Navigating queerness as a book reviewer, or I’m kinda coming out

It’s been three months since my last blog post and  since then every time I sat down to write I had to think of how I wanted to review A Quick & Easy Guide to Queer and Trans Identities.

That review was impossible to write because my biggest criticism was on a section of the book that touched my identity. To be more specific, I didn’t know how to write my criticism of the section on nonbinary identities as a nonbinary person who wasn’t out on the internet.

There’s much to be said about being nonbinary online and how it differs from being out sexuality-wise, but right now I want to focus on how it relates to the book community.

Will my criticism be seen as valid if I don’t say I’m nonbinary?

When I review book I don’t usually do a structured take down of the harmful content I’m critiquing. I might state the situation, quickly comment on it, but I won’t illustrate why it’s harmful. I find that those types of arguments fit better in their own posts or community wide discussions because the problem is rarely specific to the one book.

Most of the time this works out fine because if I’m talking about things like mental illness and sexuality I’ve had years to think about my own experience and to learn about the topic so if someone wants to know more they can ask me and I don’t give a crap if people disagree with my opinion.

When it comes to nonbinary is representation I don’t have the same confidence. I’m all right with theory, but it’s still a tender issue in my personal life so even the smallest attack of my comments has the potential to hurt me. If I don’t mention that I’m nonbinary in the review then when people read it then will probably assume that I’m cis. Even if it only happens in their head I don’t want them to misgender me. I also wouldn’t want that assumption to get in the way if there were other reviews out there with the opposite opinion.

My opinion is the same, whether or not people know my gender, but I still feel like my opinions would be taken more seriously if people did know. I know that if people see that my review is ownvoices they are more likely to refer to it, because that’s what I do when I’m not sure about some rep.

That leads to the kind of pressure that makes you stop blogging for months because you’re wondering if you want to be openly nonbinary on your blog. And the moment that becomes an option you can’t stand the thought of people misgendering you online but you also don’t know if you are ready to deal with all the crap that comes with being out. And you’re thinking about the potential IRL repercussions of being out online.

It’s a lot, but I guess I’ve done it now. I hope I wasn’t too rambly…

When it comes to pronons I don’t have a strong preference in English, but for now I want to try using they/them and see how that feels. I’m quite attached to elle in French, although I don’t think I will be having many conversations in French over here…

 

5 thoughts on “Navigating queerness as a book reviewer, or I’m kinda coming out

  1. Thank you for sharing! I’m kind of in the middle of figuring some gender/non-binary stuff myself and I get that it’s different to figure out and share with people than sexuality! And you’re right — it sucks that people assume everyone is cis unless it’s clearly stated but on the other hand ownvoices is important in making sure nobody speaks over people in question so it’s a bit tricky here.

    Like

    1. Thank you for your input!

      Yup, the whole situation is very frustrating because OV is important, but when it comes to gender and sexuality there’s this extra layer where to even get to a point where you can claim it you’ve already gone through a lot of the process so we’re missing the voices of everyone who are just beginning to question.

      Good luck on the gender stuff

      Liked by 1 person

  2. just so you know, I’m here for you if you wanna talk. you’re so brave for properly coming out. I don’t have that courage myself, part of which is just because I’m intimidated to, but I’m also figuring it out just like you are, It’ll probably take a long time for me to figure it out, honestly. If you do decide to review the book, please know that I will be the first one to read it.your opinion will be important and invaluable, and I know I and many other readers will take it to heart.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you ❤

      Seriously don't worry about it taking a long time. This stuff is complicated and at leats for me it took years before I was even able to listen to myself.

      I still have to format the review and edit it a bit more, but it should be out in the next couple of days.

      Liked by 1 person

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