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  • Titill er á ensku Breaking the Binary and Promoting Tolerance: Identity, Race, Sexuality and Gender in Jackie Kay’s Trumpet
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    This essay explores how Jackie Kay’s novel Trumpet can work to educate and promote tolerance and understanding of diverse identities that suffer discrimination due to binary social rules. Trumpet shows Kay’s progressive thinking and brings awareness to the community of those who do not identify with predominant social values. The novel empowers individuals that do not conform to perceived social norms. Jackie Kay has experienced herself what it is like to be in a minority group, growing up and living as a mixed-race lesbian in Scotland and not feeling a sense of belonging. She has used her life story as a platform for her writing. Trumpet has themes of social acceptance, identity crisis, racism and gender discrimination. The novel was published in 1998, exactly 20 years ago, and still has relevance to this time. With Kay’s use of different strand narration in the form of a memoir, we gain insight into the diverse mindsets of the characters and their values regarding race, gender and sexuality, and see how crucial it seems to be able to categorize and label individuals in order to accept them. The novel tells the story of Joss Moody, a happily married, famous, respected jazz trumpeter that following his death is discovered to have been living his life as a transgender man. His “truth” becomes a media frenzy and his son Colman and wife Millie are left with questions and emotions that are hard to bear, Colman questioning his heritage and identity as a black man and Millie fearing ridicule and accusations of being lesbian. The novel is inspired by and loosely based on the true life of Billy Tipton, an American jazz musician that was secretly transgender. The essay highlights aspects of Kay’s novel that are valuable for teaching the history and culture of minority groups for a better understanding.

  • 22.1.2018

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