cover image In Transit: Being Non-binary in a World of Dichotomies

In Transit: Being Non-binary in a World of Dichotomies

Dianna E. Anderson. Broadleaf, $24.99 (180p) ISBN 978-1-5064-7924-8

This thoughtful exploration by Anderson (Problematic) theorizes what it means to be nonbinary within the broader queer community. Referencing philosophers, pop culture, and personal stories, the author investigates the “linguistic and social problems we encounter when we try to lump all parts of a broad, diverse community under the same umbrella,” working to define nonbinary on its own terms and contending that “we cannot communicate if we do not agree to speak the same language.” Using the works of Ludwig Wittgenstein and Simone de Beauvoir, Anderson argues in academic prose that existing “rules about how we use language around gender” have restricted queer expression. They share how they grew up without the vocabulary to articulate gender beyond cis norms and are “just now realizing who I am,” asserting that it’s time to “claim our language for our own.” They offer advice to help cisgender readers “learn new patterns of thinking in order to be better” allies, suggesting readers respect gender labels and reflect on what it means to be cis. Anderson’s arguments are well reasoned, and the author’s frank account of their coming-out adds pathos to the discussions of queer theory. The result is an illuminating analysis of the contemporary functions and assumptions of gender. (July)