Gender Queer: A Memoir

by Maia Kobabe

Paperback, 2019




Oni Press (2019), 240 pages


In 2014, Maia Kobabe, who uses e/em/eir pronouns, thought that a comic of reading statistics would be the last autobiographical comic e would ever write. At the time, it was the only thing e felt comfortable with strangers knowing about em. Now, Gender Queer is here. Maia's intensely cathartic autobiography charts eir journey of self-identity, which includes the mortification and confusion of adolescent crushes, grappling with how to come out to family and society, bonding with friends over erotic gay fanfiction, and facing the trauma of pap smears. Started as a way to explain to eir family what it means to be nonbinary and asexual, Gender Queer is more than a personal story: it is a useful and touching guide on gender identity--what it means and how to think about it--for advocates, friends, and humans everywhere.… (more)


(407 ratings; 4.3)

Media reviews

(Starred Review:) A book to be savored rather than devoured, this memoir will resonate with teens, especially fans of Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home and Mason Deaver’s I Wish You All the Best. It’s also a great resource for those who identify as nonbinary or asexual as well as for those who know
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someone who identifies that way and wish to better understand
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2 more
Experiencing Gender Queer was transformative. Maia tells their story of self-discovery, and navigating gender with a lot of candidness and vulnerability. From the very first chapter, I was enthralled. Maia’s progression from confusion, then realization, to finally embracing, is one that I think a
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lot of people (regardless of gender, sexuality, or simply existentially) can relate to....
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This heartfelt graphic memoir relates, with sometimes painful honesty, the experience of growing up non-gender-conforming. . . . Intermixed are lighthearted episodes relating Kobabe’s devotion to LGBTQ-inspired Lord of the Rings fan fiction and hero worship of flamboyant ice-skating champion
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Johnny Weir. Kobabe is a straightforward cartoonist who uses the medium skillfully (if not particularly stylishly), incorporating ample cheery colors, with a script that’s refreshingly smooth and nondidactic for the topic. This entertaining memoir-as-guide holds crossover appeal for mature teens (with a note there’s some sexually explicit content) and is sure to spark valuable discussions at home and in classrooms.
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User reviews

LibraryThing member vancouverdeb
This was sort of a BB from Janet here in the 75's. She gave a shout- out to Sissy: A Coming-of-Gender Story Unfortunately my library did not have that book. However, I found this graphic memoir, Gender Queer. Maia is assigned female at birth, but never feels comfortable in e body. Maia struggles
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with e sexuality. Is e male or female , or non-binary ? E is also asexual. This was fascinating and touching look into gender identity.. I understand so much more about this topic. Highly recommended.
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LibraryThing member bell7
Maia Kobabe explains eir process of coming to terms with gender and eir own gender identity as non-binary and asexual.

This is honestly fantastic. It describes the author's journey from being assigned female at birth and having crushes on both boys and girls, to learning terms like bi and trans, and
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working through eir gender identity and finding pronouns that made sense. It's also about the awkwardness and challenges surrounding coming out as non-binary to various people (family, friends, strangers) and correcting misgendering. There are frank, matter-of-fact discussions of masturbation, OBGYN appointments, and sexual encounters but nothing overly graphic. I could see this having a lot of crossover appeal with high schoolers and young adults dealing with all sorts of identity questions.
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LibraryThing member lycomayflower
CA: snakes, brief nudity

