Gender Euphoria is a collection of stories about gender, by trans, non-binary and intersex people across a range of professions and ages.
What this anthology does, is show two things.
Firstly, that the issue of gender dysphoria and subtle discrimination, can basically be anywhere. Hearing people talk about their experiences with being of a non-cis gender taught me so much. In Halo Jedha Dawn’s essay, Gender-Creative Parenting and Me, they discussed how their child would refer to them not as ‘Mum’ or ‘Dad’, but ‘Boo’, short for ‘Boob’ i.e. the one who breastfeeds. Laura Kate Dale’s essay Exploring Gendered Presentation in Gaming Worlds looks at how video games can create alienating spaces through the highly cisgender design of characters. As a cis-presenting person, who is gender queer myself, I am still privileged. But what these essays did was open to my eyes to experiences others in the LGBTQ+ community face on a regular basis in ways and spaces I had never considered.
And so, the second thing this anthology shows, is that gender is performative. Judith Butler famously came up with this theory (and if you don’t know it then be prepared, your mind is about to be blown). She said that we all perform our genders, so for example in a cartoon when you see but eyelashes and pink clothing, you know that character is female. In the same way, men may perform their gender by acting ‘tough’, cutting their hair short, growing a beard, etc. But what this anthology taught me, is that there was a way in which non-binary identities can be performed too which is mind blowing. Wearing a waistcoat, having short coloured hair, these were a few of the reoccurring stereotypical images of ENB people that they said made them feel more non binary.
The only reason I gave this book 3.5 stars is just because a few of the essays didn’t grab me as much as I hoped they would, and I ended up skipping them. But, if you’re interested in gender identity in any way then this book is definitely for you my friend. We can all gain from learning more about people around us, whether they’re cis-gender or not.
**this book was given to me in exchange for an honest review as part of a blog tour with Random Things Tours