The Book of Non-Binary Joy – Ben Pechey

Well heck, here’s a book I couldn’t possibly see and not be immediately in need of. Like any marginalisation it comes with it’s own set of issues–and those who also belong to other marginalised groups feel the bite extra.

If you don’t know yet, here it it: I’m non-binary. I’m also disabled, with mental illness. Each of these things makes life harder–and bear in mind I’m still white, and masc, and unless someone knows otherwise they’ll assume I’m a cishet male (because my wife is female).

I’m not a cishet male. I reject that label utterly and completely. But tell the world that. The world obsessed with forcing people into boxes. The world trying right at this very moment to use any means necessary to remove trans people’s existence. The world that translates non-binary as a femme guy, or an androgynous girl–both things I am definitely not.

Seeing myself so incredibly rarely represented, and feeling the trauma and terror of a world that wants me and my trans siblings to either die, or never dare come out at all, means finding a book like this is a Big Deal.

Finding joy in who I am, not despite it, is really important. When other people just want to stamp you out, when dysphoria hits, when you feel alone, you have to find something beyond the pain.

This book, from the opening sentence to the very end, is that something. IT does exactly what it says on the cover–here are various writers, acknowledging the pain, but celebrating the joy of being themselves.

I don’t want to pick any out as better or worse–they all have relevance, and will all resonate differently at different moments, but even when tears came reading this, they weren’t sad or angry or defeated. They were tears of acceptance, of love, of feeling seen and understood.

Non-binary folk, this book is entirely and completely for us.

Cis folk, as Pechey says at the beginning, this book wasn’t written for you. Of course you are welcome to read, but do so quietly, and in order to learn not to comment.

Within these pages is a truth bigger and greater than any law or bigot can possibly understand: being non-binary is its own joy and reward.

The Book of Non-Binary Joy was released on May 19th 2022. Get it at Amazon US, UK, or your favourite bookseller or library.


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