Genderqueer: AllanD. Hunter
Sometimes when you look in a mirror all that you see is your image but not what lies beneath the surface. How do you decern what you see as oppose to what you really are? Derek from the moment he was a young child fought within himself to find where he belongs in the world, what friends he would make and how he would be accepted. Within his mind he wanted to be like all the other boys, but he was not. He enjoyed activities that girls liked. He loved to listen to music, watch them play but when it came to sports and other male activities, they were not his choice. His classmates in elementary school and middle school were mean, abusive and at times bullied him both verbally and physically and when wanted help from the adults they told him to handle it on his own. They did not want to interfere and were fearful that if they brought the bullies to task it would be worse for him. Trying and learning to be like the rest, fit in, have a girlfriend and be invited to parties, Derek struggled until High School where it all changed. Wanting to fit in and be accepted Derek took a different path leading him to drink, smoke and use pot. Getting stoned was not the answer yet it did not deter him from doing it. His parents were not thrilled yet the crowd he was with seemed to accept him. Girls were still in his life and he wanted an girlfriend, but when looking to the future where will he be?
Getting his license, working to get his own car and then hoping to find his way in this world, Derek takes many different journeys but which one will lead him to where he is today. Author Allan Hunter shares his own true story through Derek as he struggles with knowing his sex is male but his gender if femme and trying to connect both into a life, he can handle
Meeting Linda changed a lot and talking about their feelings helped Derek in a way sort out his own. Times were difficult and yet he seemed to have worked out his own path. Working in the pharmacy even though the owner seemed to nick pick at him at times. Taking Linda around and showing her the scenery and getting to understand his own feelings. He still has a long road ahead and now filling out applications for college was the next step in his journey .
Derek takes many turns and has many transitions until he might finally find his way. Drinking, getting stoned, working as car mechanic and then trying to find some social life and interactions leaves him at times alone and feeling cold. Harassed, ridiculed and often feeling on the outside looking in, you begin to wonder how long before he learns the truth about himself.
When his parents foot the bill for a plane ticket for him to come for Christmas why does he hand over some for pot to a friend. Lies, manipulation and betrayals before Derek realizes who he is and why. A book told in the voice of Derek as we experience his emotions, his confusions, his decisions and how he decides to come out
But his life and choices took on many different turns as he decided to go back to college and major in music which was my major too. Reading about the courses, hearing about the different classes and the professor who basically did not appreciate creativity, brought back memories. Derek had a new roommate and met many different people, but it was the book that he was writing about himself and learning more about transgender that might open up new worlds to him and help him find his way. People often judge people by their actions and appearances and others are plain critical or biased. Meeting Suzanne he thought he might have a relationship with a girl, still writing to Linda as if he needed her approval or could not accept the change in their relationship.
Finding yourself and deciding who you are is not always cut and dry. Understanding where you belong, looking in that mirror and seeing your reflection might help center you in some ways but it is beneath the surface that counts. Fitting in just to be accepted is what many do as Derek did. His frustrations, battles and more are vividly described.
The author takes us through his journey by allowing Derek to share his personal ups and downs and finally the revelation he shares at the end.
A class in human sexuality opened new doors for Derek allowing him to realize who he is, understanding others within his class and expressing himself in public. He does not consider himself gay, transgender but sex as a male and gender as female and even decided to express his gender in his dress. Coming out of a different closet is not easy and yet for the first time he felt that he now had a direction and a sexual orientation.
Speaking out and creating his own platform and sharing his thoughts and a paper he wrote led to misunderstandings and the eventual placement in a mental facility. Bonding with some of the people there and working as a group to understand and help each other did not sit well with those in charge.
A final note when he realizes where he wants to be and who he is let me quote: Gender invert Can be used to refer to a similar person who continues to live a life as a male girl or a female boy, someone who embraces the disparity between their sex and their gender instead of feeling obliged to fix it. A gender invert is someone whose gender is the opposite of the gender associated with their physical sex, and who accepts both their physical sex and their unexpected gender as natural and correct. Male girls. Female boys which defines him as gender invert. He feels more comfortable calling himself Genderqueer. When Derek finally realizes where he belongs, does speaking engagements and helps others that face the same conflicts, choices and changes that he experiences he realizes that what he wrote or shall I say author Allan D. Hunter is the story of ME as he would put it. Told in Derek’s voice we the author tells a story of a boy, teen and now man who alternates between attempting to fit in and be accepted and trying to be true to what he sees as his real self. When you look in the mirror and see your reflections you need to see past it and realize deep down who you really are and embrace life you own way.
Fran Lewis: Just reviews