Tag: gender

Trans teen given two funerals because parents fought over his gender

funeral image two people in mourning

An Australian trans teenager, who is unnamed for legal reasons, was given two funerals after his parents failed to agree on his funeral arrangements, including which name to put on their son’s headstone. (Envato Elements)

A 15-year-old who tragically died by suicide has been given two separate funerals after his parents argued over his gender in court.

The Perth schoolboy – who cannot be named for legal reasons – died on 4 March in hospital, days after attempting to take his life, Perth Now reported. After his death, the teen’s estranged parents went to the Family Court of Western Australia after they failed to agree on his funeral arrangements, including which name to put on their son’s headstone.

The boy’s father reportedly wanted his son’s deadname – the name assigned to the teen before he came out as trans – on his headstone. But his mother said she wanted to use the name her son chose when he came out as transgender.

The boy’s mother told the West Australian that her son “would hate” to be deadnamed at his memorial. She said: “[His father] wanted all the ashes [interred together] and [his son’s birth name] on the plaque.

“I would agree to have [the birth name] in brackets but his [chosen name] first.”

Eventually, the parents agreed to split their son’s ashes and put both names on any memorial plaques. However, the 15-year-old’s deadname will appear on his death certificate because, before his death, he was unable to legally change it on his birth certificate.

Western Australian laws do not allow minors under the age of 18 to change their name without both parents’ consent. If one parent consents and the other doesn’t, the matter is remanded to the Family Court.

Perth Now reported that the teen’s mother held her service for her son by the Swan River, and “hundreds of people” turned up to pay their respects. Family and friends of the teenager remembered him as a “good and caring friend who always listened” and an “amazing artist who was great at drawing, painting and makeup”, the West Australian reported.

A colorful Wisconsin wedding filled with love and gender inclusivity

A colorful Wisconsin wedding filled with love and gender inclusivity

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QUIZ: Which Inanimate Object Is Actually Your Gender?

QUIZ: Which Inanimate Object Is Actually Your Gender?


Gender is more than identity words and pronouns — it’s objects! More specifically, gender is a series of exactly seven extremely niche inanimate objects. You probably didn’t learn this in your Gender Studies class, and that’s because I made it up. Answer these questions to determine, once and for all, which object best fits your vibe.



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Ro White

Ro White is a Chicago-based writer and sex educator. Follow Ro on Twitter.

Ro has written 49 articles for us.

Scenes from a Gender 04: Stories of Trans Love

Scenes from a Gender 04: Stories of Trans Love

These scenes are written submissions from our staff and Autostraddle readers, illustrated by trans artist Bishakh Som. You can read more Scenes from a Gender here.

Two humans cuddle on a couch while a cat sits with them.

Submission from reader Felix Grego.

My name is Felix. My wife’s name is Leo. We met through mutual friends before the pandemic. By May 2020, everything felt uncertain except our love. Leo was working with the public, but with no health care. I work for a company that pays for my health care. We decided to get married that month to share my benefits.

The local county clerk’s office offered exceptions to help keep weddings small—the wedding just needed one adult to officiate and two witnesses. My queer neighbor officiated, and our two friends witnessed. The ceremony took place in our apartment building’s parking lot. We now felt ready for anything, including my upcoming top surgery.

After months of delays, I was finally getting the mastectomy I had dreamed about for years. Leo and I were nervous about the added stress of her taking care of me on top of working with the public in a pandemic. We found that the setting created tender moments. Soft touches, loving looks, and the feeling of safety around each other sparked an even deeper love.

I’ve since healed from my surgery and now pounce on any opportunity to take care of her.

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I thought I would be unlovable if I transitioned. I thought that I wouldn’t be able to fit in with lesbians. I thought I wouldn’t be attractive to anyone. I tried to convince myself that I was unlovable.

But this experience has taught me that everyone is worthy of love.

Two people lay on a bed nude, with one person lying on top of the other. They are looking into each other's eyes.

Submission from reader Lana Pham.

I met Niko on Grindr. I had gone out with and spoken to other trans guys before, but had never been intimate with any until him. Many I knew or had encountered were either stuck in toxic masculinity or simply incompatible with me. I’m a slight narcissist, so I prefer guys similar to me — quiet, soft, playful, and mischievous. Niko met those requirements, and he was beautiful too.

