Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Queer Sex by Juno Roche (#trans #nonbinary)

While I struggled with some aspects of the interviews (particularly the talk - and assumptions - of drug abuse), and found the narration a little jarring (I had to reread some paragraphs multiple times to get the sense what was being said), Queer Sex was still an interesting read. A Trans and Non-Binary Guide to Intimacy, Pleasure and Relationships flips the gender conversation on its head and makes it about something we are increasingly told should not matter - sex, surgery, and genitals.

Juno Roche uses her own experience as a trans woman to frame the book, talking about her struggles with her neo-vagina, and her troubles with sex and intimacy. Along the way she interviews a wide range of transgender, non-binary, and gender nonconforming people, talking to them about their experiences pre, post, and non transition. Their experiences range from painful stories of bullying and abuse (sometimes self-abuse) to joyful stories of love and affection. There are relationships based on group sex, Tantric masturbation, kissing, and self-intimacy. In some cases penetration is the goal, and in others it is something to be avoided at all costs.

Even knowing as much as I do about the trans community and trans issues, the amount of detail surrounding gender reassignment surgery was still astounding. I knew about the mechanics of things like dilating, but the logistics of depth and width, of construction and placement, and of appearance were fascinating. It is so easy to think of surgery as a be-all and end-all, but we learn that it is just another stage, another step, another tool in the process of self-love. 

Most importantly, Queer Sex reinforces the understanding that masculine/feminine, male/female, and straight/gay do not necessarily correspond to one another. Love and intimacy can be found in any combination, and what works for you does not have to work for anyone else.
I tried to transition back in the dark ages but the landscape wasn’t there; the language, the cultural reference points, the structures and certainly not the policy. The word ‘transgender’ was lacking in almost any Equalities policy, some would contain the letters ‘LGBT’ but few knew anything about the T and even fewer knew that transgender people had a legal right to keep their jobs through the process of transitioning.

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