They/Them/Their

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 19 Sep 2019

Member Reviews

Unfortunately, this book is too regionally and temporally specific for me to recommend in the current political climate in Canada. It's a great read with plenty of interesting information, but because there is a lot of content specific to the UK, it would not be a good fit for our store.
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They/Them/Their by Eris Young is a nonfiction guide to nonbinary and genderqueer identities. On the nonfiction accessibility scale from pop-nonfiction to academic works, this is definitely closer to the academic end; it is written for the layperson rather than the academic audience, but it does tend toward the denser side of things. That is not a criticism, mind; I personally found They/Them/Their to be a nice mix of in-depth information combined with a clear and concise writing style, but I can see being thrown off if you were expecting something lighter.


They/Them/Their is broken up into seven main sections, plus a thorough introduction: language, history from a global perspective, community, wider society, mental health, medicine, and the law.

I personally was most interested in the language, history, and community sections; I have an unabashed fascination for linguistics, grammar and the politics of grammar, foreign languages, and the like. Learning a language with a grammatical gender was actually one of the catalysts of my gender-questioning journey and I loved reading about how nonbinary people are trying to carve out a place for themselves in heavily gendered languages.

The medical and legal sections, while interesting, suffered a bit in my opinion because they were necessarily limited to a particular context (the current UK medical and legal system). I think perhaps that’s a spot where the more academic nature of the work was a hindrance, since it focused one one country at one point in time, making those sections the most likely to quickly become outdated.

It might have been better to take more of a general, survey view of those sections and give a broad overview of nonbinary medical and legal status around the world, or even take a thought-exercise approach and look at what would be ideal for nonbinary people in terms of medical treatment and legal recognition and what would need to be done to create such an ideal.

That’s a minor quibble, though, and I’m sure if I were a UK resident I would’ve found them more relevant. Overall, I thought They/Them/Their did a great job of combining a wide-ranging, accessible introduction to nonbinary identities with a more in-depth analysis of certain aspects.

[Blog review scheduled to be posted on 9/13]
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Because the existence of trans & nonbinary people is constantly challenged, most resources are forced to cover the basics and teach cis readers how to respect trans people and their identities. As a result, few of these 101 resources get the chance to take a deeper look into the consequences of enforcing the gender binary on the lives of nonbinary people. In They/Them/Their, the author starts from the same foundation, but soon goes further in exploring the social, legal, and medical challenges faced by nonbinary people.
The book shines in how to tackles myths and misconceptions about nonbinary people. With a look into the historical presence of genderqueer people and their inclusion in LGBT symbols we see that even with the rejection from culture and community, genderqueer and nonbinary people have always existed and that they are not all thin, white, and able bodied.
The book is very academic in tone, which while making the writing denser, shows the urgent need for more research. The rigor with which claims about nonbinary people as a whole is handled gives the book more punch when it challenges incorrect assumptions in the legal and medical treatment of trans people.  Since there is so little research available, I would have liked to have seen more theory included and more information about why the contemporary academic view of gender is the way it is.
With the guiding questions at the end of each chapter and the inclusion of guidelines to help schools and workplaces to create a welcoming environment for trans and nonbinary people this book is a great tool for educators.
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3.5 stars

A very interesting and important read! I feel like if you're interested in learning more about the non binary experience, this book is definitely the place to start. It talks about the struggles of non binary people but it also provides data and historical information. It begins by talking about some basic and general stuff that'll help you ease into educating yourself on this topic.

Although it felt quite dense as it reads as an academic paper, it's still an amazing book!
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This one is all about the non binary: the gender that is not a gender. The idea that gender is a construct. The gender that is somewhere in between. Well researched, it gave me a lot to think about and led me to read further on this topic.
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I completely forgot to review this for Netgalley. Shoot now I am having problems remembering what made it so great. It is a little bit dense, but I love that. I love me some theory. This book covers a lot of different identities and doesn't just cover the white western world, which is a huge huge plus. I especially loved how they went into body dysmorphia, and how not all trans* or non-binary people experience that. Overall, it's a dense but well written super interesting book.
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Very informative and detailed. 

