20 LGBTQIA+ stories with upbeat endings

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6. Beautiful Music for Ugly Children

Gabe is apparently living in a different reality from everyone else around him. When he thinks of himself, he sees, well, a boy named Gabe. Others, however, see a girl named Elizabeth. In Beautiful Music for Ugly Children, the 2012 novel by Kirstin Cronn-Mills, Gabe does his best to explain.

He’s a real music geek, you see, and it seems appropriate to describe his gender situation as if he were a record. An album has its A-side, the one usually played first and rotated through the radio lineup. That’s Liz, the side everyone is used to. But then there’s the B-side, the side that maybe gets less play (for now), but is just as important. That’s Gabe, and the one he wants people to take more seriously.

Gabe has a pretty cool job as a late-night radio DJ. When he starts talking about gender identity, especially the record metaphor, his show grows more and more popular. Only, not everyone realizes that Gabe is also known as Liz.

Dangerous perceptions

That creates some real danger for him when a group of worked-up guys discovers Gabe’s other identity. When word starts getting around, Gabe’s DJ show also starts to falter. Is this going to endanger an amazing job offer to work in big-city Minneapolis? How will Gabe’s family, friends, and community react to such an announcement?

There are real instances of drama and concern in Gabe’s story. Transgender kids still face a significant struggle to find acceptance within their communities, not to mention within their own homes. Transgender youth face some serious statistics, too, with numbers showing that they are at greater risk of experiencing violence and mental health issues. Thankfully, though, Gabe’s story is far brighter than these statistics.