Trans activists demand boycott The Boy in Striped Pyjamas novelist

Transgender activists demand boycott of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas novelist John Boyne after latest book follows lead character’s decision to change sex

  • They branded Boyne ‘unqualified’ to write about topic as he’s not trans himself 
  • Others took offence at book’s title, which they said ‘misgenders’ lead character 
  • Taking questions online, Boyne said he would ignore aggressive and rude tweets or ones that makes assumptions about ‘my intentions or beliefs’

Furious activists are calling for a boycott of the author who wrote The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas over his latest book about a transgender boy.

They took to social media to slam Irish writer John Boyne’s new novel My Brother’s Name is Jessica for ‘misrepresenting’ trans people.

Some branded Boyne unqualified to write about the subject because he isn’t transgender.  

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas author John Boyne (pictured) has come under fire from transgender activists over his new book which features a trans lead character

Nikolai Darkling fumed: ‘Boycott @john-boyne and his new ‘novel’ ‘My Brother’s Name is Jessica’ in which his transphobic main character PHYSICALLY ASSAULTS a trans woman and this action is never condemned.

‘Disgusting for an LGBT author to throw us under the bus like this. SHAME.’

Another user wrote: ‘John is not trans therefore this isn’t his story to write. When it comes to transitioning, the trans person themselves should be centered. Not their siblings. 

‘This perspective has been done countless times already. Reading the novel is not mentally feasible for everyone.’

Nikolai Darkling slammed Boyne and called for others to boycott the ‘disgusting’ new book 

A third said: ‘Trans people are misrepresented enough in the media. They are writing their own stories. 

‘But another cis person’s take is being lauded as brilliant trans representation, when we can tell, by the title of the book, that it’s not. I’d almost prefer no rep at all.’ 

Other Twitter users took offence to the novel’s name – claiming the title ‘misgenders’ its protagonist.

Some claimed the Irish writer wasn’t qualified to write about the topic as he isn’t trans himself

Kimberly McCauley argued: ‘The title of your book is inherently disrespectful and makes it very difficult to start any discourse on polite terms.’

Another commented: ‘He misgendered the trans person in the title…I think that reflects a lot on what’s going to be in the book.’

But many users leaped to the author’s defence.

Others took aim at the book’s title, saying it ‘misgenders’ the lead character

One said: ‘Really because he is not trans then it is not his story to write? It is like saying a crime writer can’t write a crime novel because he is not a criminal!’

Author Eileen Wharton agreed and said: ‘Writers use their imagination. It’s what we do!

‘I write from many different perspectives and may not have experienced the things I’m writing about.

‘I speak to people who have experienced those things. I do other research as I’m sure John has done.’

His new book centres around Sam Waver whose older brother Jason reveals he is transgender

John Boyne is an award-winning Irish novelist who specialises in young adult and children’s fiction.

His most famous book, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, topped the New York bestseller’s list upon its release and was made into a 2008 film.

My Brother’s Name is Jessica centres around Sam Waver whose older brother Jason explains that he is transitioning into a woman.

Boyne said he wasn’t taking comments that were rude or aggressive, or ones that made assumptions about his beliefs

Taking to Twitter, the author defended his decision to write a trans story, despite not being trans himself.

He said: ‘I’m happy to answer Twitter comments on my new novel when time allows, but not if a tweet is framed in aggressive or rude terms, or makes assumptions about my intentions or beliefs.

‘Literature is always open to debate, but the discourse must remain polite & mutually respectful.’

Puffin books has been contacted for comment. 

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