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D. C. JURIS
Hi folks ::waves:: I’m DC Juris – I’m an out and proud bisexual transgender man, and a writer of GLBTQ romance.
I grew up in the South, in a Southern Baptist family. It wasn’t uncommon to hear jokes about African Americans, Jewish people, and yes, gay people, around the lunch table at my grandmother’s house on Sundays. My father was a mentally, physically, and sexually abusive alcoholic with extreme rage issues. My mother was a co-dependent dry drunk. They were both abused in their childhoods – they were, quite literally, a perfect storm of dysfunction.
Imagine my fear when I discovered, in Kindergarten, that I liked both boys and girls.
Imagine my horror when I realized that there was a name for what I was: transgender.
But let’s back up a little.
As far back as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to be male. I can recall being in Second Grade and looking at the older boys and wondering when I was going to look like them. For most of my young life, I ended up wearing boys’ clothing. It wasn’t on purpose, but because my father drank most of the money he made, so they relied on hand-me-downs, and most of those were from boys. I was perfectly happy to don some denim overalls and a t-shirt, with sneakers on my feet. I played in the dirt, I trudged through ditches in search of turtles and fish. I did all the things little boys did.
That is, until puberty hit. In about three months, at the age of nine, I went from a flat-chested kid whom everyone assumed was a boy, to a C-cup, unmistakably feminine girl. Suddenly my overalls and t-shirts were replaced with dresses, skirts and pantyhose. My beloved, comfortable sneakers were replaced with heels. (Yes, at nine I was wearing heels.) Makeup and hair styling came close after, and I became a thing I hated. A thing I couldn’t even recognize when I looked in the mirror. I longed to be myself. I longed to be male.
I knew better than to open my mouth about how I felt. I knew how my father felt about gay people, and, even though I didn’t realize I was transgender, I understood I was different enough to be considered wrong. I was too different.
One day after school while I was in Junior High, my father caught me hugging a friend of mine. She was actually my secret girlfriend. We thought we were pretty good at hiding it, but looking back, I’m sure we weren’t. My father must’ve told my mother, because she confronted me later. I boldly told her I was a lesbian. I thought I could trust her. After all, she was the one who didn’t laugh at the nasty jokes. She was the one who always tried to steer the conversation away from that kind of talk.
My mother told me I was confused, that there was no way I could understand who I was attracted to. In a shining example of parent of the year, she informed me that anyone could turn me on if they knew what they were doing – even her (my mother). I was then forbidden to see my friend again. I was forced to give her back anything she’d given me – toys, books, trinkets – and I was to have no contact with her again.
From then on out, my parents life focused on making me look like a girl as much as possible, and on trying to convince me to be “normal.” Mind you, during all of this, my father started sexually abusing me. No matter what I did, though, I was never good enough. I didn’t laugh right. I burped too loud. I could never remember to sit with my legs crossed. And, God help me, I couldn’t cook to save my life.
Over the next few years, I fell into a dark depression. To deal with the mental and physical pain, I started cutting. In an attempt to get rid of my hated breasts, I became anorexic. By the time I graduated high school, I weighed eighty pounds, and had tried to kill myself once.
I bought my first computer for $300 from my aunt. It took about twenty minutes to boot up, and I couldn’t download anything on it because of how full it was, but it did run the Internet. That was where I discovered I wasn’t alone. In fact, there were lots of people like me – people who felt they’d been born in the wrong body.
On the Internet, in an AOL Chat Room, I met a man named Dan. He’d been born Dana, and after years of struggling, had finally embraced who and what he was. He taught me that I had options – that I didn’t have to be defined by what others thought I should be. He taught me that I could be me.
I lost touch with him after a while, like people do. It wasn’t anyone’s fault. But by the time I finally got around to looking him up, I learned he’d passed away a month before.
Dan never got to see me be the man I wanted to be. He never got to see me fall in love with someone who accepted me. He never got to see me flourish.
I live my life everyday trying to be a person he could’ve been proud of. Sometimes, I stumble. Sometimes I’m selfish and bitter, and sometimes I’m just an ass. LOL
But I never forget the lessons I learned from him. I never forget the scared, depressed kid I was.
