I’m actually a little surprised – and very excited – to report that I just read a new trans book I really liked: Sorted by Jackson Bird. Not to be a jerk, but the prospect of YETA (Yet Another Trans Autobiography) usually fills me with dread. I’ve read way too many of them and they tend to repeat themselves.
But this one I liked. I was only vaguely familiar with Jackson Bird as I’m not much of a YouTuber – I prefer reading over listening or watching things for info – and while I expected this to be the regular I was born / my gender wasn’t right / some bad shit happened / I transitioned narrative, it wasn’t. Overall it’s a great introduction to trans identity: Bird’s voice is engaging and warm and funny, and his informational sidebars – on things like hormones and pronouns – are pretty much on the money, brief, well worded, and smart.
There are still too few autobiographies by trans guys and even fewer by trans men who attempted – much less thrived in – a very feminine presentation. There was Matt Kailey’s Just Add Hormones – rest in peace, Matt – and … and …. you get my point.
Bird’s telling of his story articulates an important generational difference: his work unraveling his gender identity comes before and during his complications with sexuality. For those of you who are older, or who have only read narratives of older transitioners, this book is a good way to change your perspective on how people experience trans identity, and to put aside some presumptions about how people come to realize their need to transition.
(Personally that’s still a puzzling thing to me: so much of what Bird describes is so similar to my experience except for that “oh, I’m a man” moment. I am trying to write about being gendery/non binary but not trans in the new book, promise.)
If you’re on the feminine spectrum of things, this is a good book to see how the other half lives. If I’ve got any criticism, it’s that there’s a lot of privilege being expressed, but I also think he’d be the first one to admit as much.
Check him out. He’s got a bunch of videos but I liked this one especially for demystifying the sexual orientation/gender identity issue: