Weekly Meeting: Boy Meets Boy

Boy Meets BoyThis book is part of the following challenges:

  • Book Lust
  • Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge

I am trying something different.  I am playing with ideas on how to change things around for 2016.  Like with most book clubs, I get distracted when talking about the book of the week.  I will talk more about the 2016 format when we get closer to the new year, but for now I am trying to use discussion guides to focus on specific aspects.  I have picked 3 questions for the discussion guide and I will respond to each.  Also, a what you should know section.

What you should know about Boy Meets Boy

  • It is a YA book
  • It is about LGBTQ teenagers and straight teenagers in High School
  • While I think it takes place in an overwhelmingly positive world, the characters do deal with the problems many straight and LGBTQ teens face these days.
  • It is a romance story with a happy ending.
  1. Chuck, who’s straight, used to like Infinite Darlene, who’s transgender. Levithan never even mentions gender when discussing Chuck’s unrequited crush. Do you think being trans will be such a non-issue in another decade that straight guys won’t think anything of liking a transgirl?
    1. So this book was written in 2003.  It has taken us 12 years to really begin to start discussing transgender people.  With that in mind, the side dominating this discussion is male to female trans-identities.  There is nothing wrong with it, but it is the case.  Chaz Bono is our cultural example of a female to male transition.  He doesn’t get the attention he deserves for it.  Further, it is important to note that gender and sex are different.  At this point in her story, Infinite Darlene is transgender.  Gender is socially defined.  One can be transgender without surgically changing ones sex.  Sex is biological.  Technically, transsexual are those who use hormones and surgery to change themselves.  You should not treat anyone differently because they are one over the other.  I personally just appreciate when the difference between sex and gender are recognized.  To answer this question… we aren’t there yet.  I think women tend to be more comfortable with this, for the most part.  In my experience, women have been forced to take on masculinity in various ways for many decades.  There seems to be more flexibility with femininity that there isn’t with masculinity… at least at a very general, societal level.
  2. Would a romantic gesture like Paul’s gifts to Noah be enough make you forgive someone for cheating?
    1. I don’t know.  My rational mind would remind me that cheating is typically caused by something bigger than general desire.  My heart… well, I think that depends on how I feel about the person.  Cheating in High School is different than cheating as an adult.  This one is difficult for me, mostly because I have never been in love enough to care to repair a relationship broken by cheating.
  3. Paul says Tony’s parents view Tony’s homosexuality as a “challenge.” If they really think they can change him, and they think God wants people to be straight, why would God challenge them in the first place? Why would God make Tony suffer to teach his parents a lesson?
    1. Every time poor Tony came up I had to roll my eyes at his parents.  Mostly because the whole ‘god’ thing irritates me.  I am an atheist.  I refuse to believe any being could create people in it’s image and then reject this aspect of it as unnatural.  With that in mind, they could be justifying it as a test of their faith… ala Job.  They could see it as punishment for previous sins (Jimmy on South Park is an example of parents who think they are being punished).  Is Tony really suffering though?  I felt that Tony’s experience is probably the most authentic story in the whole book.  Everyone else seemed to live in a world that is more idealized.  Yes, real gay boys have to deal with Tony’s problems.  Teenagers primarily deal with shitty lives.  The goal is to get through it and hopefully your parents aren’t really as bad as his… even they seemed somewhat flexible when treated rationally.  I am not sure most gay children in highly religious homes get that sort of flexibility.  Then again, what do I know?  I haven’t been a teenager for a very long time and I am a straight woman.  My experience is completely different.

Who Should Read This:

  • People who like or love YA books.
  • People looking for books about LGBTQ characters.
  • People who like happy endings and positive universes.
  • People trying to get out of their comfort zone and see the world through people different than them.

Other books I finished last week, but won’t be discussing:

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