Professor Helen Kapstein
Defying the Gender Binary in Luna Gender identity is the subjective understanding of one’s gender (Morrow 7). The way in which an individual forms a gender identity relies heavily on the socio-cultural environment in which one lives. Gender identity is different than biological sex and sexual orientation. Luna by Julie Anne Peters follows the coming of age story of Luna, a boy who struggles with gender roles and expectations imposed on him by his family from a young age. During the day, Luna lives her life as Liam, the typical boy everyone expects her to be. But every night, she goes through a tedious process of transforming herself in what she considers to be her “true self”: the woman she always …show more content…
They expected different behaviors” (Peters 50). She knows that her transition will prompt her father to reject her. Despite initially having doubts about the process, she ultimately decides to break free from societal constraints and come out as a transgender woman (Peters 224). Her rebellion suggests a rejection of a system that actively excludes individuals that do not fall into one of the two accepted categories: male or female. Luna’s subjective experience of her gender is a testament to the way in which a heteronormative, binary system dictates one’s gender identity. In “Feminist Perspectives on Sex and Gender”, Mikkola argues that: “Without heterosexism that compels people to engage in certain gendering acts, there would not be any genders at all” (16). When, as a teenager, Liam wants to join a group of girls at a party, his father objects. He claims that joining the girls would be inappropriate because of his son’s “raging hormones” (Peters 42). His claim is once again, rooted in an overly simplistic understanding of gender identity and sexual preferences. These behaviors contribute to Luna’s psychological struggles with her identity and compel her to a hide her gender expression for most part of the novel. However, these changes also make her aware of the limitations of a dualistic thinking and prompt …show more content…
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Gottschalk, Lorene. "Same-sex sexuality and childhood gender non-conformity: A spurious connection." Journal of Gender Studies 12.1 (2003): 35-50.
Mikkola, Mari. "Feminist perspectives on sex and gender." Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy (2008).
Morrow, Deana F., and Lori Messinger. Sexual orientation and gender expression in social work practice: Working with gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people. Columbia University Press, 2006.
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