A Quick & Easy Guide to Queer & Trans Identities

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 31 Mar 2019

Member Reviews

First, I want to say I received an ARC copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review-- and the Kindle edition the pages were split in half (top and bottom) and the pages were all out of order. So, it took some doing to get through it (in the right order) to fully get the authors important message. 

I'd say this is a good book for teens, in it's story-telling style, the art, and the message. Though the message of the book is important for people of all ages to understand, this is clearly designed for a younger audience. Understanding, acceptance (of self and others) and individuality are all important. The world would be a much better place if we all accepted our unique qualities -- we are not all the same. It's time for society to stop expecting people to behave and live a cookie cutter existence that does not include the freedoms for gender and non-binary individuals to thrive without fear of persecution.
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This book was adorable and a great introduction to the concept of queer and trans identities. However, I will note that it's definitely not for everyone. The use of fantastical, "trippy" illustrations of snails and other fantasy woodland creatures could be a bit confusing for those approaching this book looking for more detailed information. I would be most likely to recommend this to teens and other creative young people, especially those whose friends or family may be queer or trans and are just starting to find out more about the LGBTQIA community. I appreciated that the book addresses the concept of a healthy relationship in addition to exploring identity! Also, there was an especially nice section towards the end about creating zines which I think teens would enjoy.
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Whether you're a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, someone who has a family member and/or friend who is, or you're simply curious about queer & trans identities, A Quick & Easy Guide to Queer & Trans Identities is a super useful and accessible title. It covers not just identities you may have heard of before, but more within the spectrum of queerness, a facet that is helpful not only for people seeking information out of interest, but for those that may still be questioning their own identities.

A Quick & Easy Guide is told from the perspective of snails, the lead being Iggy, a pet of a queer human who brings the snail to fireside chats with their friends. At one of these outings, wild snails stumble upon the humans and wish to know more, to which Iggy responds with the information that follows.

The book addresses romantic identities (aromantic, panromantic, etc.) as well as sexual or gender identities. There's a good discussion on asexuality and the varying "degrees" therein. Several terms that don't get spoken of enough (autochorissexual, etc) get attention herein, as well as important chapters that talk about the difference between sex, gender, sexuality, and romantic identities. This can be hard to grasp for those new to the terms, but this guide takes the time & is utterly patient when explaining the differences. 

Not only does this book talk about labels, though, but also about respect: for oneself, for your partner(s), and others in the LGBTQIA+ community. Using the term queer isn't for everyone. You have to respect yourself & be careful when thinking about things like coming out of the closet (is it safe? do you have a support group?). There are whole sections on what it means to be trans, gender expression, dysphoria, communication and ways to identify toxic relationships. The communication section is especially essential reading because as Iggy says at one point (paraphrasing here): just because you're in the same community doesn't mean getting hurt isn't possible.

The method of telling the story primarily through the snails' perspectives felt like a bit of an odd choice. Humans make a few appearances to talk about their experiences; there are segments detailing the life of Sproutlings, who highlight the topic of the section their segment follows. Perhaps this narrative choice was to make the information more accessible to a younger audience? Odd as I found it at first, as a thirty-something, the storytelling by a snail was not actually a detriment to the overall work.

The art was good itself, though the coloring left something to be desired as, aside from the Sproutlings segments, it was almost entirely in shades of pink with some accent colors. This reliance on what felt like a limited color palette made what was otherwise a well drawn graphic novel feel a bit one dimensional.

Would I recommend this? Heck yes. While there were sections that I would've liked to get more coverage (i.e. plus size trans individuals), overall this guide is a good general one for queer & trans identities. It's one that will educate and hopefully inspire some conversations that were previously difficult to open. Whether you buy this for yourself or someone else, the person reading it is sure to find something important to them within.
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Personally, I am not a part of the community but I found it very interesting to learn more about it, so I better understand. The book made it a fun reading experience to not only learn more, but, for many people, possibly help them understand and accept themselves. I think it is a great background for a book, and I am sure it will help many ignorant people, like myself, to get a better understanding. It is great to find more and more books like this on the marked so the world can get more knowledge and hopefully, a more accepting view of this community.

