The beauty of the comic is that it can make difficult issues and heavy ideas seem a bit lighter by way of playful illustrations and minimalist dialogue. This is the case with Alison Sayers’s Just So You Know #1, an autobiographical collection of comics that marks her unique journey into womanhood.
Sayers highlights the difficulties many trans* people face, including invasive questions, the mood swings that can accompany hormone therapy, and maintaining a professional identity mid-transition. But there are also glimpses into the joys and victories trans* women experience, such as growing breasts and a stranger’s unquestioning acceptance of feminine identity.
Sayers also provides a (very brief) guide to trans* terminology, using the term “transgender” as a broad term that describes gender-variant people and “transsexual” as a term that refers to people who takes steps to transition to her or his true gender. This book was published in 2009, and five years later, the word “transsexual” has largely fallen out of use. Some view it as a hateful term; some simply don’t regard it as precise or useful. Readers should note that today, it’s generally not advised to refer to someone as being transsexual unless he or she specifically describes himself or herself in that way.
This publication doesn’t really delve into complex social or political issues, such as legal hassles or employment discrimination. And that’s okay—there are certainly books that tackle these subjects. Sayers’s offering examines queer topics like coming out but also universally human experiences such as facing loss and falling in love. Just So You Know is a delightful glimpse into trans* life for teens and adults alike.
Written by Jamie, GLBTSSS Office Supervisor