While I enjoyed reading Like Son, I had wished that the author, Felicia Luna Lemus, had talked more about Frank’s experience being transgender. For example, with Frank and Nathalie’s relationship, the fact that he is transgender is never brought up except for when they talk about having kids. While I know that book isn’t necessarily about him being trans, I thought it could have been talked about more because that might shape his experience being and living as male. However, maybe it was good that the subject was somewhat bypassed (the beginning of the book talked most about being trans when he had a short-lived relationship with his father). I’m not transgender so I don’t really know how much it affects your experience and outlook on life.
I was curious about the author so I googled her. I found an interview from when Like Son was published in 2007. A couple of the questions were-
In your book you not only write as the opposite sex but as the trans-sex. What was the impetus behind that decision?
For me, trans-characters are part of the world, and trans-people are part of the world. I really, truly just wanted to write a story where I have a protagonist that can be transgendered, like Frank is, where it wouldn’t be about his transgenderism, where it would be about his life. It’s just a story about a person who is transgendered, and the fact that he was born a baby girl and now goes through the world as a man, of course that’s going to influence the way he sees and perceives things and the way he moves through the world and his interactions, but I wanted it to be first and foremost about the person. I think there’s value in coming-out stories and coming-of-age stories, but that just wasn’t what I was interested in doing.
It seems like every time someone writes an LGBTQ character, it’s about their sexuality or their coming-out or their sex.
Yeah, very often. I’m not so much interested in trying to normalize it or make it invisible. Someone paid me a huge compliment and said that, in their opinion, Like Son is a post-trans novel. In a way, it’s like a post-queer novel where, of course, it’s a central part of the book, but it’s moved further out.
She later went on to talk about her partner, T. Cooper. I was curious about him too so I googled his name. It turns out that he is transgender and wrote a book “about the experience of being born a woman and living as a man, Real Man Adventures (McSweeney’s) is not the standard “trans narrative we know from TV and films,” says Cooper. For one thing: it’s not a memoir.”
So she does have more insight into the transgender experience then maybe initially thought.