A note to my parents: Though I have struggled with being your daughter, I am so, so glad that I am your child.
Maia Kobabe wrote an unforgettable opinion piece in the Washington Post when e learned that schools were banning er book. To put some balance back in the universe, I immediately bought the book. When I finished it an hour later, I purchased two more.
Maia is the author of _Gender Queer: A Memoir. _Here is a quote from Maia's Washington Post opinion piece:
When I was on book tour in 2019, I was asked many times, “What age of reader do you recommend this book for?” I would generally answer, “High school and above,” but the truth is, the readers I primarily wrote it for were my own parents and extended family. When I was first coming out as nonbinary, I kept getting responses along the lines of, “We love you, we support you, but we have no idea what you are talking about.”
We look to writers and artists to tell other people's stories, including their own, so that we can better understand the world around us.
Anne Lamott writes in Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life that her father "was the person on whom his friends relied to tell their stories, in school and college. I know for sure that he was later, in the town where he was raising his children... People looked to him to put into words what was going on."
Bird by Bird mentions Anne's father being stopped on the street, with people taking "his hand in both of theirs, as if he had done them some personal favor. Later that summer I came to know how they felt, when I read Catcher in the Rye for the first time and knew what it was like to have someone speak for me, to close a book with a sense of both triumph and relief, one lonely isolated social animal finally making contact."
The song pairing for this book quote is Shallow (from A Star Is Born), not just because of the lyrics that describe getting into the deep, but also because of Lady Gaga's long-time support of the LGBTQ community.
The song in a way also maps my own journey. Have you ever struggled with understanding someone you love? That amid the unbreakable bonds of affection, there were also patches of disconnect? That despite brimming with unconditional love in our hearts, there are currents that seem to sweep us far from those shores? In our search for understanding, it sometimes feels like we are swimming in the deep.
Remember how it feels to take a deep breath and dive to the bottom of the sea, and how after ten or more feet, your lungs feel like a balloon wanting to propel you back toward the surface, and your ears feel the pressure warning you that this is not your element? That you don't have a lot of time to stay in these depths.
That's how the gap feels when you love someone and don't understand how you might have hurt them.
Thank you Maia Kobabe for writing and drawing about yourself in a way that will help me understand those I love that much more closely.
Gender Queer: A Memoir Excerpts from my first graphic novel, published in May 2019 by Lion Forge Comics
Opinion: Schools are banning my book. But queer kids need queer stories
Maia Kobabe: Comics and Illustration
Maia Kobabe: Queer Love, Actually
Video: Maia Kobabe Explains Why Talking to Eir Aunt About GENDER QUEER was so Hard
Shallow (from A Star Is Born)
Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper