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Nonbinary: Memoirs of Gender and Identity

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4.33  ·  Rating details ·  358 ratings  ·  76 reviews
What happens when your gender doesn’t fit neatly into the categories of male or female? Even mundane interactions like filling out a form or using a public bathroom can be a struggle when these designations prove inadequate. In this groundbreaking book, thirty authors highlight how our experiences are shaped by a deeply entrenched gender binary.

The powerful first-person na
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ebook, 286 pages
Published April 9th 2019 by Columbia University Press (first published March 1st 2019)
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Average rating 4.33  · 
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 ·  358 ratings  ·  76 reviews


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Jenny (Reading Envy)
This collection of short essays from people who do not identify as just male or just female, and that's where the similarities end. There is a decent age diversity, which helps to demonstrate how things have changed (and how they haven't.) There is some racial diversity as well as a wide span of relationship types and class difference. Most of the stories are USA-based, which is too bad as the international voices that could have been included would have been interesting (the first essay starts ...more
Tyler J Gray
A diverse range of nonbinary voices. Related to some as a fellow nonbinary person, learned a lot and was thought-provoking. Showed a range of ages too with older nonbinary people as well, showing it's not a "young person" thing. Nonbinary folks have always been here. ...more
Isaiah
Apr 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
To see more reviews check out MI Book Reviews.

I got an ARC of this book.

I spend a lot of my time reading about binary trans identities. That is the world that makes the most sense to me since I am a binary trans person. I lived in Berkeley for a while and absolutely hated it. I figured out it was because the trans space that was so anti-binary that it became a social death sentence to identify binary. I felt erased and hated. I wanted to read this book to start to put some of my own issues with
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Silvana
If you're a Harry Potter fan, you might be aware about the debacle surrounding JK Rowling's tweets and essay on trans people. I was confused with one of the recent tweets about menstruation and said to my friends, what's wrong with the tweet, as she was asking about a term, and linked an article on WASH practices which is, like, a huge health issue? Obviously, I foolishly did not realize the tweet itself was scornfully trans phobic, since she defined women as “people who menstruate", which is no ...more
Alex
I received an ARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The good:

This is a collection of personal life stories by people who identify as nonbinary in some way. These people are a variety of identities, races, ages and assigned genders, with different opinions on transition and identity. What I really liked was that many, if not most of them are over 30 (with several over 50) which really goes against the idea that being nonbinary is just something young people made up. Also, while i
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Fran (The Ramblebee)
May 20, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019, arc
You can also read this review on my blog.

I'm agender. Sometimes I use the terms trans, genderqueer, or nonbinary for simplicity, to simply signal that I don't want to be gendered as either male or female, and to emphasise that those are communities that I belong to. For the longest time of my life, I believed in the male-female binary and identified as a cis woman. It never sat quite right with me: I always felt a twinge of discomfort when people called me a woman, and I was upset at the changes
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Anniek
I received an eARC of this book through Netgalley, in exchange for my honest opinion.

This is a really diverse collection of non-binary voices. People all across the gender spectrum are telling their personal stories, like how they knew they were non-binary, how they came out, how they share their identity with the world in their day-to-day lives and how the world responds to them.

Personally, I have been questioning my gender for quite a long time now. It's a confusing and stressful process, and
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R  Jay K
Mar 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviews-written
There's no singular, one size fits all definition for being nonbinary. At least, not one that encompasses the full breadth of it. This book does a beautiful job of shining the light on nonbinary voices, representing the diversity within a single label. The book arranges various memoirs under different themes they share - addressing the basic question of what gender is, what visibility means for nonbinary community, understanding 'community', representation etc.

Admittedly my genderqueer self is b
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Isabelle
Jun 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Nonbinary - edited by Micah Rajunov and Scott Duane is a book that is emotional, educational, heartbreaking and thought-provoking all at the same time. While I firmly believe in letting people live their lives the way they want to as long as other people are not harmed by it, I did not know much at all about having a nonbinary identity. This book really gives an insight into how harsh life outside of the binary can be but also how fulfilling it can be to find your place in the world. This book b ...more
Jessica
Jul 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lgbtqia, memoir
I felt really seen, reading this book. I didn't connect with all the essays, but some seemed like they were written specifically with me in mind. I want to hug this book to my chest and also pass it around and make everyone I know read it! ...more
Sara Codair
I'll write a longer, more detailed review soon, but for now, I'll say that this is a collection of moving, well-written essays that not only validated my identity as a non-binary person, but boosted all types of non-binary voices. ...more
Bryn Hammond
Apr 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
First person life stories, or slice-of-life stories, from nonbinary people. There was a wide range of experiences and of circumstances: complicating factors such as poverty and race not neglected. Of course, I found a few wise, a few very moving. With thirty contributions, and with the editorial eye to difference, you must find stories that resonate or teach.