The book was an easy and quick read, I really liked the idea of the drawings and how the book is told, but I found the art a little too trippy, which for me took focus away a little bit.
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The title says it all! It actually IS a quick and easy guide to all identities, sexual orientations, romantic orientations and all things queer. If anyone ever says "this book is not for me because I am [insert anything here]", they are lying because this reflects on how having their identity acknowledged and valued is about EVERYONE.
This book is part of the road to become a better human by having empathy and respecting others, just like that. The writing is very simple and easy to follow so I think kids and teenagers would benefit greatly if there were a copy of this in every school and library.

I'm glad I picked this is up and that a book like this is being published. 
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*I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley/OniPress in exchange for an honest review. 

A book I wish I had access to when I was younger and a book I’m glad exists now. For years I struggled with my own sexuality believing I had to either be straight or gay. As I grew, how I identified changed especially with the confusion. When I finally came out as bisexual I felt such a huge relief, it felt the most applicable “label”, but as the book discusses - language evolves, and ultimately the label is there for you and not to classify yourself in a box. These days I’m more than happy to describe myself as bi/pan/queer and whatever the label means, I’m more than comfortable with my feelings and sexuality. There is something so very comforting in self-identifying and finding a community of people like you. That reason alone is why I could never personally be 100% comfortable with the “who cares about labels?” responses that can happen when sexuality is discussed, because that time where you find a community can be very special.

The story is told through a lesson from snails about the humans they come across - humans are amazing and complex - and curiosity and the desire to learn propels us forward. Generally I’m not very good at saying “this book would be great for [age group]” since I find it depends on the individual, but I would for sure love to see this available in high school libraries and available to 11+ demographic. I think younger children certainly could handle topics of gender identity and sexuality (if anything I believe we underestimate them!) but I think would require more bite-size learning :)

To my fellow LGBTQIA+ folks out there, you are all valid. 
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This is a really cute guide to identities and sexuality, with fun, "hippie"-style artwork that uses snails and mythical critters as well as people to portray the knowledge being put across. I appreciated the attention paid to details that are often not given their fair share of attention, such as dysphoria, a trans person's right to NOT choose surgery and/or HRT, the asexuality spectrum, and more. There's a ton of good content in this book and I would totally recommend it to anyone in the middle school or young high school age range.

The only reason I'm knocking off a star is because I think the book tries way too hard to be "cute" and "fun" at times, to the point of silliness (which can be off-putting for a lot of kids in this age range as they try to seem "adult" and "cool"), and because the artwork is so over-the-top that I think it takes away from the message at times.

That aside, this is absolutely the kind of book that every school and public library needs to have on their shelves, and I will happily be recommending this graphic novel for years to come.
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Let's first talk about how gorgeous the art of this book is. I like how it incorporated both real and magical creatures. That it created a world, a safe-haven for LGBTQ+ people, but at the same time this world is still open for self-understanding and intrapersonal communication.

This is definitely a wonderful book to start with when you are divulging into the topic earlier, wanting to learn what it is all about, trying to be knowledgeable for yourself, friends, or for your family. It is also an amazing addition to your tomes if you are a well-knowledged individual who just wants to learn more. To hear what another author might say.

It is definitely marvelous how the author decided to turn the information sharing into a graphic novel. In my opinion, it is so much easier than looking in a book full of just wor.ds To some, those kinds of books can definitely be intimidating. And this form really gave it an easier vibe.
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My review of this book should really be split into two parts: the art and the text. The art was not my style; it felt very trippy and I didn’t like the choice to have the information imparted by talking snails.

There were a few pages with actual human characters talking about their identities and those were, for me, the best pages in the book. It felt kind of dehumanizing to have animals doing the instructing and to have invented creatures called sproutlings illustrating the terms.

Which is a shame, because the actual information in the text is very good and presented in a nicely scaffolding way, moving from absolute basics to some more in-depth discussions, and it also throws in things like what makes a relationship healthy vs toxic, which is important for anyone entering a relationship regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

There is also nothing R-rated in this book, so it could be shared with younger teens and tweens without parents worrying about “appropriateness”. (Other than the fact the art looks the way I imagine a drug trip to feel!)

