Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Out of the Pocket

Out of the Pocket is a fantastic book written by sports writer Bill Konigsberg, who came out in 2002 and shortly thereafter left ESPN. 

Bobby Framingham is the star quarterback in his senior year of high school, and he has a secret, he's gay.  Its beginning to eat away at him, the jokes, the expectations of his sorta kinda girlfriend.  In a weak/brave moment he comes out to one of his good friends on the football team, who tells two other people, and at that point Bobby's life begins a slow spiral downhill.

If you don't like football, this book will not be a good fit for you, as you follow Bobby thru his senior football season, and a great deal of the book deals with football.  Bill has written a very likable character in Bobby, he seems like a fella you'd want to be friends with.  And that's one thing that made this book so enjoyable, besides the wonderfully written sports scenes, is just how likable the main characters are.  There are a few guys on the team that are total douches, but they aren't the norm.  My only complaint with the book is how easily the majority of the school accepts Bobby as being gay.  Could it be that's all it takes is for someone that is at the top of the social heap to come out?  I don't know, no clue on this. 

Dutton Books 2008
264 pages
available both in print and kindle

If you do enjoy sports, take a click and visit Outsports.  On the main page today is several profiles of college athletes who have come out as gay.  The day of needing to be closeted to play in major league sports is coming to an end.

Monday, October 10, 2011

LGBT History Month

I thought I'd celebrate history month a bit differently, and showcase books written by lbgt authors.   Todays offering is the first transgender book I read, written by Jamison Green.  When Jamison first began his quest to fulfill his need to match his inner self with his outer self he found that there was no community of transpeople.  Why?  At that time the therapists all told trans folk,  to fade away into society and blend in after transition.  F2M's have a much easier time of blending in than do the M2F's, and f2m's dont have the onus of being "a guy in a dress" meme.  The more feminine of us pass quite convincingly as male, but not always as straight males.

James talks about his girl-hood, his life as a lesbian, and how on his quest to become a whole person, lost both his wife and community, as most of his lesbian friends were not very supportive of his transition.  He touches fairly lightly on his hurt feelings from this time period, but you can tell it cut deep from how he writes about this time period.  

I was luckily enough to share a breakfast with him last January when I traveled to Boston for the trans conference.  His speech the night before was amazing.  He is warm, caring and seemingly nonjudgmental.  If you get a chance to hear him talk, go he is a great public speaker.

Why should you, a non-transgendered human read this book?  It will help you to better understand what being transgender is, and how some of us are so insistent about matching our inner selves with our outer selves that we are prepared to lose all to be a whole person.  If only I were that brave.....

This book made me feel that I wasn't alone, that I wasn't weird or odd, and gave me a community if only thru print and web.  It was this book that helped me to come to terms with who I am, and pushed me into attending the trans conference.  Jamison helped usher me into my identity as a trans human, and that it was ok, it really was.  Going to the trans conference was very stressful, however like anything that is hard allowed me the chance to grow as a trans man.  The most important thing I learned at that conference wasn't learned in any of the seminars; there is more than one way to express one's trans-ness, and all of them are correct.

As of now, 'Becoming a Visible Man' is only available in print, not on kindle.  Hopefully that will soon change. 
 264 pages
Vanderbilt University Press, 2004