A note about language in Michel-Michelle
To address concerns expressed by a reader regarding certain terminology in the publication Michel-Michelle, we would like to clarify the reasons for the language choices made by the author and to confirm our stance as the publisher.
A clarification from the author, Margo Gorman:
“There is very little use of gender terminology in Michel-Michelle. The novel takes the perspective of Axel, the son of transgender Michel-Michelle and his reflections are about family relationships with his transgender birth-father/third-mother, a lesbian mother and her partner. There is one conversation when Axel’s partner Sophie uses the word “transvestite” and he later uses the word “trans-sexuality”. Their conversation reflects confusion about gender definition and terminology. Empathy with the characters in the novel can create a space to stimulate curiosity about gender fluidity and explore uncertainty.
“As an older-cis-bisexual with a long commitment to gender equality, I am committed to exploring the history of ambiguity and uncertainty around gender identity and expression. The future is non-binary but imagination is needed to overcome ignorance, aggression, hostility and violence in the present.”
Further comments from the publisher:
In fiction, characters speak and represent different positions in societal, religious, cultural and linguistic landscapes. They do not represent the voice of the author necessarily. To exclude language or pretend it does not exist – even that which we disagree with – would do a disservice to the truth and to the diversity of people. A variety of language, offensive or otherwise, is used in novels all the time, and most people would agree that characters showing all aspects of humanity are vital to the health of a biblio-diverse landscape in literature and that otherwise, literature would become monotone and submissive.
We at Victorina Press believe in LGBTQIA rights, and recognise that although some of the language used in Michel-Michelle is now generally viewed as unacceptable, it is still used today and forms a part of the history of the transgender community whether we agree with it or not.