Lil’ O’Brien’s story is an authentic look at her life, without sparing the uncertainties, the drama and the knowledge that she was different to most other girls of her age. Growing up in New Zealand, Lil was a happy tomboy who was quite naïve and had little understanding of sexuality. On reflection, she had always admired the girl heroes in the books she read and felt drawn towards the female characters in the movies. She didn’t understand what was so interesting about boys, but nor did some of her school mates.
As she matures, Lil realises that she is gay and at age nineteen, her parents overhear a conversation she is having with a girlfriend. They confront her and insist she leave the house immediately. Lil’s story moves on from there. She describes how good friends help her to find her feet and how learning to become an adult in a gay world has complexities that many people could not imagine. With very little family support Lil makes her way through study and the School Ball where all of the girls stayed at a Motel. She eventually moves into the working world.
In the acknowledgements, Lil gives thanks to Rainbow Youth, an organization that supports young people who have gender issues. They inspired and helped her so much that eventually she was asked to share her story with High School students. This eventually led to her writing this book.
It is such a frank and honest retelling that any young person who may be questioning their gender would benefit from reading it. Any person who doesn’t have questions about their gender would also benefit by reading this. To understand the struggle that Lil went through, and how a happy family can be shattered by her coming out makes us realise how difficult this process is. Happily, she is settled and willing to help others in their journey.
|Publisher||Allen & Unwin (NZ)|
|Distributor||Allen & Unwin|