Inspired by her transgender son, activist Jodie Patterson explores identity, gender, race, and authenticity to tell the real-life story of a family’s history and transformation. “A courageous and poetic testimony on family and the self, and the learning and unlearning we must do for those we love.”—Janet Mock
In 2009, Jodie Patterson, mother of five and beauty entrepreneur, has her world turned upside down when her determined toddler, Penelope, reveals, “Mama, I’m not a girl. I am a boy.” The Pattersons are a tribe of unapologetic Black matriarchs, scholars, financiers, Southern activists, artists, musicians, and disruptors, but with Penelope’s revelation, Jodie realizes her existing definition of family isn’t wide enough for her child’s needs.
In The Bold World, we witness Patterson reshaping her own attitudes, beliefs, and biases, learning from her children, and a whole new community, how to meet the needs of her transgender son. In doing so, she opens the minds of those who raised and fortified her, all the while challenging cultural norms and gender expectations. Patterson finds that the fight for racial equality in which her ancestors were so prominent helped pave the way for the current gender revolution.
From Georgia to South Carolina, Ghana to Brooklyn, Patterson learns to remove the division between me and you, us and them, straight and queer—and she reminds us to celebrate her uncle Gil Scott Heron’s prophecy that the revolution will not be televised. It will happen deeply, unequivocally, inside each and every one of us. Transition, we learn, doesn’t just belong to the transgender person. Transition, for the sake of knowing more and becoming more, is the responsibility of and gift to all. The Bold World is the result, an intimate and exquisite story of authenticity, courage, and love. Praise for The Bold World “In The Bold World, Jodie Patterson makes a case for respecting everyone’s gender identity by way of showing how she came to accept her son, Penelope. In tying that struggle to the struggle for race rights in this country during her own childhood, she paints a vivid picture of the permanent work of social justice.”—Andrew Solomon, bestselling author of The Noonday Demon and Far from the Tree
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