About the event
Join Camilla Gisslow, Ris iRAWniQ Anderson, Jodie Patterson, & Marcus Tallberg for a discussion of their books for and about trans & NB kids
Four authors from Los Angeles, Brooklyn, and Malmö and Stockholm, Sweden respectively will discuss new books they’ve each published for and about trans and non-binary children, and the personal experiences that inspired their creations.Blurb from Eventbrite
The books and authors
The audience was offered 25 percent off the books as part of the webinar.
Gisslow has written three books:
Perfectly Linus – ‘How does it feel to be a boy when you have a vagina?’
Perfectly Bella – ‘How does it feel to be a girl when you have a penis?’
And predictably, Perfectly Charlie – ‘How does it feel to be both a girl and a boy?’
Gisslow is the mother of a ‘transgender’ child (now 27) and has her own training consultancy in Sweden – Transforming.
Ris iRAWniQ Anderson
Charlie’s Best Work Yet – ‘Charlie is a fluid 5th grader whom absolutely loves art!’
‘RAW is a non-binary masculine-identified author, alternative musician, voice over artist and actor and “momma to my 12 year old shy, yet brilliant boy.” They are based in Los Angeles,’ runs the blurb.
RAW has had breast amputation (‘Beautiful life experiences led RAW to top surgery’). She also delivers training for foster care services, according to her website. In her youtube video she tells us she is also involved in counselling high school students.
RAW also has some musical endeavours – one video in particular, Nerd Lapdance, is a bit like watching Skunk Anansie, only with about one billionth of their talent, but at least she can claim to have trail-blazed mask wearing.
Marcus Tallberg has written My Queer Teen Life – ‘Sometimes I think it would be easier to just not exist, or at least to just be straight. Why do I have to be gay? F**king hell’
Tallberg writes books aimed at the teen market which deal with issues like suicide, drug addiction, rape – he is also available to lecture on his own trauma story, and provides creative writing coaching (‘How do you write about things that you don’t even dare to talk about?’).
He also claims to be able to improve your social media standing – he himself went from ‘1654 followers to over 4000’ in under four months! Amazing! He owns the company which publishes his work, which is entirely understandable after you read an excerpt.
Jodie Patterson is the most high profile of the panel. She has written Born Ready: The True Story of a Boy Named Penelope – ‘Penelope knows that he’s a boy. (And a ninja.) The problem is getting everyone else to realize it’.
Patterson is the Chair of the Human Rights Campaign Foundation Board, and has written a book about her ‘transgender son’. Patterson’s website revolves around herself photographed looking amazing. Praise for her memoir The Bold World includes a endorsement from Alice Walker (what a disappointment she is) in full magical realism mode.
Patterson alleges that her daughter told her she wanted to be a boy aged three – ‘I don’t want boobs, I want a peanut’ the child, called Penelope, allegedly said.
So, in conclusion, grifters.
The event attracted a very small audience, 16 at the beginning, and peaked at perhaps 22. However, when you subtract the two hosts and the four speakers, it was more like 10 people. Then when we took into consideration that frens and fam had logged on to lend support, it was more like three people. And one of those was me. The webinar was recorded and would be uploaded to youtube for posterity (link at the bottom of post).
None of them were phased by the minuscule audience, showing there is an advantage to the webinar versus an actual physical space.
The host of the webinar was the owner of the queer bookshop based in New York. He wanted to start first by talking to the mums and thus the two women had to tell the story that they have now told countless times on TV and during lectures.
Camilla Gisslow recalled that her daughter told her she was really a boy aged about 4 or 5, whilst she was being read a bedtime story. This was 1997. At first Gisslow wondered if she was just a tomboy, but the kid apparently said ‘I’m a real boy!’ and this struck Gisslow’s heart. She couldn’t understand it but she knew it was true. At the time no information about transsexualism in children was known.
On Googling I found this link to a show broadcast in 2006 in which Gisslow talks about breast removal and other body modifications for her daughter, who would have been around 12 years old at the time. She also appears alongside a man called Claes Schmidt who discusses his transvestitism and describes himself as such. She describes how she introduced Claes to her young daughter because she perceived that they had a bond.
Now Gisslow’s whole business revolves around training on transgender issues in Sweden and ranges from pre-school settings to the military.
When asked about her books, she said that she had written them ages ago, which turned out to be 2017 when pushed. They were originally published in the Swedish language. Gisslow repeated that she has lots of contact from pre-school teachers.
Patterson wanted to style herself as a revolutionary. She lives in NYC and appears to be quite wealthy but wanted us to know that she understood economic disparity, which must be why she has a side line in make-up and campaigns on the issue of gender identity ideology, and not say, world hunger and being happy with how you look.
