Monday, April 7, 2008

(33) Trans Sister Radio by Chris Bohjalian

I picked this book up several weeks ago after Mr Bohjalian was in the store & signed his books. I have read other books by him & enjoy his thought provoking writing on timely issues.
Trans-sister Radio is even more timely this week than it has ever been. Well left me first explain. Trans-Sister Radio is the story of Dana Stevens. Dana was born as a man, but from a very early age, Dana knew that God got it wrong. Dana wanted to play with dolls instead of watch sports. Dana wanted to wear make up & look pretty. Dana would wear t-shirts to bed & pretend they were night gowns. From a very early age, Dana knew she was a woman born with a man's body.
Fast forward. Dana is a thirty-five year old college professor. He starts dating a school teacher, Allison. After they both have fallen in love, Dana explains to Allison that he will be having the gender reassignment surgery.
Dana & Allison's story sparks a myriad of emotions amongst their small town. The reactions range from disgust to hatred to compassion to confusion. People fear what they do not know or understand. And that fear manifests itself in such hateful ways.
In an effort to help Dana & Allison, Allison's ex-husband, the manager of the local Public Radio station suggests an in depth story on their situation. Which is the "radio" part of the title. The story is told from the viewpoint of Allison, Dana, Will, & Carly (Will & Allison's daughter). The chapters are broken down into segments for the All Things Considered radio show.
How is this story relevant to today's news stories? Well. In the last week or so, a man & his wife have come forward stating that the husband is the first pregnant man in history.,,20187678,00.html They were the cover story on People magazine. As well as guests on the Oprah Winfrey show. The husband did not have a complete gender reassignment surgery because (s)he kept the reproductive organs in hopes of getting pregnant in the future. So essentially, (s)he just had a double mastectomy & married a woman.
I find myself disgusted with this couple, not because of the gender dysphora. Not because of the desire to live as they feel they should. But because 1. I think they are doing a great disservice to all of the transgendered people who go all the way. All of those people who completely give up everything female to become a male. Or vice verse. And 2. I think this was a planned act from the very beginning, the sensationalism, the paid interviews, everything. Planned from the beginning. Their child will likely grow up under the shadow of the conception. And every year on her birthday be pimped out for interviews & articles as the first child born to a man. Like the septuplets in Iowa.
And that angers me to the point of disgust.
Am I intolerant? No, I don't think so. Judgemental? Maybe. If this were a couple who lived down the street & I saw in the grocery store, I would wish them luck on their family & ask to see pictures. But this is a couple that chose to share their story with the entire world for their financial gain. And in my eyes, that is wrong.


Lisa Mandina said...

Interesting, I never knew what this book was about. But I share your irritation with the couple that is in the news. I also want to read the secrets of a former fat girl book, that one sounds really good.

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