Tell me about a memoir that's stayed with you for a long time.
Before that memoir was Born a Crime by Trevor Noah, but most recently, I can't stop thinking about Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe. Hence, why it's a December Book Club pick. I think we ALL need to read this one, especially those of us who are cisgender, so we can better understand the spectrum of gender identity within ourselves and others.
In 2014, Maia Kobabe, who uses e/em/eir pronouns, thought that a comic of reading statistics would be the last autobiographical comic e would ever write. At the time, it was the only thing e felt comfortable with strangers knowing about em. Now, Gender Queer is here. Maia’s intensely cathartic autobiography charts eir journey of self-identity, which includes the mortification and confusion of adolescent crushes, grappling with how to come out to family and society, bonding with friends over erotic fanfiction, and facing the trauma and fundamental violation of pap smears.
Started as a way to explain to eir family what it means to be nonbinary and asexual, Gender Queer is more than a personal story: it is a useful and touching guide on gender identity—what it means and how to think about it—for advocates, friends, and humans everywhere.
I couldn't stop reading this once I started reading it. I borrowed from the library, so I was reading from my phone, which doesn't do it justice. I plan on purchasing a physical copy. It's such a powerful read about an individual's internal struggle regarding gender identity in a world that insists on dichotomy. Kobabe's voice and art is direct and raw and unapologetic. Very matter-of-fact, which was sometimes uncomfortable, but helpful as you're forced to unpack your own discomfort. Then, consider that your discomfort is but a miniscule compared to those actually living through gender dysphoria.
Overall, this is a book that is so incredibly important for anyone who is struggling with gender identity but also for anyone who is struggling to use alternative pronouns or understand being nonbinary, agender, or asexual. While it's not on others to educate you, Kobabe's book does just that in a meaningful way. It upsets me that this book is so heavily banned because it could LITERALLY save lives.
You can order a copy from Tuma's Books, www.tumasbooks.com. While you're at it, order a copy for your local schools if allowed. Check if it's available at your local library and if not, request that they get it. Let's fight to increase the accessibility of this book.