Let’s discuss: I am J by Cris Beam (Controversial topic)

Disclaimer: Possible spoilers.

I shall put it out there that I am neither for or against the LGBT movement. I have no bias opinion to this topic, taking into account that I have no intention of offending anyone at all.

Ahh…. Cris Beam’s I am J. I got this book as a birthday present from my sister.


This book is so brutally honest about everything. The insight to the life of a 17 year old transgender teen and his struggles to love himself. Every reader would be able to relate themselves one way or another to the emotional turmoil of J’s every day life.

I had all kinds of transgender stereotypes before reading this book. I thought all transgender people were gay. Well, as J mentions, “omg, don’t call me a lesbian, ANYTHING but a lesbian, gross”.

I’ve never really read anything like this before, i.e gender identity issues. How did I even find this book? That’s right, I saw a little extract of it in one of my English subject classes. Right now, the topic we’re touching on is about minorities such as races, disability, LGBT, etc.etc.etc. It was of J being rejected of his testosterone shot, of course being 17 he couldn’t make decisions of his own to whether or not he could take them. He needed parental consent! It really drew me in to learn about this. I didn’t know how this struggle affected transgender people.

As I mentioned before, I wanted so badly to be a boy as a child. I kind of grew out of it, because I knew I couldn’t be one, with my girly run, my waist turning in, no way could I ever pull off being a guy! But what if I continued to persist? Wouldn’t I face the same challenges as J?

The fact that J’s mother had to lie to his father about J’s whereabouts for the past few months proved a sad truth about how much even his father could not accept him being like this. Not to mention he called him “Disgusting”. It is understandable why his father would react like this, I mean you’d see your young daughter and imagine her to grow up like any normal girl. To J, he has always been a boy. This treatment from his father really pained him, but time would let it rest. J was almost 18, and could legally get testosterone as he desired.

Much like Joe in the movie Pride (2014), their runaway story full of lies and excuses just to pursue their identity turns for the worst when either of their parents find out the whole truth. There we go again, Honesty is the best Policy. Really, no one should be ashamed of who they are, or hide what they’ve become. But when the surrounding community is completely discriminatory of your “kind”, you would probably hide and find an escape on your own. woohoo freedom!

The book ends in J’s successful application to a prestigious photography course. Of course J is a normal boy, and even the public started to recognise it that way.

This book not only kills you inside, it brings out an issue in new light.


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