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An accessible, affirming story that models how anyone—cis or trans—can take steps toward self-knowledge and gender freedom.

A gender-focused graphic memoir ideal for fans of Maia Kobabe’s Gender Queer (2019).

Parish breaks the fourth wall, introducing themself as a cat owner, a novelty teapot collector, and a transgender and nonbinary person. They employ the metaphor of a hiking trip, sharing their perspective on what gender means and feels like to them: “It’s okay…to make my own path.” The winding, meditative narrative recounts their upbringing, how they found belonging through art school, comic conventions, and tabletop role-playing games and their ever-evolving gender journey. The British artist thoughtfully reflects both gratitude for their body and feeling as if “it could do with some redecorating…renovating…trying things out…and seeing what works.” Thick, flowing strokes of color in pastel hues create a cozy and accessible vibe. Parish sometimes depicts themself with their torso drawn in the shape of a small house, representing moments of euphoria, growing understanding, and feeling at home in their body. They also show their own reflection in mirrors as a technique for illustrating deep introspection and perception. They take care to acknowledge that this is just one story of many, and that different possibilities for readers abound. Parish reads white; the pages feature people of varying racial identities, sizes, abilities, and gender presentations. The open-ended conclusion reminds readers that “we are all deserving of comfort and safety…a place to call home.”

An accessible, affirming story that models how anyone—cis or trans—can take steps toward self-knowledge and gender freedom. (sketchbook process pages) (Graphic memoir. 13-18)

Pub Date: April 23, 2024

ISBN: 9780063319592

Page Count: 224

Publisher: HarperAlley

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2024

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From the Pocket Change Collective series

Small but mighty necessary reading.

A miniature manifesto for radical queer acceptance that weaves together the personal and political.

Eli, a cis gay white Jewish man, uses his own identities and experiences to frame and acknowledge his perspective. In the prologue, Eli compares the global Jewish community to the global queer community, noting, “We don’t always get it right, but the importance of showing up for other Jews has been carved into the DNA of what it means to be Jewish. It is my dream that queer people develop the same ideology—what I like to call a Global Queer Conscience.” He details his own isolating experiences as a queer adolescent in an Orthodox Jewish community and reflects on how he and so many others would have benefitted from a robust and supportive queer community. The rest of the book outlines 10 principles based on the belief that an expectation of mutual care and concern across various other dimensions of identity can be integrated into queer community values. Eli’s prose is clear, straightforward, and powerful. While he makes some choices that may be divisive—for example, using the initialism LGBTQIAA+ which includes “ally”—he always makes clear those are his personal choices and that the language is ever evolving.

Small but mighty necessary reading. (resources) (Nonfiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-09368-9

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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Though not the most balanced, an enlightening look back for the queer future.

An adaptation for teens of the adult title A Queer History of the United States (2011).

Divided into thematic sections, the text filters LGBTQIA+ history through key figures in each era from the 1500s to the present. Alongside watershed moments like the 1969 Stonewall uprising and the HIV/AIDS crisis of the 1980s and 1990s, the text brings to light less well-known people, places, and events: the 1625 free love colony of Merrymount, transgender Civil War hero Albert D.J. Cashier, and the 1951 founding of the Mattachine Society, to name a few. Throughout, the author and adapter take care to use accurate pronouns and avoid imposing contemporary terminology onto historical figures. In some cases, they quote primary sources to speculate about same-sex relationships while also reminding readers of past cultural differences in expressing strong affection between friends. Black-and-white illustrations or photos augment each chapter. Though it lacks the teen appeal and personable, conversational style of Sarah Prager’s Queer, There, and Everywhere (2017), this textbook-level survey contains a surprising amount of depth. However, the mention of transgender movements and activism—in particular, contemporary issues—runs on the slim side. Whereas chapters are devoted to over 30 ethnically diverse gay, lesbian, bisexual, or queer figures, some trans pioneers such as Christine Jorgensen and Holly Woodlawn are reduced to short sidebars.

Though not the most balanced, an enlightening look back for the queer future. (glossary, photo credits, bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: June 11, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-8070-5612-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Beacon Press

Review Posted Online: March 12, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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