Kobabe's graphic memoir explores their experience with and confusion about gender from early childhood through adulthood, and it is *amazing*. Just stunningly crafted, gentle, and honest. I wasn't going to read this (in a quiet sort of "I'm probably good; I can pass that one
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up" way), and then a chucklehead from my adopted stated decided to sue a (single) Barnes and Noble store for making the book available to children (read: carried it in the store; B&N (of course?) doesn't restrict any of it's material; literally everything in there is available to everyone), and then I had to buy and read it in support of the author, the book, and bookstores. And it was a perfect reading experience. Thank you, Streisand effect. Seriously, though. The book is so good. Recommended.
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LibraryThing member Griffin_Reads
The experiences Maia shares throughout the story of eir life were super impactful to me, as it brought out memories I did not even know I had and allowed me to connect through my own gender journey. The illustrations are super cute and well-drawn, and add to the emotional experience reading the
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LibraryThing member Othemts
Cartoonist, writer, and librarian Maia Kobabe writes and illustrates eir own story of exploring eir gender and sexuality. The graphic novel breaks down a lot of the nuance that Kobabe has trouble explaining in real life. Despite coming from a progressive family and attending a progressive school, e
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is often frustrated by people misgendering and misunderstanding em. It is a candid and personal work and one that I'm sure was difficult for Kobabe to create. But for that it is all the more a gift to the reader to try to understand eir life experience (and all the more violently cruel to ban the book and erase that life experience). It's a highly recommended read from me.
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LibraryThing member SqueakyChu
I selected this book to read from my local library because I know it is a frequently banned book. I wanted to find out exactly what the content of this book was and determine for myself how appropriate it would be for teenagers to read it.

I was a bit taken aback by quite how honest this book was
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and how the author put aside any barrier to revealing quite intimate information. I guess this was part of the draw of the book, but the latter part of the book where the author was clearer about the meaning of genderqueer was the best for me. It not only provided information and comfort for individuals examining their own sexual identity, but it provided the same information and comfort to family and friends of those questioning individuals who also read this book.

The book was, in fact, very easy to read. I read the entire book in one sitting. The information was clearly organized, the artwork (with the coloring done by the author's sister) was attractive, and the supportive embrace of the graphic novel's content was completely there.
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LibraryThing member electrascaife
An interesting and eye-opening graphic novel memoir about how the author has struggled all eir life with issues of gender and sexuality. I think it's an important read both for cis folk, who can gain insight on how LGBTQ+ people feel and how they struggle with things that may not see obvious as
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hurdles to us, and for LGBTQ+ youth in particular, who can find in the author someone who has went through much the same things they may be going through. Definitely recommended.
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LibraryThing member akblanchard
In this heartfelt memoir, cartoonist Maia Kobabe shares eir confusions and triumphs as e copes with eir identity as an asexual, genderqueer person. This accessible book really helped me to understand what it must be like to find oneself outside the gender binary.
LibraryThing member sennebec
Read this earlier today and Found it to be honest, daring in who the author shared their fears and intimate thoughts/moments while growing up. I saw nothing that would cause this book to be banned. Those who are all in a kerfluffle over it probably never cracked the cover and are marching to
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outrage under the orders of an Orwellian authoritarian entity. It should definitely be in most school and public libraries.
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LibraryThing member clrichm
All right, I mean, I suppose I can see why those who equate homosexuality and stories of transgender people purely with sexual activity would consider this book work making a fuss about; certainly, my own mother would have. But what the book isn't is porn.

It's a little explicit in places, such as
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when e describes eir first sexual relationship; the illustrations there are graphic enough that I can imagine them blown up on a slide presentation at a rowdy school board meeting. Could the author have censored emself a little? I guess. Should e have? Not my call to make. If e felt the drawings were necessary to illustrate the heart of what e was feeling in the situation described, then e was right in doing what felt best and showing visually what happened.

That's enough of that. My opinion of the book itself, outside of the whole political thing, was that it was very good and quite compelling. I think it could be a big boon for young (or older!) non-cis people who don't often see their own questions and concerns represented in literature. The author didn't differentiate between bisexuality and biromanticism, which I thought would have been an interesting road to explore; surely, if e came across autoandrophilia, e had to have come across the differences between sexual and romantic orientations and made eir own assessment of that, but that's just me being curious.
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LibraryThing member ewyatt
Maia explores er identity from early life through young adulthood. I wanted to read this book after hearing about all the challenges to the book. A heartfelt exploration of the author trying to figure out and define gender, pronouns and sexuality. Presented in a straightforward, heartfelt, and a
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critically reflective presentation of life experiences. Impactful, insightful.
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LibraryThing member CaseyAdamsStark
I read this book a few months back, and forgot to add it to my list of read books. My apologies. And let's be clear, I am not the audience for the book, being a cisgender woman, so why, you say, would I check out this book?

