Defying Gay Gravity is a novel about the personal challenges faced by a young gay teen who wants to come out of the closet – both literally and figuratively. It is the story of a youth coming to terms with who he is, and learning to embrace the person he was born to be, in spite of the behaviour and attitudes of the people in his life. The story is based on Greg Kentris’s own experiences and is a great gateway book.
Defying Gay Gravity is a perfect text to help start the conversation about the universal human conditions of identity, voice, and evolution, in personal growth. This short, very real, and humorous novel is a springboard to open an honest education, for our junior and intermediate students, about the challenges they may face as they work to find themselves and their place in the school community and in life.
Gordi, a boy about to graduate from middle school, struggles throughout the story with whether he has the strength to “come out” on graduation day. This is the day where he feels he has the chance to start his real life. He must come to terms with who he is and muster the strength to share his identity freely and confidently with the world. The story, told through Gordi’s inner self-talk, allows the reader inside the private inner workings of his mind. It opens the curtains to show the painful journey of insecurity, self-loathing, and need for acceptance that all children/youth experience as part of growing up. The end of the journey for Gordi, as for all of us, is to embrace the beauty of self.
The themes and experiences in the novel allow students to identify with Gordi on a variety of levels. The questions, insecurities, and inner voices of most youths result in feelings of needing to hide who they are, and the belief that no one else feels the way they are feeling. This novel might be what every kid needs in order to know that they are not alone, and that the person they are becoming is exactly who they should be.
Heather Beveridge is a member of the York Region Occasional Teacher Local.