I received an e-ARC of this book at no cost to me.
This book reads like an empowering research paper, which is kind of weird! It includes a lot of anecdotes from other queer people and how they navigate Being Queer, which is a Therapy Technique I certainly recognize and one that I very much benefit from, especially in this book. Another thing that really worked for me was including lists throughout the book, which were easy to take solace from; these include a list of reflections/affirmations, a list of ways to challenge negative feelings about your body, a list of tips from Essie’s own experience of understanding and accepting their identity, and a list of self-care tips. Unfortunately, one of the self-care tips is “prioritize your health”, which feels incredibly privileged and a very British thing to say; as an American, I absolutely cannot do that and also expect to have anything else left over, in terms of money or energy.
Besides this one awful fact about the stark differences between our healthcare systems, this book addresses a lot of The Things plaguing the queer community today: mentioning commodified pride vs. actual pride; coming out over and over and over again, how when you’re on two or more spectrums, “queer” can be easier; how part of trans healthcare is that you will be forced into a restrictive diet and exercise regimen if you are over an arbitrary weight limit in order to qualify for gender affirming surgery. It asks the question: “What does the legacy of colonialism have to do with how queer bodies are treated?” (So much, as it turns out.)
There is nothing wrong with having lots of sex.There is nothing wrong with having no sex.
It is your body, and therefore, your rules.
Queer sex is still sex.
Queer Body Power
Something that I really resonated with was the note on poverty, and the sentence “The stress of being on the edge of broke still lives within my bones”, acknowledging the abject poverty that many queer people live in. It really really reminded me of Scott Benson’s writing on The Fear – “My friends and I talk about The Fear. The Fear is the awareness of living in precarity, that state of instability caused by not having security of finances, job, healthcare, etc. You get The Fear through contact — you were evicted, you lost your job, you went a long time with nothing, you lost everything, you barely scraped by.” (Read the full article here). It’s very, if you know, you know, and if you don’t, I hope you never have to find out.