Vice News, October 1, 2019 — “When I went into school, you knew I was gay, you didn’t have to ask,” says J.K. Rowling.
“But then I moved to London, and I was living in the same apartment block with the same people and there was a lot of pressure to conform.
I just didn’t feel comfortable.”
Rowling is a prominent and beloved figure in British literature and, to an extent, in the wider world of fandom.
She is one of the best-known authors in the world, and has written some of the most influential novels of our time.
She’s been nominated for a Golden Globe Award for best novel and a Bafta for best British author for her debut novel, The Casual Vacancy, which is being released in paperback next month.
Her writing has won her an Academy Award, a Hugo Award, and a Guggenheim Fellowship, among other accolades.
And Rowling has been hailed for her contributions to the lives of people who are LGBT.
But there are still many LGBT writers in the British literary scene who, like Rowling, feel excluded from the literary mainstream, or even marginalized.
That’s why the British novelist Kate Atkinson, author of the novel The Lost and the Damned, was recently invited to speak at the Royal Literary Society’s Literary Awards.
Atkinson’s memoir, The Lost Boy, details her experience growing up in a working-class community in London and her friendship with a transgender boy in his teens who, she says, was “a very lonely boy.”
Atkinson, who lives in London, has long been a supporter of LGBT rights, and is a member of a group called the British Writers’ Union.
Her book is a fascinating portrait of her experience as a transgender man in a society that has not accepted his identity.
Atkinson told VICE News that the book is not a feminist novel, but rather a story of what it was like to be a trans man in the 1950s, and it reflects the “realistic” experiences of being transgender in the 1960s and 1970s.
Atkinson says the book “really explores the idea that you can’t just have a normal life.
I think it’s really important that we’re still talking about what that is.”
But as we spoke, Atkinson was surrounded by activists, and she described the day when she learned of the invitation to speak to the literary awards as “terrible.”
The day Atkinson’s book was published in 2013, her publisher told her that the publishers would not be able to publish it in Britain.
“I was like, ‘Oh, my God, what is going on?'”
“It was a terrible thing, and so I had to go back to the publisher, and they said, ‘It’s not in our books, we’ve got a clause in the contract.
We won’t be able publish it.’
It’s something that’s just been extremely difficult to talk about.”
Atkinson was not the only trans person to feel like the pressure of being a “straight” writer was crushing.
In the early 2000s, the British author John Braidwood wrote an essay called The Boy Who Couldnt Get Started: A Story of Gayness in Victorian London.
The essay was about how Braidwell was forced to hide his sexuality from his family and society at a young age because he was a “gay man.”
It was the first time Braidwys book had ever been published.
He was told he would be ostracized and that he was “unfit” to write about his sexuality in the public sphere.
Braidwalys son has since been diagnosed with gender dysphoria and is currently undergoing gender reassignment surgery.
“As a gay man who’s trans, it’s very difficult to write anything about what it’s like being gay in this society,” said Braidws son, Matt.
“You don’t want to make it sound like you’re doing something that you’re ashamed of.
But you’re not.
That has always been the way.”
Braidwiches son, who was raised by a single mother in the early 1990s, said he had to be careful about how he wrote about his gender identity.
“When you’re a trans person you have to be very careful about not making it seem like you are just a man,” said Matt.
Matt says that even after years of writing about his own experience with gender, “I still get a lot in the back of my head, like, well, how could I have known what it felt like?”
Braidwinys son, whose own identity was never publicly revealed, says he was eventually able to “recover” from his trauma, and he’s been working to raise awareness about the transgender community in Britain for the past five years.
In 2016, Matt’s father, John Bair, became the first transgender man to receive the Order of the British Empire. B