Bent on amending one’s physical gender, while wrestling with the mind, soul, friends and familiy is not an easy story or Cinderella kind of fairy tale. Teri Louise Kelly throws in a series of short stories from different view points and moments in time. It really takes more than one third to get used to the raw, harsh language with f-, b-, d-, and c-c-words on every page. Reason enough to put aside, barely enough to sustain and try to figure out what this male to female really likes to portray. Memoir or coming of age isn’t a right categorization, a stream-of-consciousness kind of brain dump full of sex, drugs, alcohol music, literature, and distorted relationships characterize Bent. While certainly not every human being thinking that he or she’s born in the wrong body may deal with it this way, Kelly and her alter ego Alice do play a game, offending and enjoying, distracting and acknowledging to end up without friends. “I am an outside, I am Alice” closes off.
“I’m a girl now, sort of, at least I’m in development, a prototype, some of this, some of that, nothing is definable.” Though Kelly tries to convince readers that gender doesn’t matter and certainly doesn’t define a person, it’s not that simple. Quotes from medical journals function as markers where Kelly is in the gender transformation process. Treatment with hormons, plastic surgery, experiments, unlearning and learning. “We are not born this way; we make ourselves over to underscores our failure at rebellion.”
“The term ‘sex change’ has such an awful connotation. To be precise, you can’t actually change your gender; you can only shift it further toward your desired preference.” Painful insights, not an average DIY guide or 7 steps to instant success. Though Bent’s a struggle for both the writer and the reader, it was worth finishing it.
About the author
Transgendered author of the memoirs like ‘Sex, Knives & Bouillabaisse‘, ‘Last Bed On Earth‘, the poetry anthology ‘Girls Like Me‘ ‘Shedding Sin‘ & ‘Bent. Kelly was born in 1969 in Brighton, UK. She now lives in Adelaide (Australia). Her work has appeared in inummerable worldwide journals and she regularly reads her poetry live. Also having released a spoken word CD (2010)she has appeared on National Radio (Australia) & at various festivals, currently working on her second poetry anthology, a memoir about her gender change & a speculative fiction she has just released ‘Shedding Sin’ verse novel in conjunction with partner Jenny Toune available through Lady Lazarus Press.She’s on e.g. Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.