Jennifer Finney Boylan is a busy woman. In addition to teaching at Barnard College, consulting for Transparent and I Am Cait and serving as a GLAAD board co-chair, Boylan has authored more than a dozen books, including the best-selling memoir She’s Not There: A Life in Two Genders and the forthcoming novel Long Black Veil. She will head to Boston Oct. 16-17 to receive the Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders Spirit of Justice Award and host a reading of her memoir—but first, she squeezed in a chat with us.
Have your thoughts on your memoir changed with time? After I wrote that book I read it a lot. I sat in bed, holding it in my hands, kind of unable to believe that it was real. Then, after I got over myself, I put the book aside for a long time. I don’t know if I read it at all until 2012, when I began to prepare the revised 10th anniversary edition. There were so many things I would have changed or corrected, now that I am 10 years smarter about the complexities of transgender experience, but for the most part I let everything stay the same. As the saying goes, I stand by all my mistakes. The new edition does have a short new introduction and two new “epilogue” chapters, one by me and one by my wife.
I Am Cait Caitlyn [Jenner] is a very unusual person—not only because of her history but also because of her privilege. No one in their right mind should confuse her with a typical transgender person. That said, just the tremendous visibility of her coming out put our stories on the radar.
In my fantasy world, I have a one-woman show that consists of me telling stories and performing my original songs. Of course, an obstacle to this is that one of the instruments that I play is the autoharp… Also, I have a voice kind of like Rochester from The Jack Benny Show. Still, a girl can dream.