I wasn’t nervous my first time with Niko and just hoped my cis-dick sucking skills translated well. In the dim light of my room, I could feel his packer underneath rough denim. I was lost in his soft kisses.

He suddenly undressed before me. And when I reached down again, his packer was gone. My hand instead met his wet excitement. After briefly rubbing each other, Niko directed his attention to my breasts with his mouth. He was gentle but firm, then slowly trailed his way down to taste more of me. He enveloped me fully, and I grew harder with every movement. I didn’t want him to stop, but I was excited to return the favor. After fumbling on my own, I directed Niko to sit on my face and take control. He forced my tongue between his lips. When he was finished, the makeup around my mouth had smeared off. I was erect, and he pulled me over to lie on top of him. I felt the full heat of his body as we continued kissing. With a simple shift, I slipped inside him.

I felt tense for a moment, but focused on the pleasure of our bodies instead. Internalized transphobia conditioned me to associate Niko’s parts with femininity, and after sex, I was left to ponder the hypocrisy in that. I was a trans woman who had spent years searching for self-love and sexual enjoyment despite the limitations of a cisgender world. I had allowed myself to remain confined instead of looking beyond what I had been taught. With Niko, I was experiencing my body without any scripts leading me. Enjoying each other’s bodies was the only guide. With most cis men, I have to align myself with cis women to accommodate their understanding of me. My efforts in doing so end up getting in the way of my own satisfaction. I didn’t have to perform with Niko. My body could just be. He was still masculine, and I was still feminine, regardless of what our bodies were doing. Niko widened my imagination to the possibilities of sexual intimacy. And unexpectedly, I was a little more healed.

A masculine person sits in a chair as another masculine person stands over them, shaving their hair. The two are reflected in the mirror.

Anonymous submission.

He told me that he decided to become a barber when he got kicked out of a barbershop at a young age. The shop wouldn’t serve someone they saw as a girl or queer. After that, he knew he wanted to make a safe space for trans and queer people. He’s about 20 years older than me, so he’s as much a mentor as he is a friend. Even after all the years of transphobia and marginalization he’s experienced, he wears his identity with pride and lifts other trans people up too.

I feel so much safer in his chair than with the cis guy I used to go to. He has never made me feel bad about being anxious around being touched. (I get a little shaky sometimes.) I know I can trust him enough to relax. He approaches me with sincere care and warmth, and an almost paternal sense of affection. He always makes sure to tuck an extra towel into the back of my shirt so the little hairs don’t get into my binder, because he knows from experience that it’ll drive a person crazy. He fist bumps me sometimes which is silly but also somehow very validating? I couldn’t explain why, but it’s good stuff. He always uses my pronouns right and compliments me with masculine terms, which no one else ever does. I leave the shop with the biggest grin on my face, and it sticks for hours.

The conversation flows so easily. I appreciate having someone who just gets it and let’s me gripe about getting deadnamed at the doctor’s office, or chased out of a public restroom. He’s someone who will celebrate the progress of my transition with me. The solidarity is life-saving. It’s wild because the town I live in is pretty traditional and conservative, and somehow I’ve managed to find this amazing little refuge.

It’s so rare that I feel completely understood and valued, and I feel like only another trans person is truly capable of that.

Three people hold hands against a shining, sparkly background.

Submission from contributor Adrian White.

When the three of us are together, the air fills with magic. Wynn, Lysi and I are all non-binary, but we relate to our genders in very different ways. These differences are part of what made it possible for us to love each other so well through our transitions—a name change for me, HRT for Lysi, difficulty coming out at work for Wynn, pronouns and top surgery for all of us. We asked each other good questions, gave each other needed time and space, and gently pushed each other when we were scared.

Our trans love story is one of friendship, partnership, and family. Wynn and I are married, and Lysi is very much our chosen fam. The three of us feel like our own little organism, and each pair has its own independent dynamic, too. Though Wynn and I moved to Nashville from Dallas, we still find ways to be present for each other and continue to support each other through the lifelong journey of transition. Because of them, no matter what happens in this transphobic world, I can keep trans joy at the center.

