Gender inequality may not be number one on the political agenda of all the world’s leaders and all the mainstream media – shame on them! – but we were still pretty psyched to see the release of a slate of top-notch feminist, LGBT and trans-aware books over the course of the last twelve months. Here are five of our favourites: buy them, read them, pass them to your friends! Solidarity!
Gender Failure, Ivan E. Coyote and Rae Spoon
Coyote and Spoon have collaborated on this multi-genre collection of essays, lyrics (they’re also musicians) and images about their respective experiences of being messed about by a society obsessed with the gender binary. This is to autobiography what a punch in the gut is to a slap on the shoulder. It’s courageous, open, funny, and very, very sad.
Bad Feminist, Roxane Gay
Gay has been something of a slow-burning sensation in US-literary circles over the past decade, with her fiction and non-fiction alike appearing in just about every journal you’d care to mention. 2014 saw the publication not only of her debut novel, An Untamed State, but also her first collection of essays, Bad Feminist, which explores her relationship with gender and sexuality, pop culture, food and body awareness and sexual violence; she’s an acute and accessible cultural commentator whom we should all be reading.
Body Counts: A Memoir of Politics, Sex, AIDS, and Survival, Sean Strub
This is a riveting memoir from the first openly HIV-positive candidate for U.S. Congress. Strub’s also the man behind POZ magazine and the producer of the Broadway hit The Night Larry Kramer Kissed Me, and the combo of cultural and political insight here makes for a truly fascinating read particularly into the world of AIDS activism.
Men Explain Things to Me: And Other Essays, Rebecca Solnit
Solnit’s book is generally accredited as the inspiration for one of 2014’s best neologisms – mansplaining – but there’s more to it than that: the title essay, in which Solnit explores her own experiences of the unbalanced conversational power dynamics between men and women, is the most famous, but the rest of the book doesn’t disappoint: there are six more essays on topics from Virginia Woolf to marriage equality.
Redefining Realness, Janet Mock
A memoir about being young, non-white, non-rich, and non-binary, this is an excellent read whether you identify as non-cis or cis-gendered: Mock is passionate and positive about her trans experience. We particularly dug the discussions about hegemonic standards of beauty and whether trans women ought to ‘pass’. Mock is also the founder of the trans women’s movement, #GirlsLikeUs – look it up!
Well, if those tickle your fancy, please don’t hesitate to recommend us more titles – there’s no such thing as too much to read.