One chapter jarred for me because it was a parent writing about their nonbinary child. Inevitably (should I be optimistic and write 'almos
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Nicki Markus
Dec 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-non-fiction
Nonbinary was both a touching and informative read. Through the stories presented, it's clear to see that a nonbinary identity can mean different things to different people, and that all presentations as such are equally valid. With some within the LGBTQIA+ spectrum still relatively invisible, I believe this is an important work to highlight the experiences of those still marginalised within the community, and I applaud those who came forward with their stories for their courage and willingness ...more
Kristi Holmes Espineira
Sep 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Read this book if:
* you want to understand more about the complex spectrum of human gender identity
* you care about someone who is nonbinary, gender-nonconforming, or queer
* you’ve found yourself fumbling with someone’s pronouns, struggling to wrap your mind around someone’s gender identity or expression, or simply feeling clueless about what the heck “nonbinary” even means
* you want to learn more about and be more empathetic towards people along the entire lived experience of gender
* you’re w
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Audrey
Jun 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I’m still learning a lot about gender and I feel like reading personal stories about people relating to and exploring gender has been important. I think this was an important book for me to read. It was well written and covered a huge range of issues that obstacles faced by those that exist outside of a gender binary.
Mika J. Elijah
Reading this book has been an incredible experience and I feel very lucky to have done so. I read the ebook but someday I will buy the physical copy. I really want to read some of the chapters again in the near future, it brought me joy and got me contemplating labels and ideas again and I’m just full of love for this book.
Ekmef
Mar 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
If you are nonbinary and feel a little lost, this is the book for you. In the multitude of personal stories there will be one that resonates with you, you'll find someone who went exactly through the same stuff as you did and you'll know that you are not alone in all this. It's a wonderful collection of lived experience that shows there are many ways to be nonbinary. ...more
Dominique
Sep 26, 2020 rated it liked it
A good read overall, but some of the essays were poorly written.
Simon
Nov 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Illuminating. Helpful to see how I do identify with people's stories and in how I don't. And every essay well written. Another to add to my "standards" pile. ...more
Ine Martens
Feb 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I will read this again and again
Allison
Dec 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
I hope this book gets read widely.

While cisgender myself, I am familiar with gender identity, with the idea of gender as a spectrum and people falling at different places, or multiple places, along that spectrum. I am aware that gender is separate from sexuality and also separate from visible gender characteristics and sexual organs, both of which are also nonbinary in their categorization. I know the basics. However, this book and it's long list of memoir short stories really brought home the d
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Sinamile
Apr 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lgbtqiap, 2019-reads, arcs
ARC Review: Received for free via Netgalley for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

TW: ableist slurs, racial slurs, gender slurs, depression, suicide ideation, murder threats

I think the biggest message that all these stories tell us is that there is no one way to be nonbinary, there aren't a set of rules that tell you how you should or shouldn't act/be/dress like, that nonbinary comes in all shapes and sizes and colour and that it's not just one type of person that is nonbinary.

These st
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C. S.
May 02, 2019 rated it it was ok
DNF at 31%. First and foremost I'm just not in the right mental space to be reading this right now. While nothing says that writing about your personal experience requires you to write upliftingly, I just got an overwhelming sense of tiredness and jagged emotional edges from essays. Essays that also failed to form a cohesive narrative, making it difficult to read the book as a whole and to navigate to the different identities expressed. ...more
Hope
Sep 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Literature – the writing and telling of stories – has always been a way for marginalised groups to express themselves in ways that mainstream culture would not allow. It allows cis people, like myself, the opportunity to hear from and support nonbinary and trans voices. It allows nonbinary and trans voices to connect and find each other. These words and stories aren’t just validated through the act of writing because I believe those voices and words were valid before they even had to speak. But ...more
Yzabel Ginsberg
[I received a copy through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.]

A collection of essays by and about nonbinary authors. (Incidentally, July 14 is International Nonbinary People's day, so I guess this review comes at just about the right time.) There’s more than just “either man or woman”, and I wish this was more understood, all the more because I have a hard time with the current of hostility exhibited by some people whenever they can’t put others in neat little boxes (doesn’t only apply
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Iseult
Jun 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Overall, this was pretty good. I liked that there were a wide variety of identities, many non-binary AMAB writers which I was glad to see as I don't hear their experiences that often, and several people who were middle-aged which is also a less-often heard from age group. Naturally, I liked some writers more than others, and I searched out those with a similar story to mine. Some essays I found too jargon-y, which is unfortunately really common and I think stops a lot of people from reading, bot ...more
Gwen
Aug 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
As a note I'm going to use the term non-binary to describe the authors in this book since that is the term used in the title. In reality the authors have a pretty diverse range of genders and in some cases terms like genderqueer or agender would probably apply better. Just to keep the review a little bit more simple I'll stick to non-binary for the review.

I read the first sentence in the introduction and I kind of thought this was going to be a bad book. The first sentence is, "Gender is a slipp
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Becca
Feb 17, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This book was so powerful to me, as someone who is struggling to come to terms with my own gender identity. Hearing so many different people' stories in their own words and realizing how connected we all are in our struggles and hang ups and fears. I had been feeling so isolated and alone in my confusion and this really helped me breathe and accept that there are no easy answers in life, most especially when it comes to personal identity and how that relates to gender.

Although there definitely c
...more
Chava
I've been trying to read as much as I can to gain insight into issues and things I haven't previously known or understood completely. When it comes to nonbinary gender identity, I came into this book completely ignorant.

This book is an anthology of essays and short pieces written by people who are nonbinary. I find that I really love this format for topics such as this. It provides a better preview into how people of different backgrounds - race, academic disciplines, socio-economics, etc. - per
...more
Mary Whisner
May 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Seattle Public Library’s and Seattle Arts & Lectures’s Adult Summer Book Bingo has a square for a book by a trans or nonbinary author. I’ve read some books by and about trans folks, but not nonbinary authors, so I checked this one out. It was a good choice. Although it’s from an academic press and therefore presented the risk of having more jargon and theory than I wanted, it was quite accessible. I liked that it had 30 separate essays—short memoirs—because it was a delight to read so many voice ...more
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