A few months into the pandemic, Lysi drove through Nashville to visit family in Ohio, as their grandfather was in failing health. It had been months since I had looked forward to anything, and hugging them in the parking lot, masks covering our smiles, felt like coming home. We went to the patio area in our apartment complex and Wynn grilled bratwursts and vegetables. There was an ease of being together, in a time when absolutely nothing felt easy. Wynn and I have good friends in Nashville, but it’s different to spend time in physical space with someone who truly knows you. We covered a lot of conversational territory, but I couldn’t tell you specifics. I just remember feeling settled in my body and a deep sense of the way the three of us belong to each other and the joy of sharing a meal with another human being in the sunshine. As the pandemic continually draws me toward despair, I remember that evening and know that soon enough we’ll be together again.

Nonbinary, Gender Creative Children Summon Courage in New Picture Books

Nonbinary, Gender Creative Children Summon Courage in New Picture Books

Two new picture books, including one in English and Spanish, show nonbinary and gender creative children being proud and confident even as they face bias. This post is also my contribution to Multicultural Children’s Book Day today! #ReadYourWorld

Toby Wears a Tutu

Toby Wears a Tutu, by Lori Starling and illustrated by Anita DuFalia (Brandylane), is told from the first-person perspective of the titular character, a young, Black child who is ready for the first day of school with a “freshly shaved head, purple glasses, button-down blouse, dapper blue bow tie, and frilly pink tutu.” Toby confidently asserts, “The world is mine to discover.” In class, Toby sits with a group of diverse children and their Black, male teacher (which hearkens back, intentionally or not, to the 1979 picture book about a gender creative boy, Jesse’s Dream Skirt, and the supportive Black, male teacher there). All is well until recess time, when a boy tells Toby not to play kickball because it’s only for boys. Another child asks, “Wait, what are you?” while others giggle and laugh as they variously identify him as a boy or a girl. “Confused” and “nervous” from the questions, Toby goes off to sit alone.

At home, Toby and Toby’s mother (who reads as White) talk. She “lets me be my own person” and offers the reminder that some people will think “boy” and “girl” labels are important, but they don’t really matter. Toby also relates her advice that “it’s important that I talk to my friends about my thoughts and feelings. If I need to, Mom tells me, I can always talk with them in front of an adult I trust, like her or my teacher.” The slight pedantry is offset by Toby’s first-person narration, which makes this feel a little less like an adult lecture.

They decorate cookies together and Toby’s mother advises Toby to grab the courage to speak with friends just like grabbing the bag of icing, and to “put love and kindness into your words.” Toby promises “to always grab hold of my courage and speak words of love about myself,” which feels like a bit of a cognitive leap for a young child. On the surface, the mother was talking about speaking to others with love and kindness; for Toby to take away the message about loving oneself feels like an unbelievable amount of self-awareness. While this passage doesn’t quite ring true, though, the sentiment about loving oneself is certainly an important one.

The next day at school, the children again confront Toby, asking “What are you?” Toby summons courage and says, “I’m Toby,” and then proceeds to share the things that Toby likes to eat, wear, do, and be. Toby tells them “Sometimes I feel like a boy” and sometimes a girl; most days, though, Toby is somewhere in between. Another child asks, “So… you’re just a Toby?” Toby nods, and gets invited to go play kickball. “It’s amazing to just be a me,” Toby concludes.

There are now a number of picture books about nonbinary or gender creative children being teased or told they can’t do certain things at school. While the storyline here is very similar in particular to that of Sarah Savage’s Are You a Boy or Are You a Girl?, the bullying children are harsher in Savage’s book. Adults not wanting to scare young children might prefer Toby—though Toby still gets teased and laughed at. Those seeking a book about gender creative and nonbinary identities that doesn’t include teasing or bullying might want to try Laurin Mayeno’s One of a Kind, Like Me/ Único Como Yo (where some kids are initially surprised by the protagonist’s gender creativity, but don’t tease), or Elana K. Arnold’s What Riley Wore (where there is no teasing or questioning whatsoever).

At the same time, Savage’s book is a little clearer in affirming that there are no such things as “boy” activities and “girl” activities. Other books that also handle this point well are Afsaneh Moradian’s Jamie Is Jamie and Deborah Underwood’s Ogilvy, where it’s clearer that the nonbinary protagonist has caused the other kids to rethink their gender stereotypes. In Toby, while “all” the kids go play kickball at the end and we see at least one girl in the illustration, it’s unclear what motivated the boys not only to let the nonbinary Toby, but also the girls, play what they’d previously seen as a “boy” thing. Adults may want to bring that up as a point of discussion.

