Stereotypes In Kyle Lukoff's Novel 'Too Bright To See'

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Stereotypes are like lice; the ugly things latch on and settle in for the long haul. Anyone can get them at any time, they are extremely painful, they spread and breed and don’t give up until properly treated, and those infected have to deal with the stigma in the aftermath. In Kyle Lukoff’s novel “Too Bright to See,” the coincidentally protagonist named Bug is surrounded by stereotypes, in some ways perpetuating them and in other ways dismantling the ideologies. While it is positively displayed that the characters are multifaceted and accepting of the LGBTQ+ community, negative connotations arise from the depiction of Bug’s uncertainness about his own identity and Uncle Roderick’s identity. Through Bug’s experiences in "Too Bright to See," …show more content…

Throughout the novel, Bug is struggling to come to terms with the fact that he is transgender, and the confusion and uncertainty he feels about his identity. Bug reveals that before he found Roderick’s LGBTQ+ pamphlets, he assumed being transgender was about being unhappy with your “private parts” (Lukoff 172). Even after reading that the identity is more about feeling not quite right, Bug expresses, “But I don’t think that I am a boy. I don’t feel like a boy that everyone thinks is a girl. I just feel like an uncomfortable, misshapen, squishy humanoid, and sure, maybe if I got to look like a boy and everyone thought I was a boy, that would make me feel better.…But trans people are their gender. I just…want something. Something. Which is different” (Lukoff 173). It is evident that Bug’s feelings of uncomfortableness appearing feminine and his gender envy from Griffin align with what he has read about transgender identities, yet he still dismisses that he is boy until he sees himself as one when he gets a short haircut. As Chung points out “It is not surprising that many lesbian and gay youth and adults remain in the closet partly because they have failed to identify with the stereotypical characteristics of lesbian and gay people portrayed in the media” (101). Even though Bug took a long …show more content…

While the novel challenges some stereotypes about LGBTQ+ individuals, it perpetuates others simultaneously. In this context, Sheng Kuan Chung's article "Media Literacy Art Education: Deconstructing Lesbian and Gay Stereotypes in the Media" provides a useful framework for investigating the portrayal of LGBTQ+ characters in the media and showcases the importance of critically examining media images that convey stereotypical messages. Overall, "Too Bright to See" can serve as a valuable source of education for readers, particularly those who may be less familiar with issues related to gender identity and the experiences of LGBTQ+ children to adults. While it is important to remain critical of any harmful stereotypes that may be present within the text, the novel's exploration of themes such as self-discovery and acceptance can help promote greater societal understanding and

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