Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Different

 I Am J

I finished reading I am J by Cris Beam and what a different book. The topic is on something that you don't see many writers writing about, though more and more are writing about it. It's a very controversial topic, I would say, and it something that is very prevalent for our time period. Lots of things are happening in this area, good and bad and I think this book is very appropriate for that. I've got you interested now, don't I? You really, really want to know what I'm talking about. Any guesses? All right, I'll take you out of your suspense.

I am J is about a transgendered boy...I think that's the appropriate term anyway. A boy trapped in a girl's body. The novel is basically about J becoming comfortable with who he is, and showing the struggles of the transgendered people in the United States. It's definitely a very interesting read, because J thinks so differently than I think. It's a really good look into how these kinds of people think, because as you read the novel, you really get to know J and how he thinks and feels. At some points, the novel is really sad because at the beginning, J is really uncomfortable with who he is, and is constantly covering up his body and his personality. It makes you think, why is our society so unaccepting of these people? They're people too, you may not agree with it, but to discriminate against them is wrong. We live in the country of equal rights, and everyone deserves them, no matter what.

I'm going to deviate from the book a little bit now, because I think this book opens up an excellent discussion. As I have mentioned before, I worked on a project last semester about teaching LGBTQ themed books in elementary school classrooms (and will be working on it more next semester). Researching for this project got me more interested in the rights of LGBTQ individuals. LGBTQ individuals are severely discriminated against, and I think it's mostly because people don't understand these people. Yes, some progress is being made, like in New York. They just passed a bill that will allow same-sex marriage in New York starting at the end of July. This is excellent progress, but there are set-backs for these individuals as well. In Holland, Michigan, where I live, the sexual orientation equal rights amendment failed because of a split vote (more information on this here. If you click on this link, read the comments. Some of them will shock you, I promise). So while progress is being made in some places, in others no progress is being made. And it's sad.

If you read I am J, I promise you will get a different outlook on this whole community. It will make you think differently about LGBTQ individuals, and the struggles they have to go through just because of who they are. Didn't everyone always tell us when we were little to just be ourselves? Why aren't we letting these people be themselves? Because we disagree with their lifestyle? That isn't a reason to discriminate against someone. I disagree with people who don't like to read, but that doesn't mean that I won't be their friend, or tell them they can't do something because they hate reading. I know that's not quite the same....but hopefully you get my point. We live in the land of the free. But not everyone is free.

Well there's my venting session...I hope it had some sort of effect on you. It saddens me, the treatment of LGBTQ individuals, and I hope through my research project I can change some of that.

The next book I'm reading isn't quite so serious. I'm reading Beauty Queens by Libba Bray. So far, it's quite a comedic read. Let's hope it continues that way

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