An excellent young adult novel is an excellent novel. I am late coming to read this one (after all, it has been nominated for a number of awards since it’s appearance in 2006), but boy am I glad I found it.
Luna, by Julie Ann Peters, is the nuanced story of a trans girl, and her family. The author brilliantly tells the story from the point of the view of Liam/Luna’s younger sister, Regan, as she comes into her own. I loved how the story unfolded, changing my perception in particular of the parents as the story went along. The importance of friends and family in a trans person’s youthful experience is of course huge.
We see Luna through Regan’s eyes. Trans knowledgeable readers will treasure each new understand she comes to, and the less knowledgeable have the opportunity to learn in a very natural manner.
One of the situations that most struck home for me was an episode where Luna describes how her sister puts her ‘boy drag’ school pictures up on the wall, and takes pot shots at them. I had a true shiver of recognition at that. I loathed having my picture taken in my youth. I never looked right. This kid is a bit more direct in disgust.
I was a bit afraid of this novel early on. It puts the darkness of hiding and being trans right out there. I was afraid of Bad Things. But Luna constructs herself and her life with daring, so the reader (trans or not) needn’t be afraid. Go for it!
Not long after reading this, I heard of the YA novel I Am J. I have it on request at the library. Coincidentally, I just read a wonderful article by the author. I can’t wait to read the book!
This year, we broke the South Bay Trans Day of Visibility into two events; an afternoon event, with all of the education and discussion panels, the art, computer games, etc etc. Some cool moments:
* Hearing two old high school friends found each other!
* Playing a friend’s video ‘game,’/installation and realizing I’d love to have it on a giant screen on a wall in my house
* Seeing Dr. Marci Bowers sitting cross-legged on a table as she spoke with her audience
* Listening to friends take the stage for open mic for the first time, and being blown away by their words
* OMG The TWO massive pans of Hobees coffee cake!
* Having two send two of the South Bay Trans Men out on their continued mission for inflatable balloons… again… because I didn’t get a phone message… and they smiled and continued on their way AND scored balloons!
* Seeing people queued in the hallway for some presenters… hearing an enthusiastic presenter and audience through a wall…. trusting a friend to keep the kitchen running
Yes, much good stuff. Yes, schedules had to be shuffled a bit the day before and day of, but it was all good. No one got lost this year, so we learned last year’s lessons of signs well enough. There are new lessons for this year.
Part two this year was breaking the evening event off to a separate, more party-friendly space, and really having a party! The Gender Queer Society and Sistah C were funny and touching. The sound was good! That was sure a happy thing.
As were the ongoing conversations in the other room, and the friendly young man working the bar. DJs from a queer entertainment services group kept the music going, and kept feet dancing later in the evening.
More personal cool moments:
* Finding a row of friends in funny hats
* Sitting down for the show. !!
* Dancing in my tall shiny motorcycle cop boots and leathers, so good to get loose!
* Sheer delight in the diversity and beauty of the crowd!
* The personalized King and Queen stickers.
The raffles went well! People actually stayed in their seats for them. That was new to me! I think we very well for the Billy DeFrank LGBT Community Center; the numbers will be in later.
So many people did so much. We started on this months in advance. Char got the space, and handled most of the evening event planning. BJ pulled in some excellent presenters. Wyatt helped so much with administrative work, and in the moment background work. Joanne was my extra set of hands.
Friends were amazing! Baking and home cooking appetizers, finding donations. hauling tables and decorating chairs… on and on. Special thanks to the gentlemen of the South Bay Trans Men, whose time I took during meetings, and whose cheerfulness and abilities are took as much advantage of as I could in setup and tear down.
Thank you each and every one who helped make the events come together, and thanks to everyone who came, learned, had fun. Some of you were ‘out’ for the very first time: I salute your bravery, heart, and style.
Quick updates ahead! This year’s south bay Trans Day of Visibility is a full day and evening conference filled with opportunities to learn, play, relax, and dance! I hope you’ll join us if you’re in the area.
Day Event, 3-6pm at the DeFrank LGBT Community Center, 938 The Alameda in San Jose
* New presenter added to our already impressive list: Nicole Stallard from the San Jose Pink Pistols. She has been featured in the film ‘Arming Laramie,’ and is a pro-gun LGBT activist. You know she’ll have interesting stories and points of view to share.
* Munchies available! Hobees has donated their famous coffee cake, and Jamba Juice will be donating 20% of their sales to the DeFrank.
* Interactive video art installation!
* Art show with Karen Massing and others
Evening Event, 7-11pm at Char’s Hair Design, 1343 The Alameda, San Jose
* Drag entertainment! The awesome Gender Queer Society and Sistah C
* More auction items! Restaurant gift certificates, leather paddles, lovely scents, tea… they keep coming in!
* Wine, beer, and soda for the open bar (plus light appetizers)
* A DJ who knows his audience