Patterson has five children, who she has all raised to be ‘feminist’, so when her daughter was resistant to being touched she wondered what was wrong. Patterson had wracked her brain over why that might be and had even wondered if it were a dairy allergy.
One day they were sat on the floor, presumably of the child’s bedroom, and Patterson asked her daughter what was wrong. ‘Everyone thinks I’m a girl,’ came the answer. Patterson said she thought this meant she was a feminist or perhaps a gay woman (the child was 3) and she told Penelope to ‘act like your brothers’.
The first thing that Patterson thought when she realised the child was transgender was that the family were going to die, as the images which came to her was The Silence of the Lambs movie, where the character of Buffalo Bill, the murderer, dances around naked. It’s a leap which makes no sense, especially since it is only recently and retrospectively that anyone has ever identified this character as supposedly being ‘transgender’. Also, there are no such depictions of trans-identified females as serial killers. Therefore I call bullshit.
Of course, Patterson then educated herself, she travelled, made new friends and now her ignorance is sorted out she’s on the Board of the Human Rights Campaign, which campaigns to remove women’s rights to single sex sports and spaces in the US.
The most recent development with her child Penelope, is that, at age 13, Penelope has changed her name to Penel. It really says something that the kid held onto her name for so long.
Then there was the freudian slip in which Patterson admitted that the book Born Ready, about Penelope, was really about herself. ‘Beautiful,’ the host chimed in more or less at her slip up.
People called her RAW during the webinar, since clearly the full monika is unpronounceable. Anderson told us that she was a mom to a 12 year old cisgender boy – or rather she was assuming he was cisgender. Anderson is non-binary and gender fluid and has always known this. She really didn’t have too much to say. Next!
So the gist of it is that he and his female best friend co-wrote a book for a writing competition. The book was about themselves and in particular his coming out story. Tallberg’s ex-boyfriend is gender fluid and he has a number of close friends who are trans-identified. Therefore he wanted to write something about being trans. So he got drunk with his trans friends and the conversation literally ended up the book! Very creative.
However, he couldn’t find a publisher for said book. He says this was because of the subject matter, but I suspect verbatim ramblings of drunk gender fluids probably isn’t very interesting. He realised he didn’t want the embarrassment of self-publishing, because anyone can do that, so he set up his own company and found Gisslow and other writers to publish, as well as his own work.
Tallberg has some sort of informal social worker role for an autistic child who he has been involved with for eight years. Gisslow has also apparently met the child. Very recently this teen has ‘come out’ as ‘non-binary’. What a surprise.
Discussion amongst the panellists
Interestingly, the host wrapped up the stories section, reflecting that they were all activists.
Gisslow and Tallberg have collaborated together to make a documentary about children, it’s called Save Our Lives and it could be watched for free for a couple of days after the event, which I might do. Gisslow described it as what happens ‘when we love our children’.
Later in the conversation, Patterson went further and likened resistance to gender identity ideology as comparable to white supremacy and literally putting blood on your hands. Cheerful lot.
Patterson claims that parents reach out to her to learn how to be better parents, not just parents of ‘trans kids’ but just generally.
The host was keen to talk about the issue of sex – ‘anything to do with sex and children is, you know, people freak out’. The panel, however, were not keen and I believe Gisslow responded to simply close that down that conversation.
Anderson expressed surprise that many ‘heterosexual cisgender people’ had bought her book and liked it. She probably doesn’t realise they become ‘queer’ just in the act of buying the book.
Tallberg wisely avoids reading reviews, however he did have one amazing endorsement from an unspecified person who was considering suicide. The suicidal, before they decided to shuffle off their mortal coil, thought they’d give Tallberg’s book a go, you know, just in case it was any good. And what do you know, it was more than good, it was the book that saved their life. Tallberg choked up. I have no idea if he is just a bad actor or an idiot.
Gisslow told us that she was a bisexual and had only come out relatively recently.
Patterson was back talking about herself again. Yes, we need books on trans kids, but we also need books on ourselves and the work that we need to do the ‘same bold work’ on ourselves to transition figuratively. Her next project is possibly getting her memoir made into a TV series.
Tallberg wants to get his company publishing in the US and get US writers on board to publish more turgid books.
Anderson may make an animated short based on her book with the illustrator.
As per usual, the conversation was one thousand percent free of any humour or deep reflection. The only interesting thing that anyone said was that Grace Jones is now 70 years old (she’s actually 72). Which seems unbelievable.
They have uploaded the webinar to YouTube, click here.
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