It is clear that the author put in as much research as they possibly could have before writing. They put the upmost care into the information they were imparting on the reader.

I absolutely recommend this for anyone who is attempting to educate themselves on gender non-conforming and non binary identities. This book answers many questions that cisgender people, people who are questioning their gender, or people who want to educate themselves on other gender identities may have.

My only complaint it that in many instances, this book is too dense. I feel as though just as much could have been said with half as many pages. But this is a relatively small complaint.
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They/Them/Their" by Eris Young is a non-fiction book that focuses on non-binary and genderqueer identities and covers the daily and bigger struggles they face. The key-area in focus are: history, wider society, mental health, medicine, and the law.

When discussing these topics, Young goes further than to only share the cold facts and stats. They also interpret and try to explain certain results of studies, so that everyone can understand them.

In addition to cold facts, Young looks at society from a genderqueer point of view and shares this insight. This is very often, some people struggle because one person can't represent a whole community. Instead of simply explaining that this is only their experience, Young sensed this problem and decided to go the extra mile:

They conducted a number of interviews with other genderqueer and non-binary people. Thus, various views are established without having to rely on stats alone. These are opinions and experiences from real people, and I really enjoyed getting an insight from various point of views.

"They/Them/Their" remains a book that mostly focuses on gender in the US and the UK - especially Scotland. This is something you are "warned" about at the beginning of the book, so you are aware that the book is not inclusive of all countries.

Nevertheless, Young still touches on semantics in different countries - especially linguistic differences, pointing out that a gender neutral language is not even possible is most Romance languages (Spanish, Italien, French, German, etc.). Those comparisons are not use to shed more light on those countries but rather to highlight the differences and challenges faces by NB/GQ people around the globe before returning into an UK/US-centric perspective.

There is only one real critic I have: Young states that their goal is to bring these issues closer to a cis-identifying person who wants to learn more but starts below zero. I can't help but wonder, if this book doesn't appear too heavy for them, since it contains a L O T  of information, it could get over-whelming.

Overall, "They/Them/Their" gives a great overview of the diversity of the genderqueer community, the different problems one may face, and it also breaks down stereotypes in always offering different perspectives within the group. Most of the time, it is written in a way that it is easy to read. It has a similar feeling to a well written tumblr post that contains facts: the writing is informal but the information given to you is crucial. I feel that "They/Them/Their" is a great book and there is no better time to read it than now.
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They/Them/Their could not be better timed than RIGHT NOW. Its relevance has never been greater than in contemporary society today, for all of us. This book should be mandatory reading for educators, counselors, medical professionals and pretty much anyone else currently living on this planet we call Earth. This is a significant work for understanding gender identity- which is so much more than a binary box one checks on a form. And even if you feel you *get* gender, get this!
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This was good and informative and it read like a professionally written paper which I had thankfully anticipated so I really liked that (if I hadn't anticipated it, though, I might not have liked reading it too much). I was able to prepare myself for how this would be structured so that really helped my reading experience.
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Thanks to Jessica Kingsley Publishers and Netgalley for the ARC of this book. 

I was drawn to this book because of the relative lack of books about nonbinary identities written by actual nonbinary people. As a cis person, I want to understand more about trans an nonbinary identities, and I personally think that the best way to do this is to read books and narratives by people from those groups. The own voices aspect of this book is what initially drew me to it.

I was impressed with the thoroughness of this book. Right from the beginning, it was apparent that this was going to be a book with a lot of information. The downside to this is that I found it incredibly dense, and even with the glossary at the beginning, I felt that we were somewhat thrown in at the deep end. There were also some points that confused me; the use of they/them/their pronouns, for example, is described as being one of the identifying features of a nonbinary identity, but I have several nonbinary friends who dislike they/them/their and prefer to use she/her or he/his, or a selection of non-standard pronouns (e.g. ey/em/eir). I would have liked a bit more information on pronouns and how an individual might find the best pronouns that fit. I also wondered if the very dense, academic nature of the book might put some people off. I'm a PhD student and so I'm used to wading through very verbose books, but I did wonder if it might be a little inaccessible for the average reader.

