We need stories that help us make sense of the world, stories that tell us we’re not alone, stories that answer questions we don’t know to ask, that help us find out who we are. We need stories about us. All of us.
I am five. I want to be an ocean explorer when I grow up. I practise in the kiddie pool. Mama says I can’t run around like that. People will talk. I tell her I don’t care, but I do, a little. I don’t know what people will talk about, but I learn that I have something to hide.
I am eleven, and I want to be a painter when I grow up. My grandmother takes me to buy underwear that is ‘cut to bring out my attributes’. In the middle of the store she holds it against my body for size, and I want to crawl into a dark cave and never come out.
I’m thirteen, and I’m going to be a cook, or a carpenter. I can’t decide. Of course the moment I’m told I can’t take that class anyway, because I’m the wrong gender, that is the one I want. That fight I win. I still can’t decide.
I’m a teenager in non-descript, oversized clothes that hide my body. It’s an okay body, I guess, but the way people make it their business freaks me the hell out. I hate all that gender bullshit. I read a lot. Thrillers and whodunnits and SF/F. I live in books. I don’t read love stories. Everyone in books is straight. What’s the point? I want to be a writer. I’ll write books that … I don’t know. Have bisexual heroes, I guess. Still … that’s not all. I don’t know what to say. Maybe it’s just growing up. Doesn’t everyone go through this?
They tell me I have to make an effort, and maybe they’re right. I mean, they can’t all be wrong. Can they? And I know they care. I want to be a good kid. I do. I’ll grow out of my rebellious teenager phase and try to be who they want me to be. It’s for the best, right?
I’m all grown up and working sensible 9-5 jobs. I’m normal. I’m okay. Fake it til you make it.
I meet someone who says he’s trans. What? What does that mean, trans? He’s just starting to find out. It’s a sensitive topic. The dictionary is not helpful, neither is the library. I’m not sure who else to ask. Or even what. My friends, the books, betray me. Again.
I’m at university. There’s a GLBT group. I decide to take a peek, because, I mean, maybe I’m trans? They tell me I’d know. If I was trans, I’d hate my body, I’d want to transition or kill myself.
I just want to be me. They tell me to stay in my lane, I’m just confused. Yeah, well. Story of my life.
I’m thirty, and I’m done pretending I’m okay. I feel wrong. The box I squeezed myself in, because I was told it was my box, is getting tighter every year.
I buy my first computer modem. Internet. Unlimited fanfiction, discussions, Wikipedia, ebooks … Whoa. I read everything I can get my hands on, find the terms bigender and agender. And then genderfluid and genderqueer. It feels right. It fits.
It took me almost forty years to find out who I am.
I wish I’d had a book about me when I was five. Or eleven. I can’t go back to tell myself what I know now, but I can break boxes and write books.
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G.B.Gordon worked as a packer, landscaper, waiter, and coach before going back to school to major in linguistics and, at 35, switch to less backbreaking monetary pursuits like translating, editing, and writing.
Having lived in various parts of the world, Gordon is now happily ensconced in suburban Ontario with the best of all husbands.
About The Other Side Of Winter
Not all wounds are visible.
Skanian investigator Bengt fell in love with fellow policeman Alex Rukow in a week. But that was a year ago, and they’ve been apart ever since. Then Alex escapes the corrupt and destitute island nation of Santuario and comes to live with Bengt. Happy ever after . . .?
Alex’s lifelong dream of leaving Santuario has come true at last. But he finds himself adrift in a society he doesn’t understand. Worse, past nightmares come back to haunt him, and after so many years of suspicion and self-reliance, it’s harder than he imagined to trust someone else.
Bengt just wants Alex to share his comfortable life. But the more he tries to give, the more Alex pulls away. Their physical connection couldn’t be better, but Bengt can’t seem to get through to his difficult, taciturn lover outside the bedroom. Meanwhile, he has his own demons to confront—not to mention a serial killer on the loose.
Bengt and Alex must dig deep for the courage to face their pasts, but it may be too late to save their relationship or their lives.