Friday, April 29, 2016

Transgender and The CHOICES We Make

Hello, my people. I am here today with guest Matthew J. Metzger.

Matthew's book is about a transgender fifteen-yr-old. But, that's only the beginning of what seems to be an in-depth explanation in story form of how to "pick apart the aggressive, hostile questions from the simply-curious, sometimes foot-in-mouth moments," for which many of us need education. I know I would like to know who to tactfully talk to a transgender person without coming off like an ass. I don't intend to be like that to anyone, but as Matthew points out, in email or PM there is no "body language or voice tones or facial expressions to help you out." And that's can be applied to any conversation, really. I prefer face to face. A good old fashioned talk. (Or phone or Skype if not close by)

Talking to people is the best way to know anything. I think a lot of people fear that which they don't know or understand and therefore come up with some crazy shit about bathrooms.

I intend to have Matthew back for an author interview, maybe next Friday, but for now let's just listen to what Matthew has to say about his characters.

Take it away Matthew......

On Choices

Spy Stuff is about the balance between being open-minded, and asking questions.

Anton, a transgender fifteen-year-old, has heard all the abuse before, but he's so unused to honest questions that he often confuses the two. His new boyfriend, Jude, has never met a transgender person before and really has no idea what to do or what to expect from this development. And being a fifteen-year-old boy with all the social graces of a badly-trained dog, Jude's not great at not just blurting out the first thing that comes to mind.

When I was in the final editing phase for this book, a new girl started in my office. She was immediately fascinated by my gender identity, having -- like Jude -- never met a transgender person before. And the questions began.

This is where the internet sucks -- it's hard to judge how someone means something by type. There's no body language or voice tones or facial expressions to help you out. "Do you have a dick?" can be an insanely rude and aggressive question, or a polite whisper from a well-meaning but curious person.

This new girl is the latter. Because she's very sunny, very bubbly, and constantly exuding this happy positivity, she comes across as harmlessly curious and you can have a laugh with her about things. In six weeks, I've taught her about the FtM transition process, the effect of testosterone on females, and even the wide range of sexualities out there. Just the other night, she texted me 'what's a non-binary queer pansexual?'

And it clicked for me that while Anton is the character whose experience I am focusing on, it's actually his cisgender boyfriend, Jude, to whom I most relate. Like Jude, I don't have many boundaries. Like Jude, I want to discuss things that others find off-limits or rude fairly frequently. And like Jude, I'm not fond of the idea that you shouldn't or can't ask.

Jude is the personification of the idea that being open-minded isn't just something you are, it's something you choose to be and work at. He's got no frame of reference for transgender issues, much less dating a transgender person, and because of Anton's need for secrecy, doesn't know how to get that information but from Anton himself. And as the book rolls on, Anton re-learns how to pick apart the aggressive, hostile questions from the simply-curious, sometimes foot-in-mouth moments that Jude is a little prone to.

But most importantly, Jude chooses to give Anton that time to explain, and chooses to take the time to understand.

And that's key, for both allies and transgender people themselves to understand. It's big news. It does affect our partners, especially a partner who -- like Jude -- believed they were only attracted to the thing we turn out we're not. The Jude on the first page of Spy Stuff is firmly heterosexual. The Jude on the last page isn't so sure anymore. He has to behave differently to his new boyfriend than other people will to theirs, and sexual experimentation is a whole new ball game with this thrown into the mix.

And Jude chooses to ride those waves. He chooses to try and understand this guy who isn't quite what Jude thought he was. And in doing so, he finally learns not only who Anton is and why that person is still someone Jude is totally into, but he also learns some valuable things about himself.

But he had to make the choice to do it. And Anton had to make the choice to let him.

Title: Spy Stuff

Author: Matthew J. Metzger

Anton never thought anyone would ever want to date him. Everyone knows nobody wants a transgender boyfriend, right? So he's as shocked as anyone when seemingly-straight Jude Kalinowski asks him out, and doesn't appear to be joking.

The only problem is ... well, Jude doesn't actually know.

Anton can see how this will play out: Jude is a nice guy, and nice guys finish last. And Anton is transgender, and transgender people don't get happy endings. If he tells Jude, it might destroy everything.

And if Jude tells anyone else ... it will.

Buy Links: ebook and print

Word Count: 67,000 words

Publisher: JMS Books (Queerteen Press)

Publication Date: 1 May 2016

Anton slowly relaxed as Jude started to brighten up and just ... talk. Jude chattering, Anton was starting to realise, was a sign that everything was alright. And Anton desperately wanted it to be, so he simply clung on to Jude's hand -- even though it was raining outside, and really too cold to not be wearing gloves -- and let the noise wash over him all the way home.

Which meant, when he let them into the house and the smell of Aunt Kerry's drunk spag bol invaded their clothes, Anton was ... actually in kind of a good mood. Maybe he could do this. Maybe Jude would listen, even if in the end he still decided dating a trans guy wasn't for him? There was a chance, right?

So when Lily appeared in the doorway, took one look at Jude, and screamed, Anton laughed.

"What the hell!" Jude yelped as she tore back into the kitchen.

