Life is beautiful now that I’ve read Julia Kaye’s new graphic novel about the early days of her gender transtion, Super Late Bloomer. This is the Fun Home for transition stories. As soon as I finished reading it I cried and then thought about how lucky we all are that there’s a book that perfectly captures the feelings, frustrations and triumphs of transition this perfectly. Super Late Bloomer, which chronicles the first year of Julia’s life after she decided to transition, could turn any pessimist into the most ardent optimist.
Julia Kaye has made a diary showing every trans person thinking about coming out that they can do it. She’s honest about her struggles and she doesn’t gloss over any of the hard or scary parts. She shows the pitfalls and the joy of transition, and she shows that the joy far outweighs the bad. I want millions of teens to read this book. I want all of them to see that humans deserve love and happiness and the freedom and support to be who they are. I want all of them to know that about themselves, and for the trans ones to know that they deserve the happiness of transitioning.
For decades cis people have been telling trans coming out stories and stories about trans people at the start of our transitions. It’s a story that fascinates them because they can’t comprehend what it’s like to not identify with the gender you’re told to. Obviously trans people shouldn’t have to be humanized and it’s annoying that we have to tell these stories over and over again, but honestly, getting cis people to understand this early part of transitioning is definitely one of the best ways to get people to not just “accept” or “tolerate” trans people, but to affirm and support us. Super Late Bloomer is honestly the best comic I’ve ever seen if you’re looking for something to give to your friends or family members who you’re afraid might be uneducated on trans issues. This book humanizes the trans experience in this really beautiful and compassionate way that shows just how different trans narratives are when they’re told by trans people themselves. No more transition stories written by cis people, I only want ones written by Julia Kaye from now on.
Kaye has mastered this form of comic. Her little daily strips make the comic accessible for all sorts of ages and reading abilities. Her art style is so pleasant and really emotive. I love how you can see the way she draws herself grow and change through her transition and how she feels about her body and gender.
Now, Julia is just one woman, and so she can only tell her story, we also need transition stories from a wide variety of trans people, but I think most of you reading this will already know that. This book is honestly the pinnacle of its art form. It’s a guidebook that will last the years and be an important resource for queer libraries, bookstores, coffee shops, school LGBTQ clubs and bedrooms of trans kids deciding to come out for a long, long time.
New Releases (May 23)
BTVS Season 11 Giles #4
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.