Gender Queer

I went to the Athenaeum Library intending to restrict myself to borrowing two books. Needless to say I came away with four... Gender Queer was one of them. I was aware of Maia Kobabe's 2022 graphic memoir vaguely as one of the most banned books in America, and there are some elements of this book that might be a bit 'graphic' for younger readers, but honestly, most teens will see much more explicit content than this on the internet every day.

Gender Queer is a detailed, honest and moving account of Maia's journey through questioning eir gender identity and sexuality (Kobabe uses Spivak pronouns, e, em and eir, which I wasn't aware of before, but which I quite like). It was super easy to read -- I almost finished it on the tram on the way home -- funny, engaging and very relatable. It really makes plain that every person's experience is different and nuanced, and it underscores the ridiculously arbitrary nature of the boxes we put ourselves into. (As an old school eighties feminist, I probably incline more towards the ideal of removing the boxes, rather than creating more and more of them, but that seems to be the way society is moving.) Maia doesn't feel comfortable identifying as a woman, but also doesn't see emself as a man -- ey are looking for gender balance, are attracted to androgyny, and are delighted when people aren't sure if ey are male or female.

I really enjoyed Gender Queer. I don't think it's anything to be afraid of, and I certainly don't support it being banned anywhere. I found it a helpful, enlightening and fascinating story, clearly and simply told. More power to you, Maia.

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