Toby’s self-confidence is inspiring, though, reminding me of the similarly confident protagonists in What Riley Wore (nonbinary) and Dazzling Travis (gender creative boy). While Toby doesn’t step too far from the storylines in many of these other books, it nevertheless holds its own with them. Readers’ preferences may depend on whether they are dealing with real children whose identities or situations are closer to one particular book.

Pepito Has a Doll/Pepito Tiene una Muñeca

Pepito Has a Doll/Pepito Tiene una Muñeca, by Jesús Canchola Sánchez and illustrated by Armando Minjárez Monárrez (BookBaby), is the bilingual story of a boy who takes his favorite doll to school with him every day, but hides her in his backpack so that no one will know. In his case, his family is cautious; he asks his grandmother, “Abuela, why do I have to hide Lola at school?” and she responds, “We have to be careful. Someone can make fun of you or hurt you. If someone does something to you, tell me. I will always protect you.”

At night, the shy Pepito prays that nothing happens to Lola or his abuela and that he finds a friend at school. One day, a new boy, Miguel, arrives at school and the two become friends (or “amigos” even in the English portion of the text, which sprinkles in Spanish words that are easily understood from the context, illustrations, or glossary). Miguel likes Lola, too. Soon we see the boys walking hand-in-hand to school together. When Lola falls out of Pepito’s backpack one day, however, the other kids tease him and call him a “girl.” Pepito cries as Miguel defends him by holding out his hand in a “stop” gesture. Pepito then finds the courage to speak up about how much he loves Lola “and there’s nothing wrong with that.” The other kids leave. Thankful to his friend, Pepito gives Miguel a “besito” (kiss) on the cheek—and then three more.

“Today, Pepito feels the same freedom at school that he does at home. He is fearless,” the book tells us, and then offers a final page reminding us that some boys play with dolls, some girls climb trees, and some do both. “It’s so wonderful to be a child and play freely,” it concludes. I’d add that it’s also wonderful to have a supportive friend or significant other, as Pepito does.

This #OwnVoices book is also one of few LGBTQ-inclusive children’s books that shows the protagonist as a person of faith. Several times we see Pepito praying at his bed; in one image, we see a cross on the wall above it. Those seeking such representation should welcome it here.

Again, though, Pepito is yet another book about a gender creative or nonbinary child in which the child is teased. Such books have their place, especially in settings where such teasing has occurred, but I’m still hoping the future brings us more stories about gender creative and nonbinary children in which their gender is not a focus of the plot.

Board Book with Same-Sex Parents, Gender Creative Kids, and Pregnant Trans Man Wins Prestigious Stonewall Book Award

Stonewall Book Award Winners for LGBTQ Kids’ and Young Adult

The American Library Association (ALA) today announced its 2021 Stonewall Book Awards for LGBTQ-inclusive children’s and young adult books, part of the Youth Media Awards that also include the prestigious Newbery and Caldecott Medals. The winner was a board book that includes not only same-sex parents, but also gender creative kids and a pregnant transgender man.

We Are Little Feminists: Families

The Stonewall Book Awards — Mike Morgan & Larry Romans Children’s & Young Adult Literature Award (to distinguish them from the Stonewall Book Awards for adult books) are chosen by a committee of the ALA’s Rainbow Round Table, “the oldest professional association for LGBTQIA+ people in the United States.” This year’s winner is:

  • We Are Little Feminists: Families, by Archaa Shrivastav (Little Feminist), a board book that uses simply rhymes to celebrate many types of families as it shows photos of real families around the world engaged in everyday activities. While other books may have similar themes, this one is notable for the photos of actual families and the broad LGBTQ inclusion. Several of the families include two moms and two dads; there are also children who seem nonbinary or gender creative, and one image of a transgender man who is pregnant. (Readers may recognize him as trans advocate Trystan Reese, who posts about his family on Instagram at @biffandi.) Some images are below; note the publisher has not made the one with Reese available to the media, but it’s very similar to this one on his Instagram. This is truly a joyous book that belongs in any library or bookshelf for young children.

