Gender Queer: A Memoir

Maia Kobabe (Author)
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"It's also a great resource for those who identify as nonbinary or asexual as well as for those who know someone who identifies that way and wish to better understand." -- School Library Journal (starred review)

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 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.

Product Details

Price: $17.98  $16.54
Publisher: Oni Press
Published Date: May 28, 2019
Pages: 240
Dimensions: 5.6 X 0.8 X 8.2 inches | 1.05 pounds
ISBN: 9781549304002
BISAC Categories:

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PUBLISHERS WEEKLY -- This heartfelt graphic memoir relates, with sometimes painful honesty, the experience of growing up non-gender-conforming. From a very young age, Kobabe is unsure whether to claim a lesbian/gay, bisexual, or even transgender identity: "I don't want to be a girl. I don't want to be a boy either. I just want to be myself." Kobabe comes of age having to navigate expressions of identity such as clothing and haircuts, with fraught attempts at romantic and sexual entanglements. Eventually, Kobabe's supportive sister concludes: "I think you're a genderless person." (Kobabe: "She knew before I did.")

SHELF-AWARENESS -- Artist Maia Kobabe is genderqueer and uses pronouns e, em and eir. In the gorgeous and candid graphic memoir Gender Queer, e illustrates an aching journey toward reconciliation with being nonbinary and asexual.
Kobabe grew up in a progressive home, with parents who didn't enforce gender roles, but such things are socialized early in places like school and neighborhoods. The dysphoria e experienced became more acute with age; e frequently felt out of step with eir peers. There were awkward Tinder dates and excruciating Pap smears. All the while, Maia searched for an explanation, a language to assign to this internal trauma and confusion.
Midway through the book lies a two-page spread of weighted scales. Each side of holds a gender assigned at birth, as a frantic Maia piles pronouns, clothes, hair style, hormones, etc., on the other. "The end goal wasn't masculinity," e writes, "the goal was balance." Had e been assigned male at birth, e would be playing with makeup and nail polish every day.
Kobabe's drawings, colored by sister Phoebe Kobabe, casts eir life and truths in splendorous, vivid light. And the relationship between the siblings on the page is one of Gender Queer's sweetest elements. Often scared of what lies ahead, Maia confides in Phoebe, a lesbian, about eir queer hopes and fears, and is met each time with the gracious enthusiasm of a sister who has eir back: "I lucked out so hard in the sibling lottery." A challenging yet heartwarming memoir, Gender Queer succeeds on all fronts. --Dave Wheeler, associate editor, Shelf Awareness

SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL (STARRED) -- Gr 9 Up-Kobabe, who uses the pronouns e, em, and eir, was assigned female at birth but never felt that this designation fit. As e grew up, e learned about the spectrum of gender designations and settled on nonbinary as the best descriptor. E came out to eir family as nonbinary and asexual and found that eir family supported em however e identified. In this memoir, Kobabe chronicles eir life from the time e was very young through eir coming of age and adulthood. E describes common situations from the perspective of someone who is asexual and nonbinary: starting a new school, getting eir period, dating, attending college. The muted earth tones and calm blues match the hopeful tone and measured pacing. Matter-of-fact descriptions of gynecological exams and the use of sex toys will be enlightening for those who may not have access to this information elsewhere. VERDICT A book to be savored rather than devoured, this memoir will resonate with teens, especially fans of Alison Bechdel's Fun Home and Mason Deaver's I Wish You All the Best. It's also a great resource for those who identify as nonbinary or asexual as well as for those who know someone who identifies that way and wish to better understand.-Jenni Frencham, Indiana University, Bloomington