Online author JD O’Meara shared with me a new book that she has written called “whatever.odt”, which deals with the difficult subject of transgender issues and bullying that are getting more and more focus today. Her book, which is available from the website Smashwords looks at the subject from different angles and with a personal understanding of the issues. It is a book focused on a more mature reader, so keep that in mind. The site describes the book as follows:
JD’s whatever.odt is an academic memoir that brings together opposite sources — print and web, humorous and painful, scientific and literary — to place her personal experiences as a genderqueer individual in a larger cultural context. Offering the text for free continues her motif of opposites: “such a book would have been invaluable to me when I was growing up lost, confused, and bullied.”
Combining a youthful and goofy sense of humor with insightful analysis and critique, whatever.odt is a fun and thought provoking read that sweeps across everything from Shakespeare to The Simpsons and from doctoral dissertations to Yahoo! story comments. The artistic form of the text follows its function, with its unusual title, enigmatic chapter titles, and unconventional paragraphing designed to mirror the atypical identity of JD herself.
Although it does incorporate elements of both genres, whatever.odt is neither a coming out nor a transition story. As the memoir of a genderqueer heterosexual, whatever.odt answers the call for transgender and genderqueer individuals to emerge from the shadows of shame by making their bodies seen and their voices heard. It engages in the contemporary initiative to expose and eradicate bullying by supporting and empowering those who are and who have been its victim. And it moves transgenderism and genderqueerness from the reader’s newsfeed into the reader’s backyard by offering a fresh perspective on the girl next door.
I read the text and it is very powerful, but is meant for an older audience as it is very honest in its approach (read has honest language and more mature subject matter). Below is an excerpt from the book.
I didn’t fare much better among the girls. They called me names incessantly, but at least didn’t try to physically hurt me. Except for the bully. I always tried to avoid her. She seemed to go out of her way to get me.
There was one time in particular when she caught me off guard during recess. She feigned throwing a ball in the opposite direction but instead whipped it right at me, hitting me square in the gut. When she came over to retrieve the ball, she told me that I should take my f&#ki%g dyke ass to K-Mart and get a sex change operation.
And I was so accustomed to such abuse that my first thought was “really now…K-Mart?”
Middle school wasn’t any better. Our elementary school merged with two others, and I hoped my new classmates might be more accepting.
The a%$holes had networked during the summer. I was barraged with insults on the first day of school from people I didn’t even know. I thought one guy in particular was cute. When I finally gathered up the nerve to say hi to him, he replied, “you must be that f&#ki%g queer.”
Gym class rather than recess now provided opportunities for humiliation. Despite being one of the best female athletes, I was regularly chosen last. I was tripped, pushed, blocked, and elbowed. I was hit by basketballs, volleyballs, and floor hockey pucks. I was intimidated, badgered, and belittled. This was all either denied or said to have occurred on ‘accident.’
They knew exactly what they were doing, and so did I. I couldn’t fight back. I was outnumbered. I couldn’t tell on them. That was useless, and just made it worse for me the next time around.
The book is 109 pages and is available in multiple formats from the Smashwords site at: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/126040. JD’s perspective of the transgender issues currently being addressed in our society and the bullying that goes along with these issues brings clarity to a difficult subject. I recommend “whatever.odt” to anyone interested in getting a perspective of this issue.