ARC Review: A Quick & Easy Guide to Queer & Trans Identities

I received an ARC of this book from Netgalley



A Quick & Easy Guide to Queer & Trans Identities by Mady G & J.R. Zuckerberg

Pub. in April 2019

96 pages





Goodreads Synopsis

In this quick and easy guide to queer and trans identities, cartoonists Mady G and JR Zuckerberg guide you through the basics of the LGBT+ world! Covering essential topics like sexuality, gender identity, coming out, and navigating relationships, this guide explains the spectrum of human experience through informative comics, interviews, worksheets, and imaginative examples. A great starting point for anyone curious about queer and trans life, and helpful for those already on their own journeys


It’s a good start, but I expected better

This was good quick guide, but as it stands I would not recommend it as a main resource. Some sections are much better than others so it would have been more effective as a series of pamphlets rather than as a whole book. I would only recommend this book as an education tool if more resources are available.  

What stood out

  •  I loved how vibrant the art was. It was well incorporated with the information and made it more digestible.
  •  Good definitions and distinctions between bi and pan. Doesn’t show one to be superior than the other.
  •  Explains why self-labeling is important
  • Great discussion of how exploring your gender expression can be unsafe and suggests ways to make the experience more comfortable.
  •  Validates the experiences of non-dysphoric trans people, defines the different types of dysphoria, and doesn’t center transness around suffering.
  •  Clear, non-medical definition of asexuality and challenges common misconceptions. The whole chapter on asexuality is a great resource.

What I didn’t love

  •  The use of the second person felt weird because it would switch between adressing allies and talking to queer people directly. The lack of transition (ah!) between the two made it seem like the author’s were not sure who the book was intended for.
  • The book presents 101 topics, but glosses over important basic information. There was a whole chapter on asexuality, but only a page on sexuality in general, which would be fine if the audience was already familiar with sexual diversity, but in this case I would have preferred to also see an in-depth look into more orientations.
  • The section of relationships did not need to be included since it was not focused on queer relationships or the specific challenges queer people would find in relationships.

The one section I hated

The section on nonbinary identities was way too short and needed way more work. Based on the title I expected way more than a quick nonbinary people exist and often feel more connected to nonhuman creatures than to humans. That’s not a 101 topic.

Lots of queer people feel connected to villains (heyyy it’s the queer coding), but that doesn’t mean that you should mention it when you’re trying to get your homophobic uncle to stop saying the f slur. IDK, it seems to me like this could backfire somehow…

I agree that it’s easy to feel connected to robots and aliens when in most media they are the only option to escape the gender binary, but in a world where people still make attack helicopter jokes this comparison has no place in a quick guide.

With how short the section was that information was way out of place and could easily be misinterpreted by cis readers and do a lot of damage to how they view nonbinary people.

Before reading this section I would have said that this was a good resource for parents of queer kids, but now I would be wary of having cis people read this book, especially if they had no prior education on nonbinary identities. For a book about trans identitiethis missed the mark.

Should you read it?

I would still recommend this book for queer libraries and school libraries that already have educational material, but it’s not a must read for anyone who has more than a basic understanding of the subject. It lacked focus and based on the title I expected was more information on genderqueer/nonbinary identities.

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