Gender and Sexuality are Not Frozen in Binary Oppositions
The blurring of gender lines and exploration of sexual identity issues seem to have attracted more than their share of public attention in recent times. Saint-Clair, in her latest novel, Morgan in the mirror, tackles the important issue of transgenderism. It is an important issue for the health and survival not only of our own community but also of humankind, because transgenderism is part of the global issue of discrimination against ‘the other’, and our survival is based on our ability to become compassionate, accepting human beings capable of caring for each other and, in turn, our planet.
(PRWEB) September 13, 2004
Author C. C Saint-Clair explores the tetchy notions of transgender and gender identity to the nth degree in Morgan in the Mirror. She puts meat on the bones and a face to the name and gives us a central character so multi-layered, so deep and so real that Saint-Clair succeeds in challenging her audience to rethink, re-evaluate and discover a new level of compassion for those caught in a gender conflict, and those who love them.
Saint-Clair’s previous half a dozen novels revolve around lesbian themes. And in exploring transgenderism in this offering, she has retained her brutal, poetic style and integrates compassion for the characters with honest observation.
Morgan is a 23-year-old female to male transgender engineering student at The University of Queensland. His struggle to explore his gender, discover himself and become the person he truly believes he is, is painstakingly described and his relationships profoundly explored. Saint-Clair explores the notion that sexuality is not a fixed state and people are not either/or. Instead, she asserts, genders have “always existed as mere stations along a rich and gloriously multicoloured continuum”. And Morgan in the Mirror makes a compelling argument for this notion.
Saint-Clair does not preach or justify and at times, along the way, her storytelling is uncomfortably brutal. The dialogue between the characters of this novel is often confronting. This book is not largely for readers who choose to live, eat, breathe and read in the mainstream, but for those who dare to explore.
Morgan in the Mirror is certainly erotic, but rather than staying merely with the homosexual activities that so fascinate the heterosexual community, Saint-Clair explores the agony and ecstasy of a character tormented and conflicted by social expectations. The gut-wrenching grief of a family’s love lost plagues Morgan, as does being the constant subject of social revulsion and curiosity.
Beyond a pure exploration of the sexuality theme, Saint-Clair also pens a strong storyline, one that stands alone as interesting, well told and well constructed.
While the topics tackled in Morgan in the Mirror mean its readership will be largely restricted to those in the gender twilight zone, that would be a pity because Saint-Clair’s treatment of Morgan is so compassionate and complete that this is a book that should be read by parents and friends of anyone questioning their gender identity. Reading this book will certainly bring a deeper understanding of their loved one’s circumstances.
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Morgan in the Mirror
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