Four honor books were also selected:

  • Beetle & The Hollowbones, written and illustrated by Aliza Layne (Atheneum Books for Young Readers): In this middle grade graphic novel, 12-year-old goblin-witch Beetle, who lives in the eerie town of ‘Allows, fits in neither as a sorceress nor as a ghost whose spirit is trapped in the mall, like her nonbinary best friend Blob Ghost. When Beetle’s old best friend, Kat Hollowbone, returns to town for a sorcery apprenticeship with her Aunt Hollowbone, Beetle is reminded of her inadequacy. Yet plans are afoot that endanger Blob Ghost and force Beetle to act, confronting her fears and her feelings for Kat. A fun and clever story that is surprisingly human despite the fantastical characters.
  • You Should See Me in a Crown, by Leah Johnson (Scholastic): In this middle grade novel, Liz Lighty is a Black, nerdy, poor, wallflower, which sets her apart in her small, rich, Midwestern town. But when a scholarship to an elite college falls through, she unexpectedly finds herself in the social spotlight, running for prom queen and the prize money that brings. As if that’s not hard enough, she may also be falling for one of her competitors. Full review.
  • Darius the Great Deserves Better, by Adib Khorram (Dial Books): This sequel to Khorram’s young adult novel Darius the Great Is Not Okay, continues the story of Darius, an out gay Iranian American teen navigating romantic relationships and family as well as bullying, racism, and his family’s financial struggles. He also has queer grandmothers.
  • Felix Ever After, by Kacen Callender (Balzer + Bray): A young adult novel about a Black, transgender teen whose plan to foil transphobic harassment lands him in an unexpected love triangle—but also leads him to redefine how he feels about himself.

In addition to the above, Welcoming Elijah: A Passover Tale with a Tail, by Lesléa Newman and illustrated by Susan Gal (Charlesbridge) won the Sydney Taylor Book Award, presented annually to “outstanding books for children and teens that authentically portray the Jewish experience.” While the LGBTQ content is slight (one pair of visiting relatives to the Passover seder is a two-dad couple), I’m still going to mention it. Newman, author of Heather Has Two Mommies and many other LGBTQ-inclusive works, arguably brought LGBTQ picture books into mainstream awareness, so I’m happy to celebrate any recognition of her work. Full review.

And queer mom Jacqueline Woodson won the Coretta Scott King (Author) Book Award for her middle grade novel Before the Ever After (Nancy Paulsen Books) about a 12-year-old whose father, a retired football player, is grappling with traumatic brain injury.

The full list of ALA Youth Media Award winners is here.

Congratulations to them all!


(As an Amazon Associate and as a Bookshop Affiliate I earn from qualifying purchases.)

Into the A+ Advice Box #25: How Do You Explore Your Gender When Privacy Is Scarce?

Into the A+ Advice Box #25: How Do You Explore


Welcome to the 25th edition of Into the A+ Advice Box, in which we answer all the queer and lesbian advice questions from A+ members who submitted their queries into our A+ ask box because they wanted their questions answered in a space that is not accessible by Google, their mom, their ex, etc. (No guarantees regarding your ex, however.) Previously, we have included such questions in our epic Some Answers to Some Questions You Have Been Asking Us, and in most cases that is still the plan. But some questions were a lot longer or more in-depth and deserved their own place in the sun. We’re doing this column TWICE a month, now.

We solicited answers from the whole team, so let’s dive in!

Q1:
I feel really weird after a transabdominal ultrasound? Everything I see on the internet is about pain, but it didn’t hurt, it was just neutral, somewhere between a pap smear and my gf putting her fingers in me (which is also…neutral–it doesn’t make me feel bad or anything when she does, …

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Where do A+ Member dollars go? When you pay for A+, your money becomes GAY and goes toward paying the LGBTQ humans who make Autostraddle possible. Your membership supports the kind, loving, hilarious, radical and challenging work you’re here for. Besides that, sometimes we need to mail things and pay for our server and tech support and get some pens and stuff. ABOVE ALL, A+ Members help sustain Autostraddle and our future. Plus, A+ members get a direct line to the team, their advice questions answered anonymously, hot perks and their names enshrined in our gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer hearts forever.

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Cartoon Network and National Black Justice Coalition Launch Comic Strip Celebrating Gender Diversity

Cartoon Network and National Black Justice Coalition Launch Comic Strip

The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) and Cartoon Network have launched a cheery new comic starring Cartoon Network characters that highlights the power and importance of respecting gender identity through the use of pronouns.

