Title: Gender Queer, A Memoir
Author/illustrator: Maia Kobabe
Publisher: Lion Forge LLC, 2019
Genre: Graphic memoir
Themes: gender identity, gender queer, non-binary eir-story, pronouns, honest, lgbtqia+, asexuality, exploring one’s identity, e-em-eir,
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 gay fanfiction, and facing the trauma 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. (Publisher)
Why I like this book:
A beautifully drawn and intimate account of one person’s struggle with gender identity, (a)sexuality and coming of age. The book deals with queerness in a concise, thoughtful and informative way, seamlessly switching between graphic biography and visual metaphors so the book feels at times both universal and uniquely personal.
I would highly recommend this to, well everyone. Non-binary? Asexual? Queer? Wanting to learn? It’s a graphic memoir. I read it in a couple of hours. Riveted. I cried, having to pause several times. It was hard-hitting, and raw, and touching, and oh my dog, so sincere and honest. I went through my own questioning process as a child, teen then adult, and it is often a process for so many. I think any questioning teen will be able to relate to so many moments of: doubt and embarrassment, confusion, feeling like a freak. At the same time E is so straight about eir supportive family, which many genderqueer folk do not have. I am so happy this memoir exists and will most definitely buy it for my High School library. While it mainly addresses gender identity, the intensity of simply growing up is captured beautifully. Highly recommended, and I think the graphic format is perfect for this memoir as it makes it vividly multidimensional.
NOTE: There are some more graphic moments illustrated, so I won’t be adding it to the middle school library, but if you know a questioning tween, check it out yourself and perhaps you will want to offer em a copy.