We got our collective, grabby little hands on a copy of Mady G. and J.R. Zuckerberg’s A Quick and Easy Guide to Queer and Trans Identities a couple weeks ago and we’re in luuuuurrrve.
It just came out this week, so we’re here to tell you that we think you — especially if there are some young people in your life you can share it with — should get your hands on a copy, too.
What is it? This 100+ page book is a trippy, cuddly and affirming comic adventure that very warmly, gently and with great joy leads the reader through a wide range of identities and some parts of life that are often about or involve them, like intimate relationships, dysphoria, coming out, making decisions about gender expression and our bodies, including medical decisions, finding — and feeling without — community and support. It’s something that takes some subjects that can be really scary for people, especially for many queer and trans young people, and that I think could help turn a lot of that fear or dread into understanding, acceptance and happy celebration.
It’s amazing and wonderful and just the very sweetest thing, is what it is.
I think it’s going to be a goodie for just about everyone: whether you don’t know jack about any of this, or whether all of this is very much about you and you know a lot from lived experience, a million awesome queer or trans history internet rabbit holes, and other ways of learning. This is potentially for you if you feel pretty comfortable, perhaps even deeply at home, with these arenas and ways of being, or if you are feeling intimidated, lost and uncomfortable (the sheer delight in all of this will help, I promise). For those who don’t yet or currently have any queer, asexual, trans, genderqueer or nonbinary community, this can provide some of that feeling. I think this book would be a great choice for teen readers, including young teens.
There are talking snails! There are Sproutlings (you’ll see)! There’s even a Julia Serano cameo! There’s some dorktastically cool extras in the back. There are soft and lovely colors and beautiful patterns. There are excellent definitions and descriptions and talk-throughs and other helps for understanding concepts that can really get people twisted sometimes.
There’s oodles of mad affirmation, bigging up and support. This is a comic full of wisdom, full of whimsy, and really, really full of love. I’m completely over the moon for it. It’s my new most favorite thing.
Here’s what some of the rest of our team had to say about it:
I really, really loved this. I loved how in-depth it went into things that I tend to see covered a lot less (asexuality, dysphoria, the challenges of coming out). I really liked the Sproutlings, especially in light of their creator’s comments about imagining an idyllic world that truly does allow for infinite diversity where the rules aren’t quite so strict and the answer is almost always “Sounds good! Thank you for telling me! I love and accept you!”
Also, I lightly wept when I read the nonbinary-alien part: I can’t tell you how many times I’ve felt like an alien in my own skin. I refer to myself as a frog a lot precisely because of how the things that make me feel different from the people around me (read: brown, fat, hairy, genderqueer and generally odd) might feel more okay if I was amphibious. And I’m at least a few years older than the average “queer youth,” so I can say that I’ve 100% experienced that feeling, and that it’s spot on.
I am really impressed at how it manages to present concepts in a pretty nuanced way without feeling too heavy or overwhelming for people who may be unfamiliar with what’s being discussed. The art is fun and cute without feeling *cutesy* and has a great energy to it; there’s such a great loving and celebratory vibe through the entire book. I think this will be a really helpful resource for people who are questioning or just starting to explore their queer identities and for allies who want to educate themselves; this is absolutely the sort of thing I wish I’d had oh…17 years ago when I was first starting to understand my own queerness and had a lot of questions and not many places to turn for answers.
This is so beautiful!!!
I love how casual the identity sections are. They do a great job of hitting all the key points without feeling preachy. Also, the reaction the snails have to seeing all the queer humans for the first time is not unlike how I felt the first time I went to a Pride event, and I love seeing that idea that the diversity of queer presentations is something worthy of joy and wonder.
The relationship section is really strong. I could see it becoming something educators use. The prose and drawings communicate the realities of healthy and unhealthy relationships in a way that’s going to be accessible to a lot of people.
That link way up top to Simon and Schuster’s page for this book has a handful of links to places where you can buy it. We also want to make sure you don’t forget you can get it at our favorite local feminist bookstore (the endlessly amazing and resilient Women and Children First), too!