I'm currently behind on reviews, so don't be surprised if the recent reviews are a bit sparse.

Gender Euphoria

Cover of Gender Euphoria.

Gender Euphoria does some things very well, but felt generally underwhelming. Let me explain: I was happy to see a collection of essays on this theme, because from what I can see, especially younger parts of trans* communities often focus on the downsides and suffering of being trans. Entirely understandable, of course, but it’s all the more important to talk about the flip side. The direction and presence of this book is both welcome and refreshing.

In some ways, the book also does diversity well: Trans men are represented to a surprising degree, given their frequent absence in other publications. Parenting and pregnancy, autism, gay and lesbian relationships, de- and retransitioning, non-binary and intersex experiences, body hair, haircuts, tattoos and clothes (from bridesmaid dresses to wedding suits to all the things punk), and of course sex and kink.

No one book can do all possible ways of diversity justice, of course. For example, people from outside the UK/US/Australia are only represented in two essays, from Brazil and Sri Lanka, which, I think, is perfectly. fine. What’s less fine is that a whopping eleven out of twenty-nine essays are by the editor, Laura Kate Dale, plus one by her wife. Considering that “every author hand-picked to contribute an essay to this anthology was selected above hundreds of other writers”, it would have been a much better idea to give more voice to other experiences โ€“ especially since I found the editor’s essays some of the least interesting in the book.

YMMV on that part, of course, but editing an anthology is different from padding your essay collection with some other authors. There were, after all, so many degrees of diversity left: I’d have loved to see more authors from different countries, or different ages (I think the oldest author was around 40), different class backgrounds and jobs (transitioning must be different in a construction crew compared to a C-level executive), or as an athlete, and so on.