Magazine article Out

Jon-Jon Goulian

Magazine article Out

Jon-Jon Goulian

Article excerpt

FOR THE AUTHOR OF THE SUMMER'S MOST ANTICIPATED MEMOIR, LABELS ARE FOR LOSERS.

"One thing I have learned over the course of 24 years of behaving and dressing androgynously is that people hate to be confronted with indeterminacy," writes JonJon Goulian in the introduction to his memoir, The Man in the Gray Flannel Skirt (Random House), a powerful coming-of-age memoir that starts with an undescended testicle and moves apace from there. Goulian, who owns at least 10 pairs of Steve Madden 5" wedges, a Tommy Girl tank top, and three guns, is a witty writer, and a brave one, and was voted "Most Likely to be Remembered" at high school for good reason.

Digest your book in 25 words: A lo-year-old boy suddenly quits soccer and impulsively starts wearing makeup and women's clothing. This book is an attempt to figure out why.

You call yourself a "sexually neutered androgyne." Explain. It's complicated. I don't actually call myself a "sexually neutered androgyne." In fact, no one does. This is the impression, rather, that I was hoping to convey. My book, in some sense, is a self-analytic case study ? why, at the age of 16, did I suddenly stop behaving like a normal boy? What I conclude is that wearing women's clothing was an attempt to relieve myself, in various ways, of the burden of conventional expectations (namely, that I should be as athletically and academically competitive as possible, and that, like all the other boys, I should be as sexually active as possible), expectations that, for my fragile and phobic and vulnerable adolescent self, were impossible to cope with. …

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