cover image Nonbinary: Memoirs of Gender and Identity

Nonbinary: Memoirs of Gender and Identity

Edited by Micah Rajunov and Scott Duane. Columbia Univ, $28 (304p) ISBN 978-0-231-18533-2

Gender is explored by a diverse group of 30 writers who identify neither as male nor female and use nonbinary pronouns in this mixed collection of first-person narratives. Sand C. Chang, a Chinese-American psychotherapist, tries to free themselves from their internalized gender conditioning; Christopher Soto, a brown person and former punk, reflects on the acceptance a rebellious community brought them. Caleb Wilvich “long[s] for a world where my actions weren’t gendered and I could just interact as a human... [without] the constant pressure of gender roles”; Genny Beemyn laments being misgendered by other trans people. Jaye Ware’s Christian faith is shaken when rejected by their church community, and activist Jeffrey Marsh faces death threats due to being visibly gender-nonconforming. One of the most moving pieces is by “Abigail,” a mother who struggles to understand, accept, and support her child when that child rejects their assumed place on the gender binary. Her account will be a boon to readers new to the topic. The essays sometimes lack finesse, but carefully chosen, particular, quirky details reveal the writers’ personalities, and all the essays evince a sincere desire to candidly share difficult feelings on a complicated topic. This well-meaning book will be an asset in college classroom conversations about queer theory. [em](Apr.) [/em]