During a recent Youth Network Leadership residential, I had the opportunity to sit and talk to author and friend Jonathan Edwards regarding his recent autobiographical release, “The Boy Who was Born a Girl”.
Before we discussed the book however, we delved a bit into his background, looking into his experience as a child with gender dysphoria, and the feeling of confusion and isolation that created.
Also briefly discussed was the culture and societal perception of the transgender community. Jon feels that there is a lot of misinformation which creates a fundamental lack of understanding regarding the issues and tribulation of the experience. This is sadly true even in the medical profession.
It saddens me to think that people are unable to live and exist with the body and gender they associate with, without coming under scrutiny from the media and public at large. This is especially true for Jon, who has used this media attention to the benefit of himself and the culture as a whole. He is raising awareness of the issues both through the documentary made about him, and the book, which came as a result of it.
On the matter of writing, it is something Jon has always wanted to do. Not just an autobiography however, Jon is also an established online writer of adult fantasy fiction, and while he claims his writing is only a hobby at the minute, I can very much see him transitioning into an author full time when he is older.
His first forray into the world of writing, the aforementioned “Boy Who was Born a Girl”, is co-written by his mother, and follows their experience through this completely life altering event, documenting their feelings and emotions. A really hard-hitting element is the inclusion of family photos. It adds emotional weight to the whole experience.
Being a friend of Jon makes writing this especially difficult, both for the additional fear of offending, and the desire to not detract from book sales by covering him too in depth.
With this in mind, I will end by urging you all to listen to the podcast, which was unfortunately plagued with interruptions, and no amount of editing wizardry will fix it. Once you have done that, go online or into your nearby bookstore and buy his book. Hopefully you will agree with me that it is an eye-opening and emotional account about a tragically misunderstood condition.
The audio for this interview is available online to listen to, and to download on iTunes.
Photo credits: Charlie Campbell