Jennifer Boylan is a successful book author, writer, and pianist. She has written several books and almost all of them were successful in terms of sales and popularity. Jennifer Boylan has so far published a total of eleven books. Two books were memoirs, three were novels, five were adult books and the rest could be classified with a pseudonym that Jennifer Boylan herself fabricated. One of the interesting characteristics of Jennifer Boylan was her habit of giving almost every interesting thing that catches her attention a pseudonym. She even calls her wife by her pseudonym sometimes and even in public places. Majority of the readers of her book, especially the ones who really love her works, likely know that the author of the book they are reading is a transgender. Jennifer Boylan underwent an operation that gave her access into the world of feminism forever. She underwent surgery when she was 42 years old. Meaning, she lived as a male for 42 long years. She had a wife whom she calls Grace (she calls her wife grace because of her graceful personality—Jennifer Boylan loves to make pseudonyms) and two children by the time of her operation.
Important Topics for the Author
According to interviews, she was really happy about her decision and she never regretted it. Some people acknowledged that she became confused at some point because of a certain dilemma. A quote that depicts this dilemma is “I woke up from a nightmare, covered in sweat. Moonlight shone down on the snow outside. I asked myself, in the softest of voices, you don’t still want to be a woman, do you? And I said, Shut up, shut up, and shut up. You do. I got back into bed. The baby lay asleep in the bed between Grace and me. I put my arm around them, mother and child, protecting them. They were warm” (Boylan, 2004). It clearly showed how confused and disturbed she was at that time.
Gender and sexuality really seems to be a very sensitive issue that not a lot of people try to talk about it in public or write a book about it. Well, that was not the case for Jennifer Boylan. In some of her interviews, it is quite clear how most people ask her questions about being a transgender or belonging to a community that often experiences public and societal discrimination. She actually does not mind being acknowledged like that; perhaps because it’s true. Moreover, it could still be thought that the issues about gender and sexuality are important ones for her. She would not really write a book or two about it if she did not even care about such topics. Some readers and analysts would say that she is a writer who has dealt with a taboo or a sensitive issue. She seems to be ignoring such type of opinions because for her, it’s the comments and opinions of the readers that matter. She does not really treat the topic “Gender” or “Sexuality” as something taboo or very sensitive to talk about. She simply does not believe that people are not supposed to talk about it in public or in any other place. This is what probably made her be distinguished in a huge pool of book authors and writers. Well, her books, especially her autobiography really speaks for her and the principles she believe in.
Another important issue about the author was the issue about her family. Jennifer Boylan did not let her family break apart just because of her decision to undergo an operation that would turn her into a female forever. She still talks to her wife and their children just like the way how they did before. It was very evident how she regarded her family as an important part of her life. She wanted to keep her family together and for her, that was the bottom line.
The most important issue for Jennifer Boylan is perhaps her own identity. It is given that she does not want to be inside a male’s body that’s why she made the decision to drastically change her life. However, she wants to preserve her old identity. She actually feared that changing into another body might make her lose her previous self.
My Responses to Her Decisions
I personally do not acknowledge her decisions as something negative or poorly planned. We humans are perfectly individualized by God; we have our own wants and aspirations. My wants would not surely match Jennifer Boylan’s wants. I do not have any rights to say that she just made a very bad decision because I cannot really feel how she dreamed about being in a female’s body or how she worked hard for such an expensive operation. I actually admire her for being brave and having a backbone to stand for and execute decisions that could have made her lose her rising reputation as a writer and a book author. Obviously, it did not turn out that way. She even became more successful than what she is supposed to be. Very few people often have the courage to stand for the things that would make them happier. Jennifer Boylan’s decisions actually changed my perception about transgender individuals. I used to think that these people were undesirable people who could not anything good for the society. Jennifer Boylan and her bravery made me realize that transgender individuals aren’t actually bad people. Her decisions made me realize that transgender individuals could even be more productive and successful than people who are straight. I am totally not against any of her decisions because her other smaller decisions just highlighted how a brave person she is and how she wants to make everyone in the world know about it.
Some of the issues that for me seemed to be skirted were issues about ethicalities and of course religion. Religious people would not likely appreciate Jennifer Boylan’s decisions because of her gender. Most people who treat gender and sexuality topics are most likely religious people. They always use the bible as their reference. If a religious person is going to look and review Jennifer Boylan’s decisions, it would really seem that she just committed a sin. There is a certain passage in the bible that states that only men and women will be allowed to enter the kingdom of God. Nothing was stated about transgender people. This is the usual reason why being a transgender individual seem to be a very bad thing in the eyes of religious people. Another skirted issue I think is Jennifer Boylan’s overwillingness in expressing her opinions especially the ones that are meant to encourage people to follow the path that she chose. I am not saying that she is a bad example but other viewers, especially children, may view being a transgender individual as something positive or something that is often admired by society.
Most people do not really like to open out issues about gender and sexuality because society always made people think that these are very sensitive topics not meant to be talked about in public. Thanks to Jennifer Boylan’s braveness, they are not anymore. Transgender individuals, for a long time, have suffered discriminations from other people. Jennifer Boylan’s success story, despite being transgender could perfectly fit the issue of poverty in the LGBTQ community. According to a non-government agency named American Progress, poverty rates are higher in the LGBTQ community. Jennifer Boylan’s story could not only serve as an inspiration for transgender; it could also serve as a perfect example that being a transgender does not equate to being poor or any negative thing that society may relate members of the LGBTQ community to.
Boylan, J.F., She’s not there: a life in two genders. Broadway, 2004. Book.