Gender and Sexuality: Two Separate Things

The two novels, Boy Meet Boy and Luna are more obviously similar. They both tell the story of LGBTQ youth with multiple LGBTQ identifying narratives. The two stories also provide lifelike experiences of queer people, and shows what the community has to deal with on a daily basis. Both novels are well-rounded, especially with how they show the highs and lows of these experiences. The unexpected difference between these two novels is that you cannot always judge a person based off of their looks. For example, in Boy Meets Boy we know right away that Paul is gay because of his interest in boys. This differs in Luna; one might assume Liam is gay (like his father) but in reality Liam identifies as transgender woman. It is important to explore this difference because you cannot always tell who someone truly is solely based off of their appearance. Society needs to learn that you cannot judge people based off of what they look like. It is not as black and white as being straight and gay. Gender and sexuality are a spectrum and two separate things. Boy Meets Boy and Luna both show the reader this.

These two novels matter because they show us lifelike queer narratives. They show the reader that gender and sexuality are two completely different things. Just because a person acts a certain way, does not mean you can immediatly label them. I experience this personally. Due to society’s close-mindedness, people often assume I am gay. That however is not the case, I identify as queer. Like my personal experience, I think the two novels do a great job in showing how people need to be educated in order to not assume things about others. Also, like I have said before, the novels show that gender and sexuality are separate, a fact that most people do not know. As we see in Luna, just because you like boys does not mean you are gay. Liam likes boys but identifies as transgender. This is something that many people still have to learn.


“Your problem, Henry, is that you are hung up on words, on labels, that you believe they mean what they seem to mean. AIDS. Homosexual. Gay. Lesbian. You think these are names that tell you who someone sleeps with, but they don’t tell you that. No. Like all labels they tell you one thing and one thing only: where does an individual so identified fit in the food chain, in the pecking order? Not ideology, or sexual taste, but something much simpler: clout. Not who I fuck or who fucks me, but who will pick up the phone when I call, who owes me favors. This is what a label refers to.” (Roy, Act One Scene Nine Millennium)

 This quote is from Roy’s visit to his doctor Henry in Act One, Scene Nine of Millennium. From this scene, the reader can see how Roy views the world and the people in it.  Even though the reader knows he is a homosexual, Roy himself does not identify with the label because of the way he lives his public life and his position as a powerful lawyer. His thinking is that he has no connection to homosexual men because of his social status. At this time in the play, the reader knows how wicked Roy can truly be. He does not value things like honor, trust, and genuine relationships, since in his mind, they are not necessary. Roy believes that all relationships (friendship, intimacy, etc.) are all just made up and based off of things like favors. The reader can see this directly in the quote above, “… but who will pick up the phone when I call, who owes me the favors.” From this scene the reader can also see how much Roy contrasts with the character of Belize. No matter how much Belize detests Roy, he still takes care of and looks after him because he knows it is the moral and ethical thing to do.


“She had never heard of mixed feelings. There were friends and there were enemies.” – Winterson Pg. 1

This quote by Jeanette is used to describe her mother. Jeanette’s mother sees the world in black and white with nothing in between. There are people she sees as good (friends) and people she see as bad (enemies). For her there is nothing in between. People are either holy or evil. In the eyes of Jeanette’s mother, one cannot be good if they are non-religious. These views have been deeply instilled into Jeanette.

Further on in the novel the reader realizes that Jeanette does not fall into her mother’s black and white views. Yes, Jeanette loves God and goes to church religiously but she falls into middle ground since she is a lesbian. Unfortunately, there is no middle ground for Jeanette’s mother. Since Jeanette is a lesbian she must be deemed evil.

This quote from the novel foreshadows the plot of the novel. It shows the problems that Jeanette will have with her mother and her mother’s views. Since Jeanette is in the middle ground she will be kicked out of her house for being a lesbian. In her mother’s eyes, she will not exist.

This has a tremendous impact on Jeanette. It allows her to take a step back and question everything that has been instilled into her. She questions whether or not she can still be a good person since she loves women. Winterson uses this quote to suggest that in life there is no such thing as “black” and “white”. There is a spectrum, room for fluidness.

An Atlas of the Difficult World XIII (Dedications)

” I know you are reading this poem which is not in your language

guessing at some words while others keep you reading

and I want to know which words they are.

I know you are reading this poem listening for something, torn

between bitterness and hope

turning back once again to the task you cannot refuse.

I know you are reading this poem because there is nothing

else left to read…”


This passage allows the writer to get into the reader’s head. It gets the reader to start thinking. Why am I reading this poem? What does this mean to me? I think Rich provides us with this poem so that the reader can really question themselves and their identity. It allows the reader to get out of their comfort zone  and open their eyes to what is going on in their mind. By using phrases like “I know you are…” Rich gets very personal with the reader. Rich does this to create a relationship with the reader to get them to think about themselves. In doing so, the reader takes a moment to stop and reflect. He/she is no longer numb to their daily routines, he/she is now awake and alert.

This passage relates to the whole of the novel because of its intriguing theme of the self. The poems challenge the reader by making the reader pause and reflect on themselves and what is going on around them. Like all of the poems in the novel, Rich gets into the reader’s mind. She forms a relationship with the reader that allows them to view the stories from a personal level. It is the writing of Rich that makes the reader feel as if they are almost there, witnessing the whole thing.