I found this book among many treasures at Portland’s most famous bookstore, the endless universe that is Powell’s. Somehow, I was not able to get to it until last month, which I was thrilled to discover, was Pride Month. I do not believe this timing to be accidental ( I believe it is the workings of the Bookstore Goddess, who guides the wayward who dare to step without direction or ambition into bookstores unawares), for indeed this book and the fact that I could watch Houston’s Pride celebrations from the corner window of my new apartment, made this year’s Pride Month truly exceptional for me. Thank you, Book Goddess. Thank you #HoustonPride.
THIS BOOK. THIS BOOK. THIS BOOK is such an incredible gift. As a lover of memoir, I cannot say enough about how monumental is this collection of stories. I am even having a hard time characterizing these deeply honest, clear-eyed, unapologetic renderings. That is what they are— renderings— of lives mostly hidden, but hidden in plain sight. This exploration of gender by those who cannot, will not, be confined by our notions of the world as binary, taught me so much that I didn’t know, about complexities that I could not appreciate. The offerings are not just revelatory. The writing is exceptionally beautiful. I don’t know how editors, Rajunov and Duane, came to find these authors/writers/artists, but what a talented bunch. The writing alone makes this book a forever treasure. But the timeliness of this compilation is also so fortuitous. We seem to be ready to take a long look at gender. I believe that once we have loosened our grip on what we have long accepted about who makes up what, and how exactly we must only be a he or a she, we might as well deconstruct the whole damn thing, or at least acknowledge that it is already done, and not because we have decided it so, but because gender as binary has never actually existed.