NBJC - Cartoon Network Gender Identity Comic

The comic, part of NBJC and Cartoon Network’s ongoing collaboration, was designed by members of the NBJC Youth and Young Adult Action Council (YYAAC) with artist Steven Lowe (@steeeeevn), a team of talented creators from Cartoon Network Studios, and leadership from NBJC’s director of education programs and research, Dr. Kia Darling-Hammond.

“At the heart of our work at NBJC is affirmation of the dignity and beauty of our Black transgender, gender nonconforming, nonbinary and other gender-expansive siblings,” said Darling-Hammond. “This comic strip advances our goals by showing what it looks like to treat people with respect, while finding a sense of common humanity. Our hope is that this strip’s audience, of all ages and backgrounds, will feel inspired to begin volunteering their own gender pronouns, respect those of others, and normalize awareness of the existence of people across the gender universe. We believe that recognizing and celebrating gender expansiveness will move us closer to a world where we can all be healthy, happy, and whole.”

NBJC’s YYAAC member Tyler Miles adds that “Part of the excitement of this project is that we are engaging a topic that young people almost always have experience with, but don’t often have the space to discuss. Whether these youth identify as transgender, gender nonconforming, cis, or the multitude of identities therein, this comic is a radical act of trust and care to reach all youth who are beginning to, or have already, thought critically about gender. They are heard, they are seen, they are accepted, and they are loved.”

The comic stars feature characters Craig (Craig of the Creek)Chloe (We Bare Bears), and Stevonnie (Steven Universe) as they meet new friends Kam and Alex while learning about gender, respect, and belonging. Learn more and read the entire four-panel comic at the NBJC website.

Imagination and Community in Two New Picture Books with Nonbinary and Gender Creative Characters

Imagination and Community in Two New Picture Books with Nonbinary

Two new picture books show us nonbinary and gender creative kids having imaginative adventures in their fun, welcoming, queer, and sometimes magical communities.

Imagination and Community in Two New Picture Books with Nonbinary and Gender Creative Characters Creative fun! Posted on October 26, 2020 Two new picture books show us nonbinary and gender creative kids having adventures in their fun, welcoming, queer and sometimes magical communities. Hooray, What a Day - A More Graceful Shaboom A More Graceful Shaboom - Jacinta Bunnell

A More Graceful Shaboom, written by Jacinta Bunnell and illustrated by Crystal Vielula (PM Press), is a surreal romp of a book that follows Harmon Jitney, a nonbinary child with “an extravagant collection of belongings” that they find hard to keep organized. They decide a purse is the answer, but their two mothers and sister are too busy with their own projects to help. Mama Millie Mapletush, for example, is “building an XJ-6350 Millennium Bipedal Astro Welding Robot from scratch,” whose components include a dishwasher and a movie theater popcorn machine.

Finally, a gender creative neighbor says he has a collection of purses, though he can’t quite remember where he put them. He and Harmon look behind a series of doors that reveal things as varied as a giant Muffin Monster, polar ice caps, and 66,500 Brussels sprouts. Ultimately, they find the purses. Harmon selects the purse of their dreams and proceeds to collect all of their treasured things into it, from belongings to friends, town, and, well, the entire universe. The magical ending is a celebration of community and love.

There’s an inspired silliness about the whole tale. It’s unclear exactly what age group the book is targeting, though, as the wordiness and level of vocabulary seem geared far above the usual picture-book range. Not that I’m against books that stretch young readers in this regard; adults should just be aware that they may need to do some explaining as they read through the book with kids, as least the first few times. What I appreciate most about it, though, is that the book isn’t “about” gender or identity, but rather about gender diverse characters simply having joyous adventures. We need more books like this.

Hooray, What a Day - Molly Allis

Another new book that takes a similar joyous approach is Hooray, What A Day!/¡Viva, Qué Día! by Molly Allis, available through Allis’ website. The bilingual book is an extension of All Together Now, an animated kids’ show that Allis is creating. The show stars a child named Frankie, described as gender non-conforming in the show notes, who uses “they” pronouns and lives with their grandma. Frankie’s best friend is Jesse, who lives with his two dads and uses male pronouns, but likes to wear skirts, jewelry, and sometimes makeup. The book takes us on a day-long adventure as the two friends explore their queer and colorful community. They go to a parade, visit the community garden, stop at the cafe owned by one of Jesse’s dads, and make zines at the local bookstore.

