Parents' Guide to

Gender Queer: A Memoir

By Andrea Beach, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Moving memoir of gender identity search has explicit images.

Gender Queer: A Memoir Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 17+

Based on 4 parent reviews

age 14+

Positive Messages for Questioning Kids Who Need Support

I read this because of all the news about it and also because my child is non-binary and possibly trans. They read the book too, and we agree that it is amazing! It captures the confusion and the uncertainty perfectly. The author is sharing their experiences so that kids dealing with the same differences can feel safe and seen. The idea that the book represents some kind of "agenda" and is trying to "make" kids a certain way is ridiculuous. The author is telling how it was for them and isn't telling anyone to be anything. Yes, a few of the pictures are sexual in nature, but it's a tiny part of the book, and these kids have access to the most explicit stuff possible on their phones, so for a high schooler, they won't be learning anything new. My child's high school library has this book, despite pushback from the community, and as the parent of a questioning child who took comfort from the book, I am VERY glad of that.
age 18+

Common Sense Media is WRONG

The brightly colored comic-book style is very attractive to children--which makes the explicit sexual content very concerning. While the images portraying oral sex, masturbation while driving, unrealistic amounts of blood loss during menstruation, the author's disdain of breasts, and horror-movie depictions of cervical exams are all very concerning, the content that outrages me is on Page 135: an adult man fondling the genitals of a 14-year-old child (age cited on Page 134) in a "fantasy" depiction that the author imagined to arouse is unjustifiable. Common Sense Media must not have actually read the book, because their description claims the two participants are "adult men." One most definitely is not--and while the image itself makes that fairly obvious, the reference to "Plato's Symposium," which praised man-boy relationships should've been a red flag.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (4 ):
Kids say (3 ):

This journey to find a comfortable identity is at different times painful, moving, surprising, and even funny. Author-illustrator Maia Kobabe's simple, straightforward drawings and open, honest accounts make Gender Queer: A Memoir an important resource for mature, gender-nonconforming teens and people who want to better understand them.

The ending doesn't provide a sense of closure, but maybe that's appropriate for what many people experience as a lifelong process. Importantly, the story does provide a lot of food for thought as well as a framework for talking about gender and sexuality with care and concern. Frank talk about, and specific illustrations of, sexual activity make it best for older teens and up.

Book Details

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