That's a relatively minor quibble in a book that I found overall to be very helpful and informative. The discussions about nonbinary v trans and how the two ideas intersect but are not interchangeable was really eye-opening, and I feel like I have a better handle on some of my nonbinary friends' identities now. There was a part of the book that described a nonbinary person being reluctant to go out anywhere that didn't have a unisex toilet, for example, and I'm privileged enough that I've never had to even consider that as a factor in choosing a venue. It's opened my eyes to the things that I take for granted and I hope it will make me a more empathetic person in future. I'm genuinely very glad that this book exists, and I'll be recommending it left, right and centre to anyone who is confused by or just wants to know a bit more about the nonbinary aspect of trans identities.
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They/Them/Their is an all-inclusive guide to the T in LGBTIA+. With a mix of research, interviews, and personal experience, Eris Young (pronouns: they/them/their) covers everything you may want to know about people who identify as non-binary and trans, including chapters on dating, physical health, mental health, and how to create open spaces at work and at school.

Overall, they discuss these topics in a clear and relatable way. Not only does Young cover facets of trans and non-binary identities, but also details other lesser known letters of the LGBTQIA+ alphabet soup, such as asexuality (which they themselves identify with). The chapters are also stuffed with plenty of resources and further reading suggestions as well as reflection questions for every reader, whether you’re a parent, teacher, employer, colleague, therapist, clinician, friend, partner, or general ally.

As a queer woman, I was able to relate to a few of the experiences where sexuality and gender intersect. For example, as a rule, they write “I usually come out to anyone who I know for more than a half hour”—which is the best advice I’ve gotten on the subject. But as a queer woman, They/Them/Their was also a wake-up call that dove into the complex nuances within the trans and non-binary community. There is so much about gender and non-binary gender identities that I cannot relate to or did not know about—and They/Them/Their not only filled in those blanks, but drew new lines.

For example, I especially thought the chapter on the laws involved with genderqueer identities was not only informative, but also offered a wide, global perspective that compared existing policies from different countries. Continually, Young reminds the reader that genderqueer individuals are not partaking in a singular, private experience but one with ramifications that are affected by and are in many ways intertwined with every corner of society.

I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in learning more about pronouns, trans and non-binary folk, and gender expression—especially those who want to be better allies to their friends, coworkers, partners, and family members.

If you’re already neck deep in your queer studies (like me), you might think this book is a little like Gender 101, but I still strongly recommend it since it is intensely descriptive and informative.

My only worry with the book is the shelf-life (literally, because it’s a book), since the terms, attitudes, and resources discussed in the book are always evolving and growing as progress continues (and is thwarted), so I hope there are newer editions in the future!

They/Them/Their will be published on September 19, 2019 by Jessica Kingsley Publishers. Definitely keep an eye out for it this fall!
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An absolutely fantastic book about gender and gender identity which also brings up mental health and other topics
 
I was unable to read it to the end because the app I use crashed and still hasn't worked but you get I'll be buying my own physical copy to read and give to friends! 

No matter who you are, as long as you care about people and want to learn more I definitely recommend that you read this book.
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Thank you for the opportunity to review They/Them/Their by Eris Young. I am a bit ambivalent about this title, but still recommend it for those interested in the topic(s).  More information about gender/gender identity is sorely needed, and Young does address those areas head-on.  It's not a "quick easy read" in writing style though, and that might keep more casual readers away. Still, I'll recommend it to others.
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If you are an ally, a feminist, or in any way give a damn about people--read this book. It gives an incredible amount of information about what it means to be nonbinary, but also is just so inclusionary. You'll read also about the trans perspective, asexualism, mental illness, and a great many other human experiences while learning about breaking through the barriers of a societal binary gender system.
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This book was provided by the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Jessica Kingsley Publishers and Netgalley!

