descriptions of penises, a stray lesbian appears, usually a very feminine one with nice legs, and the L gets a look-in before scurrying off back to its F/F circles that stay resolutely away from the M/M ones.
B, as the recent upheaval with the Gay For You trope showed, is very much an afterthought and often outright overlooked as something that doesn’t exist between gay and straight. It’s almost invisible, and the odd glimpse of it is more often lip service than any real attempt to write bisexual characters leading normal, boring (or even crazy, exciting) bisexual-person lives.
Yeah, good luck.
I’ve been asking for more transgender characters for a while now. Characters. Not stories, but characters.
You see, what covers my social media every day is cries from the Writers of G (sounds very conspiracy-theory, this malarkey) about rainbows! letters! diversity! fair representation! love is love! how dare the TV show give everyone but the gay guy a happy ending! RAWR!
And hey, look, I’d agree. If not from the fact that, from where I’m standing, a lot of the RAWR is also a massive RAWR of hypocrisy.
Because 31 March was the International Transgender Day of Visibility. And the community, this community that prides itself (and heck, brags about) inclusiveness, diversity, and being a safe space for LGBT folk…was quiet.
Even major blogging sites, like Prism Book Alliance, like Gay YA, watched it slip by. Both have held visibility and awareness campaigns before. Gay YA even had an aromantic awareness week recently. And yet…nothing for the T.
And as a trans man, staring at these walls of muscled torsos and getting the same old ‘eek, it’s hard! eek, I wouldn’t know enough! eek, trans characters are complicated!’ and having seen the T go ignored again, and again, and again, something else starts to creep across the void.
You’ll never be man enough.
That’s what’s coming out, here. We’ve had trans men posing topless on major magazines covers now. We have trans men as fashion and fitness models. We’ve had trans men with beards and beer bellies taking selfies in the bathroom to protest the bathroom bans sweeping the US. (A couple of them look scary as fuck, by the way.) And yet this G-centric community still digs its heels in, and refuses to write trans characters.
Are we not man enough for you? Can we not have muscled torsos and poetic penises? (Spoiler: ohhhhh yes we can!) Are we not sexy, hot, sizzling, whatever word-of-the-week you prefer?
Are we not loveable?
Because that’s the natural consequence. All these books about gay men finding love, and having their happy endings, and trans people get…silence.
We don’t get happy endings. We don’t get love stories.
And yet in the real world, outside of our books, we’re being murdered. We’re being raped. We’re being banned from bathrooms, locker rooms, changing rooms, gyms, schools, hotels, shops, restaurants. We’re committing suicide. We’re being thrown out of our homes. We’re being told, loudly and constantly, that we are sick, we are broken, we are insane, we are perverts, we are disgusting, we need to be shot, put down, fixed, locked up, killed. We are not wanted. We are not loved.
And the LGBT fiction community isn’t arguing back.
We need happy endings. We need to see ourselves in books having happy, normal, successful, wonderful, brilliant, mad, irritating, beautiful lives. We need to be fed something other than hatred and contempt.
We need love.
So please, God, stop with the excuses, and just damn well write us some.
About the Author
Matthew is an asexual, transgender author dragged up in the wet and windy British Isles. He currently lives and works in West Yorkshire, and has a special fondness for writing the rough-edged British working class society in which he grew up — warts and all.
Matthew roams mainly on Twitter and Facebook, has a free fiction page, runs a blog chronicling his own transition from female to male, and has a website. His young adult backlist can be found on his JMS Books author page. And as a last resort, he can also be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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