A daring and insightful look at the difficulties and possibilities of living outside of accepted standards.
By Travis Alabanza ‧ RELEASE DATE: Oct. 17, 2023
Exploring the potential of transcendent identities, Alabanza, a renowned trans author and performer from the U.K., has crafted a memoir around seven powerful phrases that have been said to them over the course of their life. In the chapter titled “This ain’t a thing we do round here, son,” the author delves into their experiences of society’s often hostile (and sometimes violent) policing of gender, as well as how gender and racial discrimination can intersect. They candidly and humorously discuss their struggles to comprehend and gain acceptance for a sense of self that does not fit into social expectations about gender binaries. Alabanza argues that while fixed ideas of gender may be strongly defended, loosening that rigidity can bring freedom to all of us. Throughout the book, the author skillfully combines personal stories with philosophical reflections. Their honest accounts of anxiety and lingering uncertainty about the changing nature of their gender identity are particularly noteworthy and relevant to the underlying argument about the malleability of all concepts of self. “To be gender nonconforming and feminine,” they write, “or to be trans—or, to put it plainly, to look like someone the world calls a man in a dress—is to know intimately that the world is chaotic, unsettling, and does not make sense….It does not make sense for people to be afraid of others who have never hurt them, yet they continue to be.” In some of the most insightful passages, Alabanza highlights how commitments to rigid categorization and hierarchical thinking are at the root of both gender and racial prejudice: “Whiteness and the gender binary feel like the same virus.” The author offers a promising alternative to such issues in their celebration of more flexible ways of being in our personal and public lives.
Pub Date: Oct. 17, 2023
Page Count: 232
Publisher: Feminist Press
Review Posted Online: June 28, 2023
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2023