George M. Johnson Pens Queer Memoir-Manifesto 'All Boys Aren't Blue'
George M. Johnson is the embodiment of the Toni Morrison quote: "If there is a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it." It's not impossible to believe this quote may have played a small role in the creation of his new young adult memoir-manifesto, "All Boys Aren't Blue." Johnson describes the book as a reassuring testimony for young queer men of color and opens up about the idea behind the book's title.
“I named the book ‘All Boys Aren’t Blue’ for a myriad of reasons. The first reason is the most obvious. It kind of is a play on my gender reveals and how we know when kids are born. It’s like, oh, girls are pink. Boys are blue. And so in saying like, well, all boys aren’t blue is kind of a statement, like, oh, OK. And let me think about that for a second,” says Johnson.
He recently sat down with one of our favorite Black news outlets, The Grio, for an exclusive interview where he discussed his childhood experiences around coming to terms with his sexuality and navigating masculinity as a feminine presenting Black man in a historically Black fraternity. Johnson says he hopes his new book will become a resource for African-American families of LGBTQ children.
“Now that we have more children who are starting to identify at a much younger age, we have to be the community that is a blueprint that starts to put systems in place, and safety mechanisms in place for them, when they do come out,” he explains. “So that they are safe and that they have homes to go to and also resources. We didn’t have a lot of resources when I was growing up and I felt that the book, most importantly, could be a resource guide to families, in particular Black families who were looking for a way to figure out what may be going on with their children.”
Johnson says he anticipates pushback from parents who may deem the book's content to mature, and he challenges the notion held by many heterosexuals that a child is incapable of being aware of their queer identity at a young age.
“It’s so important that when people read this book, they understand that children really do have a firm grasp on what’s going on with them,” he stresses. “That we, as adults, haven’t created a space for them safe enough to actually tell us the truth, that they’re living outside of what we’re projecting onto them and what we’re trying to force them to be.”
Johnson also says that he's aware that "All Boys Aren't Blue" may be banned in certain places in America.
“If it happens, it happens and I’m prepared for it.”
"All Boys Aren't Blue" is available for purchase wherever books are sold.