My hope is to instill in my child an understanding that gender is fluid, for herself and others, and that a happy and healthy relationship is one based on mutual love and respect. “Part of it is just the fiction of being alive,” says the poet and writer, Eileen Myles. “Every step, you’re making up who you are.” I want to give my child the space to make up who she is, and yet the world persists in imposing expectations on her and on all of us, starting with the pink or blue clothes we’re dressed in when we’re newborns.
Eileen Myles is the inspiration behind a character in the show, ‘Transparent’ (she is also the creator, Jill Solowoy’s girlfriend), which centers around a Los Angeles family, the father of which has just come out as transgender. Though the transgender movement has a long history, it is just now coming out in America and ‘Transparent’ “both reflects and advances its agenda,” writes Ariel Levy in Dolls and Feelings: Jill Soloway’s post-patriarchal television, The New Yorker.
Worm Loves Worm by J.J. Austrian, illustrated by Mike Curato, reflects and advances the transgender movement’s agenda for the four to eight set; an age that, it seems to me, society imposes a very binary way of thinking on. In Worm Loves Worm, two worms who love each other decide to get married. Cricket insists someone officiate, so they agree for him to; they also agree to other wedding traditions such as a best beetle and bride’s bees. When the bees ask who the bride is and the beetle asks who the groom is, Worm and Worm agree to assume both roles, and they each don different components of a tuxedo and a bridal dress. Cricket objects, saying that’s not the way it’s always been done, to which, Worm and Worm reply: “Then we’ll just change how it’s done.” And so Worm and Worm are married – simply because they love each other and want to, and what better reason is there really? J.J. Austrian’s sweet love story, accompanied by Mike Curato’s expressive cast of characters creates a world in which gender is a choice and marriage is an act of love. That’s a world I want to live in and raise my child in.