In Transit: Being Non-Binary in a World of Dichotomies by Dianna E. Anderson
Xolo Score 2.75/5
Dianna E. Anderson explores the non-binary identity through an academic, historical, and personal context. The book discusses how the non-binary identity fits in with other queer and trans communities. Anderson also reflects on their journey of adopting their non-binary identity and finding the joy within it. In Transit offers a space for readers to learn and explore the context of gender nonconformity and challenge us to see beyond the strict gender roles society imposes.
*** SPOILERS AHEAD ***
Although it can be challenging to read through the historical parts of the book, Anderson contextualizes that history with their adoption of the non-binary identity. While people around her explored their gendered identities, Anderson found validation and belonging outside the binary. Anderson also elaborates on how gender intersects with fatness in society. Fatness contradicts people’s ideas for both genders. And non-binary people are frequently expected to be white, thin, and androgynous. It keeps people, even within the Queer community, from acknowledging fat or BIPOC as non-binary.
The foundation of Anderson’s book is the need to challenge our current gender binary and its subsequent role in society. Anderson poses that “gender is a social, historical, and political reality that comes into play in our individual everyday lives in very material ways.” And that labeling the thinking or exploration of one’s gender as something strange or problematic is a cis-centric way to look at gender identity. And that, ultimately, gender exploration is not something that needs defending, especially against bigots.
In Transit has a lot of great insights and analysis on the complexities of being non-binary. Anderson compliments their own experiences with those of other non-binary and queer folks. But the book considerably lacks an in-depth perspective of BIPOC who identify as non-binary or gender non-conforming. Furthermore, Anderson fails to avoid perpetuating the harmful stereotype of the dangerous Black man lurking in the shadows, waiting to harm White women physically. Anderson’s lack of a diverse perspective of In Transit is a missed opportunity. We hope they consider integrating it into future books.
In Transit is a jumping-off point in contextualizing the non-binary identity that needs diversity incorporated into its analysis
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To what extent are there BIPOC leading characters or perspectives?
How well does the author avoid writing BIPOC experiences through the white gaze?
To what extent does the author challenge white-centered beliefs?
How well does the book explore nuances between intersectional identities?