Wednesday, January 24, 2007
"TRANSPARENT" by Cris Beam
Dan and Meredith Beam let people know that their daughter, Cris Beam, would be reading at A DIFFERENT LIGHT bookstore in the Castro District. About to begin her reading, spontaneous feelings burst out (as someone who had blossomed as a young woman into her true nature as a lesbian): "It feels wonderful to read here. I was raised in San Francisco, and when I was a teenager it felt so good to come here and hang out in this bookstore, although I didn't buy anything and I was afraid they might kick me out!" Wonderful to know that Cris had a place where she did not feel like an outsider -- instead of living in some place where confused and isolated gay and lesbian teenagers resort to suicide. Cris read from her book "TRANSPARENT, Love, Family, and Living the T with Transgender Teenagers," a very warm account of her seven years working with gender-confused teenagers in L.A. Cris captures the reality of her conversations with troubled chiildren. There is some possibility that a film will be made of the book as she defines the different personalities and speech mannerisms of her clients, and describes how some got through their changes, escaping neurosis and juvenile deliquency, and others did not, ending in prison. If I understood her correctly, she became the foster mother of one of youth (while, to me, she still seems very young herself). Also present, contributing to the question and answer period, were some of the transgender people who work with transgenders locally, as well as some going through the process. All said they avoid representations of transgenders in the media: One of Cris' transgender friends (her foster child?) had an ironic comment on a new transgender character on the soap opera ALL MY CHILDREN, "Why would they name the character 'Zarf' -- because, of course, transgenders are from outer space."