Today, I am showcasing a small book that has a big, important message. Beyond the Gender Binary by Alok Vaid-Menon is a pocket-sized introduction to gender and the non-binary community.
I am a huge fan of Alok. Their podcasts, artist work and Instagram are full of joy, inspiration and powerful messages on mental health and LGBTQ+ issues. In Beyond the Gender Binary, Alok gives an honest and heartfelt insight into life as a gender-nonconforming transfeminine person of colour. They eloquently explain what the gender binary is and what it means to be gender fluid.
I read Beyond the Gender Binary in one sitting. Then I read it again, and again. And each time I took more from it. There is A LOT to digest in this book and it will make you stop and think about the world in a different way. The book is split into two main sections. The first is an account of Alok’s childhood and their journey of self-acceptance. The second section focuses on some of the key questions and resistance gender-nonconforming people face. Alok provides practical and helpful advice to those of us who are looking to be better allies.
I have previously recommended Have Pride which has a poignant and beautiful harmony between facts about the history of the global LGBTQ+ movement, and the experiences of young people from the community today. Beyond the Gender Binary works exceptionally well alongside this book. I wish every secondary school and library had copies of these two informative, inclusive and inspirational books.
Published by Penguin Workshop, 2 June 2020, illustrated by Ashley Lukashevsky