The Pulitzer Committee announced April 25th that transgender poet Jos Charles will be one of their finalists for her latest work in which she rearranges the alphabet to be more inclusive towards the transgender community.
The announcement was originally reported by the pro-LGBT news site “Queerty” on Monday and it generally received negative reaction on Twitter.
— Queerty (@Queerty) June 16, 2019
“The alphabet is a set of letters,” one user commented. “I’m unsure as to how letters can have such a characteristic ascribed to them. How exactly can the alphabet be ‘ferocious’?”
The alphabet is a set of letters. I’m unsure as to how letters can have such a characteristic ascribed to them. How exactly can the alphabet be ‘ferocious’?
— brienger (@brienger1) June 16, 2019
The Pulitzer committee, of course, disagrees.
“Charles’s revolutionary second collection of poetry, feeld, is a lyrical unraveling of the circuitry of gender and speech, defiantly making space for bodies that have been historically denied their own vocabulary,” said the committee.
Her publisher describes the work as an, “Electrifying transliteration of English—Chaucerian in affect, but revolutionary in effect—what is old is made new again.” (RELATED: Fictional Poster Of Transgender Woman In Tight Clothing Sends Social Justice Twitter Into A Rage)
Jos Charle’s biography states that she “is a trans poet, editor, and author of the collection Safe Space. She is the recipient of the 2016 Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellowship through the Poetry Foundation and the 2015 Monique Wittig Writer’s Scholarship. She received an MFA from the University of Arizona and currently resides in Long Beach, California.”
Charle’s work, Feeld, is a collection of poems that seeks to restructure the alphabet and include poems that she considers to be more inclusive of the transgender community. Such poems include:
- “i care so much abot the whord i cant reed.”
- “did u kno not a monthe goes bye a tran i kno doesnt dye.”
- “gendre is not the tran organe gendre is yes a hemorage.”
Others reacted by either mocking or questioning the validity of the article itself:
“It’s a beautiful thing, the destruction of words.”
― George Orwell, 1984
— Ted Kasa (@TedKasa) June 17, 2019
— Good Old Bae (@GoodOldBae) June 16, 2019
— Tam (@tamzy888) June 17, 2019
Political commentators such as Ben Shapiro have routinely spoken out against referring to transgender people by their preferred pronoun while asserting the claim that those suffering from gender dysphoria have a mental disorder.
I believe gender dysphoria is a mental disorder https://t.co/tjm99fKJnp
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) July 28, 2017
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) October 1, 2015
Shapiro often cites a UCLA study that finds a 40% lifetime suicide rate among the transgender population as his reasoning for considering it a mental disorder. The study states, “In looking at the percentages reporting a lifetime attempt within various subgroups of the overall sample, we repeatedly found ‘lows’ in the range of 30 to 40 percent, while the ‘highs’ exceeded 50 or even 60 percent.”