“All Boys Aren’t Blue” and the Importance of Seeing Yourself in Stories

“Young Adult Memoir” is a new venture for me. I wasn’t quite sure what it meant, but I wanted to have this be the next black voice I listened to, especially during pride month as the author is LGBTQ+.

All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson is a beautiful memoir about growing up black and gay. What I love most about this book is why he wrote it: so other black, gay boys could see themselves in a story. George tells his stories of family, identity, love, loss, sex, and abuse (TW: sexual abuse).

He opened my eyes to a few things I had never thought of. The biggest being the lack of sex education for LGBTQ+ kids. All sex ed in school (as far as I’m aware) is heterosexual sex ed, and usually preaches abstinence. For queer kids they have to go figure it out on their own. Or worse, they end up in unsafe situations.

George had to navigate some situations, which he describes in detail, that were unknown and scary at first. He bares his soul with these sexual encounters so boys can learn something and not have to learn by experience.

I think that’s why this is such an important “Young Adult Memoir.” Kids need to see themselves in his stories to know they’re not alone, and that it’s okay to feel different. It’s okay to ask questions if you aren’t getting the answers you need.

It was important for me to read this story. I may be a straight white woman in my 30’s, but I learned so much from George. So if you’re not a young gay man I still encourage you to read this book. It may also be a lifeline for a young man in your life.

Something I watched recently also talks about the importance of stories: Disclosure on Netflix.

This documentary talks about the portrayal of transgender people in the media. All trans voices speak about what it was like seeing, and not seeing, themselves in movies and T.V. as they grew up, were transitioning, and now. It is beautiful and heartbreaking, and in my opinion it’s a must watch.

I’ll end this post with the trailer:

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