First, I’d like to talk about the good things of They/Them/Their. I learnt a few things reading this book and some chapters were interesting such as the introduction, because the author wrote a little terminology part, and I liked the chapter about the community.

Now, let’s talk about the negative things. I expected this book to be shorter, because there were so many unnecessary parts or just boring parts. I wanted to learn more about nonbinary and genderqueer identities, but there were so many times that I just wanted to give up and not finish this book.

To be honest, there were many chapters that I read diagonally or chapters were I skipped certain parts because they weren’t interesting at all. It feels more like a published paper than a book that wants to educate people on nonbinary and genderqueer identities.

I’m sorry to say this, but I don’t recommend They/Them/Their at all.
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I recieved this from NetGalley in exchange for a review, but all opinions are as always my own. 

So...wow. Where to begin on this one? I guess first of all I'd say that this was deeply informative. I, myself, am non-binary and it made me think about some of the things of my own gender. It made me feel comforted, somewhat, that other people also don't feel dysphoria sometimes and all of these transgender feels that I could strongly relate to and it really made me feel better in myself and more comfortable. So, from that perspective, that was awesome. It mostly covers non-binary, genderqueer and genderfluid identities but it does also touch on binary transgender identites and sexualities. 

It doesn't just talk about the Western way of gender, either. Although it is very clearly written by a white person, it does include some other cultures and religions that use different, less binary languages and have more than just the two legal genders the way the UK does (which is where a majority of this book is based, specifically Scotland, and it also touches on the US as well). 

I would absolutely reccomend this to other people and, despite having a copy of this on my Kindle, I would probably buy a physical copy when it's published for note taking and to reference as well as to give to family members and friends who want to learn more about the identities as they are becoming more well known then they were. It's full of resources for people wanting to learn about the trans identities, but also for trans people as well - including for mental health resources specifically for trans people, which I've been looking for and I'm sure I'll find them useful. 

It did have its bad parts, though. For example, there were trigger warnings but there were very few. I feel like every chapter and every sub-chapter should contain trigger warnings, especially since trans people are absolutely going to read this (hello!) and the author knows that trans people often go through triggering events in their life, as it's referenced in the book. It's also very dense and can be difficult to read if you don't enjoy reading essays and textbooks, which is very much the format style this is written in. Being academic, and autistic, probably helped my enjoyment there but I know a lot of people who would struggle to get through this. 

Overall, it was enjoyable and I'm glad I got through this even though it was super difficult to read at times. I'd reccomend it especially to people wanting to learn about transgender people, and specifically non-binary genders.
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3* This is the first ever Jessica Kingsley book that I've struggled with... Not that it's a bad read, but...

... because it's just a little too personal. And I honestly don't mean that as an insult or to be condescending or disrespectful, but this is a tale that's clearly very personal to the author and it was just a bit too heavy for me.

I don't think this tale added anything unique to what I broadly know of non-binary persons, and perhaps that's because the author was trying their all to inform and educate, but there are several better books by this publisher, who I come to for an education in things LGBTQIA. Here, I found myself reading out of a commitment/obligation because I'd requested the book, and because I've never had anything less than a 4/5* read from the publisher.

I think that if perhaps the author had included case studies and more examples of non-binary persons and their experiences, instead of droning on about the same-ish things in more than one place, instead of coming across like an actual educator, as opposed to someone telling it from the horse's mouth to educate - there is a difference - I'd have connected with this more. 

ARC courtesy of Jessica Kingsley Publishers and NetGalley, for my reading pleasure.
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DNF @ ~10%

I DNF’d this but not because it was bad. It just reads too much like a professionally published paper and was super dense, so it was  difficult to get into. 

However, I did like that the author was detailed yet concise, and that they acknowledged that there are gender identities other than the Western ones we know of.
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As someone who has already read about gender before, I didn't learn anything new from this book. However, considering this book is labelled as an introduction to gender, I think it fulfils its purposes. 

They/Them/Their is an adequate introduction to Queer Theory and Gender Queers more specifically. It's not groundbreaking in any way, but the language is clear and understandable.
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