"She's --"

"Mummy, Anton's friend's on fire in the hall!"

"-- kinda weird."

"No shi -- er, hell?"

"Just ignore her," Anton advised, hanging up their coats. A nervous swoop made itself known when Jude grinned and kissed his ear, but he laughed it off and pushed him in the direction of the kitchen. "Go get us drinks or something."

"It's your house," Jude said, but wandered off obediently. Anton took a moment to simply breathe before following him.

Lily had firmly decided -- despite having seen Jude before and not having really clocked his hair -- that Jude was on fire, and Anton had to wrestle a cup of water away from her before it ended up on Jude's head.

"Nooo, give it back!" she wailed, stretching up to grab his belt as he put the cup in the sink and rummaged in the fridge for Cokes.

"Yeah, Anton, give it back. I might start melting the counter," Jude said, sliding onto one of the stools at the island counters. Aunt Kerry, busy with dinner, simply chuckled at the both of them.

"You're being mean!" Lily yelled, stamping her foot, then turned on Jude, skidding across the tiles to grab at his trousers. "You need a fireman!"

"It's always that colour," Jude said in a serious voice, but he was wearing an ear-splitting grin, and Anton's heart clenched hard at the sheer beauty of him, despite the battered face.

"No, it's on fire!"

"No it's not," Jude said. "It's ginger."

"That's not ginger, ginger biscuits are ginger!"

"They're brown."

"If they're brown," Lily said seriously, "then why are they called ginger biscuits, huh?"

"Because they have ginger in them."

"Which makes them ginger and that's not ginger and you're on fire!"

"Lily, leave Jude alone," Aunt Kerry interjected.


Jude dropped his head onto the counter with a muffled cackle into both hands, and Anton couldn't help but laugh at sight of him. "Oh God," he said. "Come on, let's go into the living room, and --"

"Noooo, you can't, he'll put the living room on fire!"

"Lily, seriously, stop it with the fire, he's not on fire."

"Jew!" she screeched, and Jude did a full body twitch like he was trying not to curl in on himself. "Jew!"

"Jude!" Anton corrected.

"Jude," she echoed scornfully, throwing Anton a fabulously dirty look for a kid who wasn't even six yet. "Jude!"

"What?" Jude managed, coughing and rubbing at his eyes, still grinning.

"Tell Tasha to stop it!"

Anton froze. Like a bucket of ice water being dumped on his head, every muscle seized up, and the Coke in the cans started rattling in his shaking hands. "Lily! Stop it!" Aunt Kerry barked, but Jude -- oh God, Jude, totally oblivious Jude --

"Okay," he said. "Who's Tasha?"

Lily blinked, then flung her arm out, and pointed right at Anton. "Anton's Tasha," she said, like it was so obvious.

"Lily, that's eno --"

"Anton was Natasha only then she became Anton and Mummy says I have to say he but I forget sometimes," Lily continued in a loud, inescapable voice. It bounced off the walls and tiles, and one of the cans slipped through Anton's hands and burst open on the floor. Coke was flung everywhere in long, fizzy bursts, soaking his socks and trousers, and through Lily's indignant shriek and Aunt Kerry's yell, all he could see was -- was --


The wide-eyed, confused stare that Jude was giving him. And the single word, that word, the word Anton hated.


Anton opened his mouth, found nothing coming up to save him, and did the only thing possible.

He bolted.

Author Biography:
Matthew is an asexual, transgender author dragged up in the wet and windy British Isles. He currently lives and works in West Yorkshire, and has a special fondness for writing the rough-edged British working class society in which he grew up -- warts and all.

Author Contact:
Matthew roams mainly on Twitter and Facebook, has a free fiction page, runs a blog chronicling his own transition from female to male, and has a website. His young adult backlist can be found on his JMS Books author page. And as a last resort, he can also be contacted at


If you've got questions: ASK. I (WADE) find myself asking with less and less hesitance. Maybe because I'm more confident than I've been in years past. Maybe because I'm too old to play games anymore. We ALL make choices. I want to make good choices, and ones to help bring people together, not tear them apart.

If only I could translate that into some of my "real life" crap.

As an aside....  I want to address some things I read today on Facebook.... As an aside.... What is it about Target and it's stand for equality and the controversy over bathrooms? Really? Bathrooms? Argh. Well, I think it's all stupid because people are people and if you have to use the bathroom, no one I know is peeking through the door cracks to see who is in there. And that is in the woman's bathroom. As far as I know, men look around the bathroom even less. I say, just let people pee. If you don't want to share a bathroom with transgender people, then pee at home.


Come back another time for an author interview with Matthew J. Metzger.



  1. Such a hot-button topic. My son is trans & gets tired of all the questions - says he doesn't want to keep teaching trans 101. Now fortunately, he's been on T long enough he passes so the bathroom issue shouldn't even be a thing! People should be less concerned with other people's business & pay attention to what's going on in their own home/family IMHO.

    1. That's a good point. If you are bombarded with questions, especially at a younger age, it could be exhausting. Kids in school are relentless and often mean.

      The bathroom issue.... I think it should be a non issue.