Because of Twitter. Because I'm not a fan of banning books, and this title
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became a topic of debate between myself and some tweet-troll who labeled the book as disgusting pornography. So I decided to check the book out--like most people should before disparaging a book for its content.

I'm glad I did. This is not a book about disgusting porn, or "men having sex with boys," as the tweet-troll tried to convince me. It's an honest memoir about a person who grew up with a lot of questions. The book is honest about those questions. The author exposes their soul.

Does it present answers for our youth about the topic in question? Not entirely, but that's not what the book is about. The book is about struggling with identity through your young years, and it gives readers the satisfaction of knowing that they are not alone, that the questions they have, the awkwardness they feel, is a normal thing. The book opens the door for potentially meaningful discussion, if you find your kids wanting to read it. That's only a bad thing for parents who don't want to be part of the conversation, in my opinion.
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LibraryThing member Bodagirl
Kobabe's memoir is so blindingly insightful that it is no wonder conservative parents are trying to ban it. Eir story of discovering eir queer identity resonated with me, as a not very sexual person who reads erotica, and for the sections that I didn't personally connect with, eir explanation of
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how e felt couldn't have been more clear. The medium of comics helped with the clarity and a few of the panels (i.e., first pap smear) are stuck in my brain.

I appreciated the inclusion of eir family's different reactions to an identity that is pushing against the norms even more so than transgender identities seem to. The final few panels, when e was teaching children about comics and realizing e could be that representation for the next generation was so powerful - it was a bit of a meta moment holding the book that could possibly spread that representation farther than eir individual classrooms. (Hopefully I used the Spivak pronouns correctly).
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LibraryThing member amyghilton
Every adult should read this book. Especially adults that do not understand people in the transgender community.

This book answered so many questions for me. It is a memoir of someone who struggled for so long with their identity, but more than that, it helps other people see into their brain and
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helps them understand what they're going through.
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LibraryThing member Vanessa_Menezes
Such an amazing memoir. It was so raw and honest. And the artwork is so good that it makes it even more enjoyable.
LibraryThing member LibroLindsay
That was so, so good.
LibraryThing member bookczuk
When I read that the governor of my former state was in a lather over what he calls an “obscene and pornographic” graphic novel, about one person’s journey to identifying as asexual and non-binary, I got the book in support of the author, both to help broaden my knowledge on the subject and
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to object to book banning. I’m really glad I did because the authors thoughtful and honest relating of their journey is a gift to the reader and to those who trying to learn about sexuality beyond she/he. (And also because I read banned books, and disagree strongly with my former state’s governor.)
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LibraryThing member alexyskwan
Thought this is a great book that explains a lot to young people feeling similar. No idea why the right-wingers are such *ssholes about it.
LibraryThing member ennuiprayer
I picked this book up because I know it keeps Governor Abbott up at night, weeping into his pillow. Despite all that, I'm glad I did. This memoir in comic has helped me understand a subject I'm only vaguely familiar with. It's a must read for parents and definitely a book for youths struggling to
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find their place in the world.
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LibraryThing member senbei
Though Gender Queer: A Memoir is emotionally gripping, Kobabe balances eir story with fun and engaging anecdotes and gorgeous landscapes. Maia's memoir is a must read for anyone who's ever wondered what it means to be genderqueer, as well as for those questioning their gender identity or
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expression. Eir story differs greatly from my own experience and i was gratified to gain insight into growing up genderqueer in bohemian Northern California.
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LibraryThing member jennybeast
This is a great book — Maia’s personality is very appealing and eir willingness to be honest in public and on vulnerable topics is inspiring. I feel like it helped me to better understand what other people might be going through on their identity journey. Loved the drawing and storytelling as
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LibraryThing member bumblybee
Gender Queer is a graphic novel memoir about the author's journey through gender. Following Kobabe's growth to adulthood and beyond, the story is told primarily in small moments that make a big impact. The art style, lettering, and coloring are all wonderful and make it feel like you're getting a
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glimpse into someone's private journal about their experiences. Kobabe does not flinch to tell eir truth, and as a result this graphic novel has and will no doubt continue to be important to others who have similar experiences. Regardless of one's gender identity, though, there are plenty of moments to make the reader laugh, cry, and feel throughout.