In a nutshell: I love the idea of this book and I love that Oni Press is doing this series. The information in this book is undeniably good… but the art was not at all for me and I found the non-human characters distracting and uncomfortable.
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This is a simple and non-judgmental look at Queer and Trans identities.  I loved the easily understood term definitions, healthy relationship advice,  coming out advice, and straightforward talk about depression and dysphoria.  .  there is a great deal to learn within this non-threatening format using cartoons and characters.  This book is great for everyone, literally, youth, parents, friends, educators, family members etc. etc. etc  This book is great for those who don't know anything about queer or trans identifies and equally good for those who believe they know lots about these topics.   There is sooo much in this little book.  

'There's no right or wrong way to be gay, straight, male, female, of whatever you are.""

"You cannot control anybody's reactions, but you can control how you confront those reactions."

"Keep your head held high, understand that there is nothing 'wrong' with you and that you deserve love and respect, no matter the outcome of this "'Big Reveal'
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What a brilliant, clear and necessary book! I absolutely loved that the authors talk about the Queer and Trans Identities, but also devote a few chapters on how to build a good relationship, and how to recognize red flags.

I really enjoyed the colorful illustrations, and the idea of including some adventures from The World of The Sproutlings to illustrate the journey of queer characters. I didn't really like the font used in this world, as it was sometimes hard to read it, but in the end I got used to it.

I need to mention that they included at the end of the book some cool bonuses: "Design a Friendship Jacket", "Write a letter to your Dear Past or Future Self", "Create your own Sprout-Sona", and "How to make a mini zine". Those were very nice additions to the book.

I feel like so much as been explained in a matter of a 100+ pages, and I can't wait to read their other book "A Quick & Easy Guide to They/Them Pronouns". I would highly recommend it!
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I LOVE THIS BOOK! Someone help me decide whether it's the illustrations or the easy-to-understand information inside that's what I love best - together, they're perfect for what they're trying to do (and okay, won't lie, those illustrations tho...). This is a wonderful book for educating anyone who needs help (in a loving, and friendly way), for parents whose children are navigating a queer and/or non-binary world, and also for young people or fresh-out folks who "feel different" and are just starting to figure it out  A fun and easy-to-read book like this, especially with all its happy happiness and encouragement toward self-love, also gives them language they can use. Honestly? This book needs to be everywhere.

I think my ONLY "not girly-screamingly-excited" feedback, perhaps, would be that the title is a little bland for the rest of it. Maybe could have been a little more exciting - "quick and easy" is definitely important, so people understand it's not written for academics, but "queer and trans identities" sounds kind of "undergrad gender studies".
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Title: A Quick & Easy Guide to Queer & Trans Identities

Author: Mady G and J.R. Zuckerberg (Illustrator)

Publication Date: 23 Apr 2019 by Limerence and Oni Press

Thanking Limerence Press, Oni Press and NetGalley for the ARC I received in exchange for an honest review. 

I know it is not easy to explain sexuality and gender in a simple way. It is very complex as there are so many terms, theories, opinions and also definitons about sex and gender. Yet, Mady G. is brilliant! She firstly tells her readers the definitions of terms between gender and sexuality. She says;

Gender is the social cultural and metal state of being male, female and combination of the two or neither. It has something to do with how somebody feel inside rather what they look like

Sex has to do with reproduction as well as physical and biological make up and can reference things like chromosomes, genitalia, hormonal, activity rather than mental and attribute. 

They later spoil the readers with the illustrations and the examples of issues that an LGBTIQ actor may face. 

" Growing up lonely, gender ambiguous with a sexuality I did not understand was difficult. Nowadays, young people have the tools available for them to learn and grow rather than hide and despair and that is amazing thing. 

It is also important to recognise that LGBTQ language overall, including these term is ever-evolving and ever-changing. Gendered words can be just as fluid as gender itself."

Despite of those issues, the book also offer some motivation to the readers

"Self-love takes a bit of time for some people especially those who have issues with their self-esteem. It will always worth it. However, stay conscious and give it your best try. even if you have some little road blocks in your daily life that can slow you down like money, family problem or grief. 

A little spark of self-love can make a world of difference not just in the context of relationship."

I cannot find any flaws in this book. It is very informative and also easy to be understood. Most of all, A Quick & Easy Guide to Queer & Trans Identities is a book that every scholar in gender study should possess.

Some of my favourite quotes of the book are

" It is not generally good idea to be emotionally impulsive when dating. Rushing to find a relationship can cause a lot more heartbreak than it's worth although there are some scenarios where people have gotten together in some sort of whirling fairytale way- that isn't necessarily a realistic or healthy expectation."

