Jennifer Finney Boylan Author Talk

by Christina Butcher for OLY ARTS

Jennifer Finney Boylan, the author of She’s Not There: A Life in Two Genders, will speak at the Minnaert Center for the Arts on May 18. Boylan is the author of 15 books and is an advocate of the LGBTQ+ community. During her author talk, she’ll speak about transgender themes, followed by a question-and-answer session with the audience.

She’s Not There: A Life in Two Genders has had a large impact on Boylan and her audiences since it was published in 2013. The book is Boylan’s memoir, and it tells her story of transition from man to woman. OLY ARTS asked Boylan how she decided to share such a personal story with readers. “It has been difficult to have many people know such personal information about me,” she admitted. “But I still believe that people knowing the stories of trans people helps accelerate acceptance.”

In addition to being an author and regular contributor to The New York Times, Boylan is also the national co-chair of GLADD, a media advocacy group that aids LGBTQ+ individuals. Her upcoming author talk caught the attention of local advocacy group Pizza Klatch, which works to create safe and positive school experiences for LGBTQ+ youth in Olympia. Cameron Combs, Pizza Klatch board vice president and youth group facilitator, spoke to OLY ARTS about the potential impact of Boylan’s visit on young adults in the area. “Transgender and gender non-conforming youth face many challenges, from conflicts at home to discrimination and misunderstanding at school, to the realization that the world at large is not always a safe place for them … Jennifer Finney Boylan is one of a growing number of visible trans adults who are showing our youth that it is possible to be happy and successful adults who can pursue their passions and make a difference in the world.”

Boylan’s upcoming author talk is a part of the South Puget Sound Community College Artist & Lecture Series, a program known for hosting creatives whose work spans the arts spectrum. Boylan frequently speaks out on behalf of LGBTQ+ organizations when making appearances. “Visibility brings about acceptance,” she stressed. “It’s one thing for people to have an abstracted disinterest in trans lives and issues; it’s another thing when it’s someone whose eyes you can look into, someone whose humanity is self-evident.” When in front of audiences, Boylan’s goal is simple, she told OLY ARTS: “I hope I can open people’s hearts.”

What: Jennifer Finney Boylan

When:  7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 18

Where: Kenneth J Minnaert Center for the Arts,
South Puget Sound Community College,
2011 Mottman Rd. SW, Olympia

How much: $5-$7

Learn more: 360-753-8586 | The Washington Center

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