Welcome back to 30 Days of Pride on Ace Of Bens! Today, Harker is here to talk about some books that have made them feel seen. (And they happen to be books I also love.) Talking about representation is a great way to talk about pride, so I hope y’all enjoy their post!
I grew up in a small town. Throughout school, I was not exposed to a lot of queer culture. I’m not sure I even knew there were more identities than gay, lesbian, or bisexual for most of my teen years, which upon reflection makes me very sad. If I’d known earlier about, well, a lot of things, maybe other things would’ve been different in life.
From where I am now, though, seeing books published that showcase various gender, romantic, and sexuality identities, I feel better. These books, these stories are what I needed when I was growing up. Finding them now has been enormously helpful in figuring some s*** out and knowing that they’ll be on the shelf for young people in my former position to find gives me some hope.
For 30 Days of Pride, I struggled for a bit with what to write about. It’s been a confusing time of late because there are still aspects of my personal identity that I’m trying to figure out. I don’t like not having answers, but something like this might not necessarily be something that is a “find all the answers permanently” kind of thing. That’s hard to grasp each day. Today, though, when I opened up my laptop, I thought that maybe I’d share the books that have, up to this stage, helped me find pieces of myself, the ones that help keep me together so that I can keep searching for answers or more books or just survive each day, finding a new reason each day to keep going. Sometimes, one day at a time is all I can ask for. Reading can be that and, sometimes, that’s enough.
I WISH YOU ALL THE BEST by Mason Deaver
Ben’s narrative in this story reminds me a great deal about what would happen if I were to come out to my parents, something that I am quite confident will never happen because of just what happens between Ben and their parents over the course of the story. The misgendering, the pain, it’s all too familiar.
However, the friendships that Ben develops, the peace they’re able to find, the courage they have, it in parts reminds me of the friends I’ve made online with the LGBTQIA+ community and the courage that I someday hope to have in real life, to make sure that people respect me for me and use the proper pronouns.
LET’S TALK ABOUT LOVE by Claire Kann
Alice is a biromantic asexual young woman who faces pressure from a few angles: her girlfriend refuses to understand her sexuality, her family refuses to understand her ambitions which differ from their plans for her. It’s a mess and the pressure was something that I understood because I put a lot of that pressure on myself. It’s a silent kind of pressure in our family. That silent disappointment and guilt are terrible.
The way Alice talked about her sexuality, it was one of the first times I’ve ever seen asexuality talked about in a way that was organic, that didn’t feel too clinical. It felt like I was being talked with rather than explained to and that made me more comfortable with something I’d been wondering about for a long time.
YES, YOU ARE TRANS ENOUGH by Mia Violet
Admittedly, I have not quite finished Mia Violet’s book quite yet. However, that being said, 20% in and I already feel entirely welcomed by her text.
One of the things I was wondering when trying to figure out my gender identity (agender? non-binary?) was…did this mean I was trans? Google was “eh” at best and I can’t remember exactly how I found this book, but it was lucky I did because Mia writes very well about not only her experience but about being accepting to those who are in the same (questioning) position. As the title says “yes, you are trans enough”.
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