Gender Queer

Maia Kobabe. Lion Forge, $17.99 trade paper (240p) ISBN 978-1-5493-0400-2
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.”) Kobabe continues to explore the challenges of a nonbinary identity, including the use of alternate pronouns (in Kobabe’s case, e/em/eir), the trauma of cervical exams, refuting misplaced concerns from a loving relative who believes “female to male” transgenderism could be rooted in a form of misogyny, and learning that the term autoandrophilia actually applies “for me.” Intermixed are lighthearted episodes relating Kobabe’s devotion to LGBTQ-inspired Lord of the Rings fan fiction and hero worship of flamboyant ice-skating champion Johnny Weir. Kobabe is a straightforward cartoonist who uses the medium skillfully (if not particularly stylishly), incorporating ample cheery colors, with a script that’s refreshingly smooth and nondidactic for the topic. This entertaining memoir-as-guide holds crossover appeal for mature teens (with a note there’s some sexually explicit content) and is sure to spark valuable discussions at home and in classrooms. (May.)
Reviewed on : 02/08/2019
Release date: 05/01/2019
Genre: Comics
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