One issue many writers grapple with is the question of identity. Who are we? How do we know? What shapes us and why? Something that many people take for granted in this discussion is the gender binary: we may not be sure who we are, but one thing we feel we do know is whether we go in the male or in the female box. But what if you’ve been put in the wrong box? What if you don’t belong in any of the boxes? Why do we feel the need for boxes anyway? Do boxes even exist?
So here are some books about boxes (or lack thereof).
Orlando (1928), Virginia Woolf
I’m sick to death of this particular self. I want another.
Trumpet (1998), Jackie Kay
When the love of your life dies, the problem is not that some part of you dies too, which it does, but that some part of you is still alive.
Middlesex (2002), Jeffrey Eugenides
I was born twice: first, as a baby girl, on a remarkably smogless Detroit day in January of 1960; and then again, as a teenage boy, in an emergency room near Petoskey, Michigan, in August of 1974.
Luna (2004), Julie Anne Peters
Yeah, I loved her. I couldn’t help it. She was my brother.
Two Boys Kissing (2013), David Levithan
Ignorance is not bliss. Bliss is knowing the full meaning of what you have been given.
Golden Boy (2013), Abigail Tarttelin
Sometimes I still feel that there are two of me: one clean, flawless picture, the other imperfect and cracked; one boy, one girl; one voice that speaks aloud and one that whispers in my ear; one publicly known to have been troubled but be on the mend, the other who has privately lost something to do with innocence and gained something to do with knowledge and adulthood that can never be undone. I feel sometimes there are things that tear me in two directions, that there are two sets of thoughts that grow side by side. But then I realize that I am whole, whatever that means and does not mean; I am complete without the need for additions or alteration.