While it may seem easy enough to those of us who’ve had lots of practice, getting pronouns right is actually one of the things that cis people seem to have the hardest time with when it comes to small things to help trans people. Unfortunately, strict grammar rules have combined with cissexism and and just a reluctance to change to make it so that many people insist that they/them can’t be singular. We all know that that’s simply not true, but if you’ve got people in your life who could use some help, Archie Bongiovanni and Tristin Jimerson have a brand new book that will help explain not only how to use they/them and other gender neutral pronouns, but also explains why it’s so important.
You likely already know Bongiovanni from their work here at Autostraddle. They draw the Saturday Morning Cartoon Grease Bats. You might also know them from the Fist You Podcast or their queer truth-or-dare game Sweatgasm. They’ve illustrated this guide as well as co-written it. I like that they have both a non-binary queer person who uses they/them pronouns and a cis guy who uses he/him pronouns explaining all of this because it shows the importance of cis allies doing their part. Co-writer Tristin Jimerson does a good job of using his privilege to explain some things and take some of the burden so that Archie and non-binary people don’t have to do it alone.
The art style is Bongiovanni’s traditional style, but a little more cleaned up compared to what they usually do in Grease Bats — which is great, because it makes it more accessible to all the people who will need to read this book. The book is well organized in away that makes it easy to explain, and when things get confusing, Tristan will ask questions and Archie will explain them. The conversational style makes it even easier to teach they/them pronouns. They don’t even stop there; the book is chock full of scripts and real-life scenarios for you to practice using they/them pronouns.
I also really love the way that the writers have injected the book with some lightness and humor. You can tell that they were having fun while making this book, and that they’re friends who make a great team. This is a serious topic, but they don’t let that take all the fun out of it. Overall, this book is exactly what we need out of this kind of resource. There are a lot of ways to teach people how to be good allies to non-binary people and others who use they/them pronouns, but in my opinion, a comic book with two friends having a conversation about how, when and why to use them while also making jokes and funny faces is absolutely the best way.This book does a great job of explaining pronouns and non-binary gender to both people who already have an understanding of queerness and pronouns and people who might have no introduction to it at all. Like Archie says in the book, they do a good job of explaining things as if the reader is a baby. A Quick & Easy Guide to They/Them Pronouns is being published by Limerence Press and will be released June 13. Check it out on amazon.com or your local comic or book store.
New Releases (March 14)
Welcome to Drawn to Comics! From diary comics to superheroes, from webcomics to graphic novels – this is where we’ll be taking a look at comics by, featuring and for queer ladies. So whether you love to look at detailed personal accounts of other people’s lives, explore new and creative worlds, or you just love to see hot ladies in spandex, we’ve got something for you.
If you have a comic that you’d like to see me review, you can email me at mey [at] autostraddle [dot] com.