If I could go back in time and see the kid I was, I’d just grab him and hug him. I’d tell him that he was good enough just the way he was. That he didn’t need to live up to anyone’s lofty expectations. That he didn’t need to starve himself or harm himself. I’d tell him not to give up. That the world was bigger than the tiny little hell he’d found himself stuck in. That life had more for him – amazing things and wonderful people who would understand him and accept him. I’d tell him not to give his tormentors the glory of his defeat – but instead, to rise up, to flourish, to thrive, to grow like a wild daisy, unbound by convention, and to show them all that this boy they said wasn’t good enough was better than all of them.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
A Southern transplant who has retained none of his accent but all of his charm, DC Juris is an out and proud transgender bisexual living in Upstate New York with his husband, three dogs, three cats, and a menagerie of Halloween props just creepy enough to keep people guessing about his sanity. He’s still hopelessly single when it comes to the woman in his life, and he’ll gladly entertain offers or applications for the position! In the rare event that he’s not writing, DC can be found surfing the internet for random research, killing things on his Xbox, reading, taking pictures of the world around him, or playing Farmville, to which he admits a complete and totally blissful addiction. You can keep up with him at www.facebook.com/dcjuris, or www.dcjuris.com.
Reviewed by Katinka C.
STORY: Thrown Away
BOOK: Lost and Found
AUTHOR: D. C. Juris
EDITOR: Kris Jacen
PUBLISHER: Featherweight Press
BLURB: Some statistics say that 40% of all homeless teens are GLBT. They’re on the streets after their families have thrown them away, told them that they don’t matter, that they’re not normal. Well, guess what? Those families are wrong. This collection of stories by ten talented authors spans the spectrum (historical, paranormal, transgender, cutter, gay) to show that – it’s okay, there are people out there that care, and these teens are perfect just the way they are.
The Lost and Found story I’m reviewing today, Thrown Away, is a straight forward story about a boy who is thrown out of his parents’ house after he confesses he identifies as a girl. His family gives him the cold shoulder and he ends up in a nasty shelter. Until he gets rescued by loving, open minded people. But there’s a little twist…
Although Thrown Away is well-written, the events and how they unfold are nothing if not predictable. These are the situations the teens that the Lost-n-Found Youth in Atlanta provides for, have all found themselves in at some point. But that doesn’t mean it makes for a particularly interesting reading experience. Since these stories are all fictional, I must admit that I had expected the subject matter to be explored with more creativity. Yes, it is terrible that hate, ignorance and fear poison the lives of promising kids. It’s infuriating that parents turn against their own children if they fail to fit the mold of ‘normalcy’. You and I both know these things happen though. I personally don’t require tearjerkers to be reminded of the importance of the cause.
In fact, I think I would have preferred recollections of real kids to fiction. Yes, a bundle of interviews with t(w)eens, recalling their struggles in life and how those struggles defined them, could have packed a punch. Imagine this; their voices would have delivered such a powerful message!
I had hoped for this anthology to inspire, enlighten and inform me. Since I am reviewing Thrown Away, in which the MC is a girl in a boy’s body, how about some food for thought? When your MC has to deal with something that most readers probably have not encountered themselves and find intriguing, why not dive into what it actually entails to be locked up in the wrong body? What options does a boy have when he decides he wants to be a girl? When is the right time to let a girlfriend or boyfriend in on his little secret? There’s so much material to work with here, to turn into a story that would have kept me on the edge of my seat. Stories that could have made you or, in this case, comfortable-in-her-own-body me actually FEEL how intoxicating it is to pass as the opposite sex for the first time. And what a relief to finally be able to inject those hormones that will stop these terrifying processes in a body that feels alien.
So it’s about more than creating awareness for a glaring problem, it’s about creating understanding. About making people see that they are damn lucky to be who they are and that they should be supportive of those who weren’t that lucky, and have long, unpleasant roads ahead of them to obtain a body that feels right. To become that someone you and I were fortunate enough to be all along.
My rating for this book is first and foremost meant as praise for the heartwarming initiative to donate Lost and Found’s royalties to this wonderful charity. This alone should be reason enough to immediately order this book. If you end up enjoying these stories, well, that’s a big, fat bonus!
Featherweight Store || Book Store (ebook) || Book Store (Paperback)
Katinka C. is one of the official reviewers on The Blog of Sid Love.
To read all her reviews, click the link: KATINKA’S REVIEWS
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CONTEST WILL END ON 25th June, 2013 @ 11:59 PM Central Time!!
There will be a giveaway contest everyday from 16th to 23rd of June, 2013. The blog will be hosting these for the authors who have contributed to this anthology – who will be giving away either any of their books from their backlist (excluding Lost & Found, of course!) or their will be a giveaway of Gift Cards!
MLR Press will choose a lucky winner from the entire lot who have participated in these daily contests and the winner will get to choose one book of their choice from their HUGE backlist!
ALSO, PARTICIPATE IN:
JEFF ERNO’S GIVEAWAY
DAKOTA CHASE’S GIVEAWAY