Foreword Reviews

What's the T?

The Guide to All Things Trans and/or Nonbinary

A companion book to Juno Dawson’s earlier This Book Is Gay, What’s the T? takes a phrase from New York City’s 1980s drag ball scene that means “What’s the truth?” and uses it to unpack the joys, difficulties, and realities experienced by transgender and nonbinary people today.

A guide to all things trans and/or nonbinary that’s aimed at adolescents but apropos for anyone who feels like a novice when it comes to these topics, the book is divided into three sections: All About Identity, Trans Life, and Help and Advice. The information is presented in a lighthearted, conversational way, belying just how much vital information is packed into every page.

Between comic-book-style infographics and illustrations, self-depreciating jokes, and references to committed transphobes as “weenies,” this book presents 101-level information, interviews with a wide variety of transgender and nonbinary people, and Hall of Fame highlights about famous transgender and nonbinary people, including Janet Mock, Asia Kate Dillon, Thomas Beatie, Ayla Holdom, Chaz Bono, and Shane Ortega.

Dawson’s levity is balanced by thoughtful self-reflection. Dawson herself transitioned six years ago, in part from recognizing her own experience in the stories of the people she interviewed for her first book. Although much of the current book relies on personal sharing, she’s clear that no one person speaks for a whole community. She balances her own experiences with passing the mic to others through interviews and research. Throughout, the book rejects the pathologizing of trans lives and emphasizes the bodily autonomy and self-determination of trans people as essential.

What’s the T? discusses a range of topics that fall under the transgender and nonbinary umbrella with honesty, a few jokes, and an abundance of grace.

Reviewed by Letitia Montgomery-Rodgers

Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The publisher of this book provided free copies of the book to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. No fee was paid by the publisher for this review. Foreword Reviews only recommends books that we love. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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