Thank you to Oni Press and NetGalley for providing a copy for review.
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LibraryThing member tapestry100
Happy #pridemonth, y’all! I’m starting off my month long queer reading celebration with Maia Kobabe’s GENDER QUEER, from @onipress. In this intimate graphic memoir, Kobabe illustrates eir struggles, both personally and societally, with coming to terms with being both nonbinary and asexual.
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Kobabe is very frank in eir depiction of what ey went through during eir journey, and I greatly appreciated this frankness. As someone who struggles with their own gender identity, I found this book both enlightening and cathartic. It helps to know that I’m not alone in these struggles.

Unfortunately, GENDER QUEER has come under fire from multiple conservative fronts recently, with some government officials in Virginia going so far as to not only trying to ban it from schools and libraries, but to make it illegal for bookstores to sell the book, and to make it illegal for residents to even own the book. Why? Because this book speaks openly and beautifully about the possibility of being different from the “norm” and showing that the gender binary is an absurd notion. It’s frightening to me to see this level of hatred for those of us who are different, which makes it even more important for us to raise up books like this and pioneers like Maia Kobabe, so that our younger generations of queers know that they are not alone and that they have a place in this world.

Absolutely recommended.

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LibraryThing member DarthDeverell
In Maia Kobabe’s Gender Queer: A Memoir, e describes eir experiences as a nonbinary teen and young adult discovering eir identity and the struggles that accompanied that discovery in the early 2000s. At the heart of eir work is a desire to aid those going through the same experiences as e did in
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their teens, both as an example of a nonbinary adult but also by introducing and explaining some of the topics e had to learn for emself. As e writes, e would want to help support a growing person with the same feelings about gender by believing them and asking if they wanted to do some level of social transition (pg. 185). E also discuss how diminishing emself to make others comfortable causes pain, which will hopefully encourage future readers to assert their identity just as Kobabe describes trying to do more often. Eir art works perfectly with the seriousness of the text, helping to convey everything from daily experiences through big, metaphorical concepts. Kobabe’s Gender Queer is an excellent memoir in the tradition of books like Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic, but where Bechdel writes for an adult audience, Kobabe conveys eir experiences in a more accessible style for readers just discovering their gender identity.

This deluxe edition features an introduction by ND Stevenson, an afterword from Kobabe, and some pages from Kobabe’s notebook, sketchbook, penciled pages, and inked pages to show eir creative process. In their introduction, Stevenson writes, “Seeing yourself in the world, knowing that you’re not alone, that you could actually have a future as yourself – it’s lifesaving. My parents worked hard to make sure I couldn’t find those positive portrayals. But that censorship didn’t make me not queer… I can only imagine what it would have meant to find Gender Queer on the shelf as a child on one of those secret solo missions to the library. I can see my nine-year-old self obsessively poring over each page and realizing, I’m not broken. I’m not wrong. I’m not alone” (pg. 4). In eir afterword, Kobabe focuses on the positive reception to the book’s first printing, how it empowered people to open up to others and be themselves. The inclusion of notes and sketches from eir creative process feels like further encouragement following eir suggestion to readers to write their own memoirs.
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LibraryThing member KamGeb
I read this book solely because I heard that it was the most banned books in American schools. It was well written and a fast read. I didn't give it a 5 basically because I am not that interested in the subject.


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Physical description

240 p.; 8.25 inches


1549304003 / 9781549304002
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