"It is generally a bad sign if your partner acts jealous whenever you hang out with other friends or family. Your partner is not supposed to be the man focus of your life and there is no reason for them to expect you to give your attention to them and them alone."

"A good partner would show interest in your friends and hobbies rather than trying to change them or isolate you. An abusive partner will often try to gain control of as many aspects of your life as possible."

"DO NOT let a partner dictate how you dress, who you associate with or how you express yourself (unless your behaviour is clearly harmful to others). A PARTNER IS THERE TO SUPPORT YOU, NOT TO CONTROL YOU!"
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The book I wish I’d had a decade ago.

TL;DR – A cute, fun tour through the world of queerness


Ragdoll Rating: 5/5 Buttons

Recommended For: Everyone. Especially anybody questions or recently out.

About the Book…

This book is very brief, but very informative tour through the world of identities, labels and relationships. The comics focus on the wisdom of a snail, who teaches a bunch of snail buddies about all the beautiful humans.

The book is broken into sections, each dealing with a different aspect of the queer experience. Each chapter is ended with a little summary comic featuring an adorable set of creatures known as Sproutlings.

What I thought…

As I said above, I wish I had had this book a decade or more ago. Transitioning was the result of years of questioning my sexuality and gender identity, and the whole period was a very difficult time. I still – 5+ years later – struggle with some aspects, and this book would have helped me a great deal.

Obviously I can’t speak for every queer person, but I personally feel that the content of this book is brilliant. It’s really inclusive, covering a wider variety of topics (albeit very briefly in some cases).

The book starts by discussing sexual orientation, and (correctly) declares it to be distinct from gender identity. Then there is a section on gender identity itself, including non-binary identities and the differences between identity and expression. It’s a really good chapter. Then we have a section on asexuality, something I find is often ignored in by a lot of people. The book finishes itself off with sections of advice, covering healthy relationships and coming out. Mady G makes great efforts to point out the fluid nature of identity, talks a lot about spectrums and how labels and concepts can differ from person to person. I think it’s really well done, and you can definitely tell it’s been written by someone with experience of what they are writing about.

I also love the illustrations, courtesy of J.R. Zuckerberg. I admit I’m slightly biased in this regard. If you want me to love anything, make it cute and I’m basically sold – and this book is CUTE. I love the Sproutlings, they are all my best friends and I want to live in their cute little forest. But ignoring my obvious bias, the illustrations are really lovely, they make what can feel like a difficult subject feel easier.

Finally, I want to mention the very last pages. Tucked away at the end of this book are a series of little activities – I assume aimed at the younger audience. Their inclusion is a really nice touch. The activities include, among other things, a section to write a letter to your younger self (something I know a lot of queer folk have found really helpful) and an invitation to design your own Sproutling. I just thought that was really cool.

Final Thoughts…

If I ever get hold of a time machine, I’m sending this book back to my teenage self. This is definitely a must read for anybody who needs a gentle guide into our big queer world.
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This book does exactly what it says in the title. It's a brief, simple guide to understanding what it means to be queer and/or trans. It's in a graphic novel format with a talking pet snail as the narrator. The artwork and colours are fun and help make the book accessible. Every now and then there's a couple of pages with stories about characters called sproutlings. They were cute, but the way the book changed between the two styles could feel a little disjointed. The book could also have done with a clearer structure, especially for people hoping to dip in to just one section rather than read it cover to cover. Having said that though, the book is full of lots of great information, and discusses gender and sexuality in a very positive and affirming way.
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Thank you NetGalley and Oni Press for this DRC.

"The world is home to such a vibrant rainbow of people, so why not genders."

This is filled with wonderful, informative and easy to digest information.
I did think it was geared more to teens/adults and younger people may need help reading and understanding all the details discussed. That's not necessarily a bad thing since it would hopefully spark conversation/questions.
They really touched on a bit of everything, including signs of toxic relationships. This is something I think all people should be made more aware of in order to spot and escape these kinds of harmful dependencies. This is especially true for anyone still coming to terms with their own identity who may not feel brave enough to speak up and/or draw attention to themselves.

"Let yourself grow and change and learn- that's what being alive is all about."

