Something has really been bugging me and I wanted to address it here in public for a couple of reasons. In the first chapter of THIS BOOK IS GAY the following sentence appears:
“So why don’t we teach you about same-sex couples when we teach Sex Ed? Or that a lot of people choose their gender?”
I see now that my choice of words was wonky here. What I OF COURSE meant was:
“So why don’t we teach you about same-sex couples when we teach Sex Ed? Or that a lot of people choose to change their gender identity from the one they were assigned at birth?”
No-one chooses their gender in the same way that no-one chooses their eye colour. Many, many other sentences in the book reflect this truth. I suppose some people can choose to ignore compelling feelings about their gender or sexual preference, but I’m not sure how happy they’d be.
The reasons I wanted to address this are twofold: One, some sassmongers up on social media be shady. I’m all for criticism, but I worry that demonising THIS BOOK IS GAY over a single sentence will prevent it from reaching the hands of young people who could really do with it in their lives.
Secondly, I wanted to hold my hands up and say I GOT IT WRONG. I really did. Sometimes I f*ck up. Unfortunately, on this occasion, my f*ck up is there where everyone can read it. I say in the book that we have to be allowed to make mistakes. Social media is getting so scarily reactionary right now that I worry people will just stop talking about things which absolutely HAVE to be talked about: gender, sexuality, race, feminism, politics. We ALL make mistakes. It’s in how we move on from them.
I apologise if any trans, cis, genderqueer or otherwise readers felt excluded by that wonky sentence. Rest assured I’m going to do everything I can to get it amended in future print runs.
Updated – Both Hot Key Books in the UK and SourceBooks Fire in the US have agreed to amend in future print runs! Thanks lovely publishers!