I was on a panel at a science fiction convention recently, talking with other content creators about the importance of queer characters in young adult stories and what it means to queer people to see themselves in narratives. (It was a great panel, by the way!) One of the topics was the change in representation of queerness since the panellists were teenagers.
That topic has persisted for me since, not always happily. Which trans characters did I see, growing up in the Seventies? The example that I talked about in the panel is Jodie (played by a ridiculously young Billy Crystal), from 'Soap'. 'Soap' was a gloriously over the top, satirical romp through every soap opera trope ever, from family drama to alien mind control, and Jodie's character was put through the soap opera mincer during the four seasons the series was produced. One of Jodie's storylines covers his decision to transition gender, attempt to have SRS, subsequent change of mind and cancellation of the surgery, and attendant emotional distress. Jodie also dates men and women in the series, while identifying as gay. This was important stuff for me, as a young teenager! It's as though the 'Soap' writers and producers knew about my own gender and sexuality confusion and were writing the series for me (only with lots of extra plot lines about bitter butlers, criminals and, of course, aliens).
And then there's 'Rocky Horror Picture Show'. Much better known than 'Soap', possibly, and full of fabulously sexually ambivalent characters. The handling of gender identity in 'Rocky Horror' is a bit rough, but in the Seventies and long before the internet, I was willing to take what I could get. 'Rocky Horror' talks about transsexualism, and definitely dives into queerness in terms of sexual preferences, but its handling of gender expression didn't meet my adolescent needs. However, it also featured aliens, so that was a win. Or possibly a trend.
So that's my past, and now Circle of Change has been released in a print version, with a lovely new cover. Circle of Change was the story I wrote for myself first, trying out the idea of transitioning gender fictionally long before I publicly began the process. I remain very fond of Circle, and of Kim and Dash, who are so hopeful and young. When readers email me about Circle, I understand, because I too looked for the stories I could see myself in, and then eventually wrote them. I'm delighted to share Circle of Change with you all.
Circle of Change is available in e-book formats directly from Torquere, or as a