Queerness is everywhere—Grandma makes rainbow pancakes and has Indigo Girls and ACT UP posters in her kitchen; we see rainbow and trans flags in the community; and several characters at the parade are clearly gender creative. More general progressive messages are also strewn throughout: one character wears a “Black Lives Matter” shirt; the parade marchers carry signs saying, “Otro Mundo Es Posible,” and “Be the Change.” At the end of the day, after storytime with Grandma, Frankie reflects on how happy they are to have spent the day in their community with friends and chosen family.

Hooray, What A Day!/¡Viva, Qué Día! doesn’t have the fantastical tone of A More Graceful Shaboom, but Allis’ multi-colored people and richly detailed backgrounds are equally imaginative and fun. Potential readers should know, though, that while queerness abounds in the community, Frankie and Jesse’s identities aren’t clear from the book alone, but only from the show notes on Allis’ website. We don’t learn that Frankie uses “they”; we might assume from the illustrations that Jesse is a cisgender, gender conforming girl; we meet one of Jesse’s dads, but never know he has two. It’s true that the story isn’t “about” Frankie and Jesse’s gender or family structure, and as I’ve explained, we need more stories like that. But is the lack of clarity about their identities a missed opportunity for queer representation or a chance for readers to assume identities for them that the readers can relate to, no matter what the author intended? I leave that to your interpretation. (Now that you’ve read this post, of course, you can inform young readers of the author’s intended identities for the characters as you see fit.)

Regardless, the community that Allis depicts is clearly full of other, if minor, characters who are more obviously queer, and it’s packed full of queer iconography. Frankie and Jesse are at ease with it all, so even if their identities are here unknown, this remains an empowering, queer-inclusive book that will brighten any bookshelf. Let’s hope there are more books (along with the still-pending show) about the diverse people of this cheery and inclusive world.


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Sunday Funday Will Not Be Throwing a Gender Reveal for Miss Major’s Baby!

Sunday Funday Will Not Be Throwing a Gender Reveal for

Happy Sunday friends! This week I watched too much Grey’s Anatomy and fucked up my challah watching Izzie be Izzie. I also made my first ever actual sourdough loaf (she’s perfect), went to my first Selichot service, and stress bought eight fancy candles. Just an average week during a global pandemic. I made apple sauce, raspberry jam, and strawberry jam because for two perfect days, it was 68º in Austin, TX. In September! I’m starting to think the universe is not conspiring against me!

I’m gonna ride this high and focus on good news!


+ Are you still keeping up your sourdough starter? Gail (my starter) is doing well, and I hate throwing away her daughters, so here’s a recipe for strawberry and pecan scones to use up your sourdough daughters.

+ These queer women are making space for themselves in ballet.

+ Lucy Worsley is a straight white lady in the UK who stays in her lane and makes really cute documentaries about historic things. Fall in love with her newest one while you’re pretending time still matters.

+ Wynne Nowland came out as trans and it “stirred surprise, support and new challenges at the company she runs”

+ 19 Black families bought almost 100 acres of land in Georgia to create a safe space for Black families.

+ Miss Major and Beck are having a baby, and they will not be revealing the baby’s sex! Hooray and Hallelujah indeed!!

+ Sohla El-Waylly cooks three recipes that define her life.

+ San Jose’s Post Street is the city’s first LGBTQ+ district.

+ The Transgender First National Scholarship is the first of its kind for trans students.

+ A snake laid 7 eggs, even though she hasn’t been around a male snake in years. Good for her! Also, isn’t this the plot of Jurassic Park???

+ The film Tahara puts a Black queer Jewish teen at the center of it while she navigates her grief. 

+ Inside Lena Waithe and Rishi Rajani’s Los Angeles office with Architectural Digest


And that, my friends, is all the good news fit to print. I’m off to go pay too much money to have a doctor look at my arm, which I lost 180º of motion in over a month ago. I love the medical industrial complex! Then tonight I’m gonna put on a robe and Auntie it out to the Gladys Knight and Patti Labelle Verzuz battle, then watch a Brandi Carlile concert, and convince my girlfriend to watch Cabaret with me.

This week will be good. I will be happy. I will be provided for. I will take care of my community, and they will take care of me. We got this! Have an amazing week, I love you, I’ll see you soon.

Ari

Ari is a 20-something artist and educator. They are a mom to two cats, they love domesticity, ritual, and porch time. They have studied, loved, and learned in CT, Greensboro, NC, and ATX.

Ari has written 320 articles for us.