cbr15bingo sex: how sex and gender are two things, but also how that plays a role in relationships, especially as we age and learn more about ourselves.
An intense, mature subject matter exploration of one person’s journey into what it means to be intersexed and transgender is shown on the pages of At 30, I Realized I Had No Gender: Life Lessons From a 50-Year-Old After Two Decades of Self-Discovery. Shou Arai gives us the ins and outs of sex, presentation and so much more. It can be a bit awkward to read online, as it is in the Japanese manga style (which I did, though the book is currently available). It is busy and a lot of information is included. However it is an interesting piece of non-fiction that can read almost as if friends are sitting around having a conversation about stuff.
I found the book a bit emotional at times. Their struggle (as an FYI I will use the name of the author or they/them as I was a bit confused as to their current pronouns) unfolds not exactly linearly but in a manner that makes sense to them. There is repetition, especially in the beginning, but it is all important. There are references to people and other works that I was unfamiliar with, but does not take away from things completely. There is also an interview with another couple (Shou Arai and their partner are the narrators of things), that I skimmed. The medium issue I had was that they assume you know about their work and the film they made that this book feels like it is a companion to.
The biggest issue was the illustrations. They are fun, interesting, and respectful. I liked them, but they were not my “cup of tea” at the same time. I like how they used humor to show things (nudity in the bath house has little faces over important parts). Yet, at the same time, there are parts where a male’s penis is right there. It is adult, especially when it comes to the sexual aspects (near the end they talk to a FTM person about their much older male partner, and because of that they have talk about “incest play,” but it is not explicit). Therefore, this is not for everyone.
Overall, I liked this book. I might not read it again, or find other works by them, but I think if you are looking for something different than the American/Western graphic novels, this is a candidate. Also, if you are interested in gender this might be what you need to read.