It has recently been announced that the book Adam by Ariel Schrag is going to be turned into a movie. Though being released in 2014, attention has been brought to this book as of recent for the problematic ways it displays lesbians and transgender people. Adam is the story of a 17-year-old boy who spends the summer with his sister, who is a lesbian, in New York City. While being there he hangs out with her group of LGBTQ+ friends. He immediately has a crush on one girl who is a lesbian. Adam is a cisgender boy who pretends to be a transgender man to trick a lesbian into dating him. As confusing as this may sound, it only gets worse.
In the book, all transgender men consider themselves as lesbians, implying that they are still women because they have not fully transitioned. This inaccurately portrays transgender men. I do not know a single trans man that considers themselves a lesbian and it is harmful to imply that because they have transitioned they are women. Adam lies and tells the lesbian he has a crush on that he is a pre-transition trans man. Considering him to be a lesbian, she believes Adam and they start dating. The story only gets more problematic and terrible. Before getting into the details of their relationship, one important thing to note in the book is at the beginning Adam and his friend spy on Adam’s sister and her girlfriend having sex. Not only is this extremely creepy, but it shows that men just fetishize queer women.
Besides lying about his gender identity, Adam also lies to the girl about his age. She is 23 and he says he is 21 when in actuality he is only 17. This brings up a whole other argument about the age gap between these two. After dating a while the two have sex, and in order to hide his identity, he uses an ace bandage to hold down his erection and uses a strap-on. This is already extremely disturbing, but the second time they have sex Adam lies and says he is using a strap-on when he is not. This is rape, the girl did not consent to this and he lied about the sexual intercourse they were having. After they have sex, Adam confesses that he is not trans and the girl responds saying she knows. She goes on to say that after they first had sex she fantasized about him being a “real guy”, an actual quote from the book. Later in in the book, the two break up after Adam calls her a whore and other expletives, but not because he lied about his identity. Later on, they message each other to catch up and it is now revealed that the supposed lesbian is now dating a cisgender man. There is nothing wrong with a person identifying as a new sexual orientation, but some would even consider this conversion therapy as she is now not a lesbian after having sex with a cisgender man.
This whole book is completely messed up and does not accurately portray lesbians or transgender men at all. Now that this book is being turned into a movie, it will give straight, cisgender people the wrong ideas about lesbians and transgender people. The LGBTQ+ community is always happy to get representation in the media, but not like this. This just goes to show that LGBTQ+ people hardly ever get the accurate representation that we deserve. To make matters even worse, the author knows that this book is problematic stating “The premise of the novel is supposed to be provocative. It’s supposed to ignite feelings of “Oooh, that’s problematic””. Schrag obviously does not care to portray lesbians and transgender men as they should be and just wants to have a shock factor. With this being said do not support the movie Adam when it hits theaters.
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