Symptoms Of Being Human
Can you imagine what it would be like to be the child of a
congressman running for reelection: being expected to look perfect,
poised, and put together at fundraisers and other huge events and
knowing that every aspect of your life is under the scrutiny of a
scandal hungry press? As an adult with an open book of a life, I'd be
terrified. Riley, teenage protagonist of Jeff Garvin's Symptoms Of
Being Human, has a huge secret and is still learning all its nuances
Riley is gender fluid. There's the not knowing whether one
will wake up feeling more masculine or more feminine every day. How
does one dress at a stage in life when peers have expectations of
gender consistency? How does one deal with the bullies who torment
anyone who is in the least bit different? How does one decide whether
to stay in the closet when coming out may be the end of a parent's
career and maybe even the end of that parent's unconditional love?
Symptoms Of Being Human is one of the most authentic and gutsy
coming of age stories I've ever read. I'd highly recommend it not
only to its target audience, but to all parents and the professionals
who work with young people.
On a personal note, I wish they had the term gender fluid in the
popular lexicon when I was growing up. When I insisted on being the
knight rescuer and preferred tree climbing to dressing and undressing
Barbie dolls I was a tomboy. When I was more interested in peace and
justice and camping and mountain climbing than in primping and
simpering to catch the male gaze I was weird. Now I can go with my
ever shifting identity. I have a wardrobe ranging from dresses and
jewelery to button down shirts and ties. Hmm. Maybe this is one
reason I lost that last election. I doubt Veazie is ready for gender
fluid. Too bad, so sad.
A great big shout goes out to gender fluid people and allies.
Sent from my iPod