To Whom It May Concern:
I wrote JUDE SAVES THE WORLD as an apology to my twelve-year-old self, for the kid who didn’t know that there are more genders than girl and boy, for the kid who didn’t realize that it was okay to love more than one gender, and for the kid who had undiagnosed ADHD.
When I was twelve, I had no idea that anything beyond the gender binary existed. Nonbinary, trans gender, bisexual, and queer were not words that were whispered around between kids like gay and lesbian were. All I knew was one or the other. Never a rainbow, never a mixture of all of the above, never none of the above. I struggled for years, fluctuating between wearing dresses and feeling like I was playing a part and joining auto class in high school to do the things the boys were doing. I was always on the outside, looking in, wondering where I fit.
Because I didn’t fit with the girls, and I didn’t fit with the boys, and I didn’t fit anywhere. When I met someone who was nonbinary for the first time, it felt like my world went from black and white to thousands and millions of different colours splashing everywhere. Suddenly, I made sense. I didn’t belong in the boxes that society had built for me, and I could exhale for the first time.
Not only does JUDE SAVES THE WORLD offer nonbinary kids representation—and maybe answers—but it does so in a way that doesn’t let the reader know whether Jude was assigned female at birth (AFAB) or assigned male at birth (AMAB), doesn’t allow Jude to be misgendered or dead named on the page. These aspects are important to me because Jude doesn’t fit into either boxes—girl or boy—but fits into the third option: nonbinary.
This book is my apology to the kid in me who struggled for so long. I gave Jude my identities: queer, bisexual, nonbinary, trans, and neurodiverse. I gave Jude no struggle over who they are because this is their gift: they know. They know who they are, but they don’t know how to tell the world who they are, and that’s where they stumble. Because had someone given me the representation that I so, so needed as a kid, had someone sat me down and taught me that there’s a whole rainbow of colours out there, I would’ve known. I wouldn’t have struggled with the unknown.
I want to gift nonbinary kids—kids of all genders—with the all the knowledge of gender and sexualities because I don’t want them to struggle like I did. I want them to look at Jude and think, “That’s me! I’m not alone!”
Thank you for your time and consideration.