A Quick & Easy Guide to They/Them Pronouns, by Archie Bongiovanni & Tristan Jimerson/Lettered by CRANK!, Designed by Kate Z. Stone, Edited by Ari Yarwood, (June 2018, Oni Press), $7.99, ISBN: 978-1-62010-499-6
Recommended for ages 13+
At the Urban Librarians Conference earlier this year, there were signs asking us to write our preferred pronouns on our name tags. I started thinking about gender, and how I take it for granted that people know what to call me based on how I look – and how I choose to gender people based on how they appear to me, and how easy it can be to misgender someone. It was an easy, great way to ask conference attendees to make sure everyone had a welcoming experience at the conference right off the bat.
Next, I was at BookExpo last week, and had a great conversation with a person at the Oni Press booth. I’m dipping into buying books for college-age patrons in our community, trying to get them back into our library, and saw some great books that would fit perfectly into that interest group. When the Oni editor handed me this little guide, I knew this was something special.
Archie is a snarky, genderqueer artist who’s sick and tired of being misgendered. Tristan is Archie’s cis male friend who’s trying to figure out the easiest way to introduce his diverse workplace to the wonderful world of gender neutral pronouns. Together, the two provide a smart, fun, and empathetic way to explain what pronouns are, how to use them, and most importantly, why they matter. Ever have someone say, “Excuse me, sir?” when you’re not a sir? Doesn’t feel great, does it? How about when someone pronounces your name wrong? I’ve been called Rosemarie more times than I can count in this life, and it irritates the living daylights out of me. Why? Because it’s not my name. And that’s how it feels to be misgendered: to feel ignored, like a mistake, like a joke. That’s the most valuable information readers will get from A Quick & Easy Guide to They/Them Pronouns: it’s a way of being considerate of others, fostering empathy and understanding and being a good ally.
Whoops! You slipped up and misgendered someone? The guide has you covered, with scripts in place to help you apologize without putting more of your foot in your mouth. Are you friends with someone – or even worse, have a family member – who refuses to get with the program, and thinks it’s hilarious when they misgender you? There are gentle guidelines for breaking up with people. Not sure how to come out as non-binary? They’ve got you covered here, too. There are reference charts for using pronouns in professional settings, everyday life, using alternative pronouns, and extra resources.
This is a small guide that reads up quick and to the point, and, at only $7.99, there’s no reason not to have multiple copies in libraries, schools, and workplaces everywhere. Get several copies of this for your middle school and YA sections, your adult sections, your workplaces. It’s a good way to show everyone you come into contact with that you care, that you’re committed to learning, that everyone is visible. A Quick & Easy Guide to They/Them Pronouns is available on 6/13.