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The Gender Book

Daniel Riding reviews a new book all about gender identity

It's a shared opinion that the world is in constant need of education in regards to gender, sexual identity and the idea of ‘labels’ that are only really there to make it easier for the ones who find comprehension of LGBT issues difficult. This isn’t entirely the fault of the individuals in question; there isn’t really a lot of reading material or educational content on encouraging a more positive understanding of the LGBT community.

There still seems to be confusion as to why LGBT teen suicide is at an all time high. We don’t even need to go into detail about the situation in regards to same sex rights and legislations around the world. I feel the world is in a difficult place, while claiming to be progressive the situation on a global scale couldn’t be more repressive, which is clearly contradictory to what we are supposed to believe. There simply isn’t enough information.

I was recently informed of a new book that, while it hasn’t got the backing of a major publishing house, is still creating waves across an online community of LGBT people looking to inform and educate. The Gender Book is the creation of some admirable people all the way from across the pond in Houston, Texas, who took it upon themselves to instigate a change in the way people think. In the process of educating themselves and each other about the idea of gender, they felt that (according to their website) there was a big need for people like their transgender friends who needed more options on their census forms, like for trans lovers who had had to educate their therapists. Also for parents who needed educating and for those who wanted to know how to be supportive of their gender-variant children.

A lot is covered in this book but it is not as heavy or intense as you would think. It’s presented in the form of colourful illustrations to ease the reader into its content. The images are inviting and whimsical in a way that is reminiscent of the talented Quentin Blake. The content is obviously the best part because of the way the information is given and how sensitively yet informatively the content is presented. It takes you on a journey of sexuality, orientation and gender throughout history, looking at some of the ways the idea of masculinity and femininity has been presented. It also shows the evolution, or lack thereof, of perceptions in society and how they have changed over time.

More importantly what it does is create and offer a better understanding of the many amazing and fabulous kinds of people who live under the LGBT umbrella. It also disintegrates the many misconceptions and stereotypes that have been stigma for many people in the LGBT community. It gives an education on how to deal with, approach and basically accept the differences in people as the most beautiful thing about each other.

Right now this amazing book is available as a free eBook download, and you are encouraged to download it and share it with everyone you know. The creators of The Gender Book are in the process of trying to create a small run of hardback formats for those of us to read a book in a more tangible format. - If you want further information regarding The Gender Book then head over to the Gender Book website

Words: Daniel Riding

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