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Books & Authors, Diverse Voices

Graphic Memoirs on Gender Identity

“Reading is an exercise in empathy; an exercise in walking in someone else’s shoes for a while.” -Marjorie Blackman

“I read so I can live more than one life in more than one place.” -Anne Tyler

Expand your understanding of the lives of others by reading these memoirs about gender identity.

 

Fun Home: a family tragicomic by Alison Bechdel

Alison Bechdel's groundbreaking, bestselling graphic memoir that charts her fraught relationship with her late father. Distant and exacting, Bruce Bechdel was an English teacher and director of the town funeral home, which Alison and her family referred to as the "Fun Home." It was not until college that Alison, who had recently come out as a lesbian, discovered that her father was also gay. A few weeks after this revelation, he was dead, leaving a legacy of mystery for his daughter to resolve. In her hands, personal history becomes a work of amazing subtlety and power, written with controlled force and enlivened with humor, rich literary allusion, and heartbreaking detail.

 

Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe

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 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.

 

Spinning by Tillie Walden

For ten years, figure skating was Tillie Walden's life. She woke before dawn for morning lessons, went straight to group practice after school, and spent weekends competing at ice rinks across the state. Skating was a central piece of her identity, her safe haven from the stress of school, bullies, and family. But as she switched schools, got into art, and fell in love with her first girlfriend, she began to question how the close-minded world of figure skating fit in with the rest of her life, and whether all the work was worth it given the reality: that she, and her friends on the team, were nowhere close to Olympic hopefuls. The more Tillie thought about it, the more Tillie realized she'd outgrown her passion--and she finally needed to find her own voice.

 

I’m a Wild Seed by Sharon Lee De La Cruz

In this delightfully compelling full-color graphic memoir, the author shares her process of undoing the effects of a patriarchal, colonial society on her self-image, her sexuality, and her concept of freedom. Reflecting on the ways in which oppression was the cause for her late bloom into queerness, we are invited to discover people and things in the author's life that helped shape and inform her LGBTQ identity. And we come to an understanding of her holistic definition of queerness.

 

 

How to Be Ace by Rebecca Burgess

Growing up, Rebecca assumes sex is just a scary new thing they will 'grow into' as they get older, but when they leave school, start working and do grow up, they start to wonder why they don't want to have sex with other people. In this brave, hilarious and empowering graphic memoir, we follow Rebecca as they navigate a culture obsessed with sex - from being bullied at school and trying to fit in with friends, to forcing themselves into relationships and experiencing anxiety and OCD - before coming to understand and embrace their asexual identity. Giving unparalleled insight into asexuality and asexual relationships, How To Be Ace shows the importance of learning to be happy and proud of who you are. 

 

The Times I Knew I Was Gay by Eleanor Crewes

Ellie always had questions about who she was and how she fit in. As a girl, she wore black, obsessed over Willow in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and found dating boys much more confusing than many of her friends did. As she grew older, so did her fears and a deep sense of unbelonging. From her first communion to her first girlfriend via a swathe of self-denial, awkward encounters, and everyday courage, Ellie tells her story through gorgeous illustrations--a fresh and funny self-portrait of a young woman becoming herself. The Times I Knew I Was Gay reminds us that people sometimes come out not just once but again and again; that identity is not necessarily about falling in love with others, but about coming to terms with oneself. Full of vitality and humor, it will ring true for anyone who has taken the time to discover who they truly are.

 

Fine: A Comic About Gender by Rhea Ewing

Graphic artist Rhea Ewing celebrates the incredible diversity of experiences within the transgender community with this vibrant and revealing debut. For fans of Alison Bechdel's Fun Home and Meg-John Barker's Queer, Fine is an essential graphic memoir about the intricacies of gender identity and expression. As Rhea Ewing neared college graduation in 2012, they became consumed by the question: What is gender? This obsession sparked a quest in their quiet Midwest town, where they anxiously approached both friends and strangers for interviews to turn into comics. A decade later, their project has exploded into a fantastical and informative portrait of a surprisingly vast community spread across the country. Questions such as How do you identify? invited deep and honest accounts of adolescence, taking hormones, changing pronouns-and how these experiences can differ depending on culture, race, and religion. Amidst beautifully rendered scenes emerges Ewing's own visceral story growing up in rural Kentucky, grappling with their identity as a teenager, and ultimately finding themself through art-and by creating something this very fine.

 

Call Me Nathan by Catherine Castro and Quentin Zuttion

Assigned female at birth, Nathan spends his formative years facing questions without answers. As puberty hits and begins to change his body, it all just feels wrong, and something needs to change for it to feel right. He finds himself at a crucial crossroads. Becoming oneself is the work of a lifetime, no matter our gender, sexuality, or refusal to be limited by such categorizations. For Nathan, his courageous first steps towards discovering his true self happen through transition. Based on a true story, Catherine Castro and Quentin Zuttion explore the tenacity and bravery that such a journey entails while society continues to wrestle with the meaning of identity. Call Me Nathan issues a moving call for understanding, a powerful denunciation of prejudice, and a celebration of everything it means to love.

 

 

 

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