This post is written by Lindsay, one of our awesome teen volunteers at the Bainbridge Island Library.
In our media, members of the gay, transgender and genderqueer community are shown very rarely as people we can relate to. The identity of “gay” seems to hold its own stereotype- as if a person who is gay has to fit into a certain ideal of what the media and society thinks gay people should be, how they should dress and represent themselves. Transgender people or someone of the genderqueer community are thought to be weird or strange because they are breaking society’s rules. Seeing these often-false stereotypes is especially destructive for youth and young adults because, let's face it, being a teenager in the 21st century isn’t exactly easy, and finding out who you are in the midst of all these stereotypes is hard enough without being part of the LGBT+ community, something that unfortunately sets you apart from many of your peers. These books not only explore the idea of being queer, but offer a strange comfort when you realize that other people are experiencing the same things you are, and that they care enough to publish a book about it.
I am J by Chris Beam J is in the process of becoming a boy. He was born a girl, and he has no support from his family or friends. After meeting a girl who believes he is a boy, J realizes that there are people in his life who are willing to encourage him to go through his transformation. His downfall comes when he is deserted by his best friend, whom he trusted more than anyone. After several upsetting experiences, J realizes that to become the person he was supposed to be, he has to persevere and hold on to whatever encouragement he can find. This is an inspiring story about standing up for yourself and learning how to find your own path.
This Book is Gay by James Dawson This is a very funny book on a serious topic. I covers being gay, lesbian, transgender, questioning, genderqueer and pretty much everything else on the queer spectrum. James Dawson talks about his experience growing up on the gay spectrum and how he coped. He also gives tips and ideas on how to come out, how to defeat stereotypes and how to find your identity.
Being Emily by Rachel Gold This is another book about a transgender youth’s struggle. Emily was born Christopher, and until she meets Natalie and the new school therapist, she thinks she has no chance of being who her mind is telling her to be. Her outsides don’t match her insides and she feels like she was born in the wrong body. This is an amazing and comforting story and several reviews on Goodreads claim they read the book in less than a day.