I am J by Cris Beam

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Photo: MillionHoodies. Shadow. BW321 by Nakeva Corothers

Are you happy with who you are, in your own skin?
What about your name, are you happy with that, or does it let you down? I have a sister who hated her given name so much that she decided to change it. She wouldn’t answer anyone’s questions unless they used her new one…it worked!
How about your race, or the colour of your skin? Does this force you to live two lives (one at home and one at school) or have you found a way that’s right for you?
How about your body? Would you be more comfortable if you were taller and had more muscle? Perhaps you would feel better if your breasts were bigger, or smaller? Perhaps you can’t wait to get a piercing, dye your hair and get lots of tattoos.
And what about your gender? You are happy to be a guy, right? Being a girl is great isn’t it, or, is it?
What if you hate your body, your name is not right, and deep down inside you have always known that although your body is growing in one way, that gender is not who you are?
Meet the world of J … born a Puerto Rican girl living in New York City who knows he is a guy. He is angry, confused and misunderstood, and has no one he can trust with the truth, not even his best friend. School is a nightmare – they think he is a lesbian, they call him a dyke, and his parents have impossible expectations saving all their money so that their daughter can go to college. Puberty is tough, but this is way off the scale.
If you can identify with some of these issues you will find this a great read. Even if you have none of these issues, this book will make you feel that you are very lucky to have such an easy life. Either way, read this book, experience the pain and the hope, and understand that some people, in the words of Lady Gaga, are just “born this way.”
This story reminds me of Chaz Salvatore Bono, Cher’s son, who was born Chastity Sun Bono a girl and underwent a sex change. “At the time, Cher promised to support her child on his “difficult journey” and said she would “strive to be understanding”.”

Support and understanding are vital to us all. This was demonstrated recently (on the 17th April 2013) in New Zealand when members of parliament voted in favour of amending the 1955 Marriage Act to allow same-sex couples to marry. After the votes had been read out people spontaneously started singing the Maori love song Pokarekare Ana

I wonder how J would have felt if his friends and family had celebrated the news of his transgender with a love song?

If you are interested to read what the author says about writing I am J

If you would like to read Cris Beam’s website see

Mrs H.

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