I think I would have preferred if the conversations had all been delivered by humans. I found the snails and sproutlings a bit weird. The human discussions around the fire were much easier to connect to and I would have favoured more of those with less of the other critters.
Overall I found this was a warm, respectful and loving delivery that could open up fantastic dialogue toward understanding one's own personal feelings or those of a loved ones.
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Everything I know about trans people is thanks to a friend who had an angelic level of patience to explain it all to me. I cringe to think of the ignorant things I asked her back then. For this, I hold her in very high regard, especially since learning of how unfair and emotionally exhausting it is to have to explain your existence to someone. 

So I picked this book up wondering if it would have helped to educate me back then, instead of asking my friend all of those questions. The answer is: sort of. 

This book is FOR queer kids/people. It is aimed at people who are already exploring or questioning their identities, rather than at the caring but confused friend/family member who would like to learn more, or the casual reader who is passingly curious on the subject. 

For that purpose, it is lovely. I just imagine a queer kid in a library, feeling lost and not knowing who to go to for guidance or companionship, and finding exactly the warm embrace, acceptance, and confirmation they needed from this book.

The story is told through a pet snail, who is teaching the wild snails about humans. In between the snail teachings are tiny bits of this idyllic place populated by “Sproutlings”, forest creatures who will serve as examples to further explain what the snail says. The main topics are: gender identity, gender expression, dysphoria, asexuality, relationship advice, and coming out. 

The art is very soothing. The lines are very round, soft, and squiggly. The art is very soothing. The lines are very round, soft, and squiggly. The dominant color is pink, accented with purples and yellows, with the Sproutling chapters in blue-greens to set them apart.   

At points I sensed a bit of “the expert blindspot” (when someone is already an expert at their subject and they teach the material in a way that is obvious to them, while being unaware of the many questions that a novice will have). But that is why this book is aimed specifically at LGBTQ kids. They already know about some of these terms and don’t need the basics explained to them.

This subject is unfathomably broad and the book can only briefly touch on so many subjects, but it would be lovely to see sequels of this where they go more into depth for each respective topic they already introduced.  

The book ends with a handful of self-reflection activities that may help kids practice what they’ve just read/learned. 

I would recommend this to anyone who is exploring or questioning their identity, and to a mindful friend or family member who wants to learn more about what their loved ones may be experiencing (with the reservation that this won’t answer all of your questions).
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This book was adorable and super informative! I loved the characters and the diagrams and the color schemes throughout the book. The way this book answered questions I know many people who are both trans, cis and queer have or have had before is thoughtful, respectful, and easily understood. This book even talks about navigating relationships which was wonderful!! I loved the cute pages at the end after the outro as well, making this whole book feel lighthearted and fun even though it talks about and explains topics that some people may not be very familiar with.
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What I loved:
This is a quick and easy primer that would be perfect for teens and adults. I don't think any of the material is presented in an inappropriate way for younger audiences, but the vocabulary might be a little tough for younger readers, e.g. words like narcissism might not be readily understandable to middle grade readers. The drawings are delightful and don't distract. The book has a positive message of loving yourself and extra stars for discussing healthy relationships and signs of toxic relationships—things that apply to relationships and friendships across the board. I have never read a book like this that also incorporates  breaking up, good communication, and loving yourself,   I also liked the space at the end to write your own story. I think a book like this will generate a lot of ideas in the reader and having a place to joy them down makes the processing more fun and organic. 

What's missing, in my opinion:
I was surprised that there wasn't anything about STIs or safe/safer sex but since the focus of the book was not physical sex/sex ed, I assume that is a topic covered elsewhere.   I was hoping for a line in the unhealthy relationships section that said something about partners pressuring you about sex, but one book can't be everything to everyone. 

I highly recommend this book to anyone 12-13 or above, but I wouldn't mind if my 10 year old wanted to read it. There's nothing in it that's out of bounds for younger readers in my opinion. 

Thanks, Net Galley, for a free digital copy in exchange for an honest review.
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This is such an amazing and adorable book. I love the snails so much. My heart, I just can't. The illustrations are wonderfully, psychedelically perfect for the content and I loved the array of topics that were covered. I wish so sincerely that this had existed for me when I was young, because there is so much incredible knowledge packed within these pages that I had to fight to learn over the last decade. I suspect the audience that would find the most enjoyment from this are folks trying to understand themselves within these pages, rather than giving it to a person who is uneducated on the subject based on the length.
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