*I received this book from NetGalley in return for a fair review.*
Ask a Queer Chick: A Guide to Sex, Love, and Life for Girls Who Dig Girls
by Lindsay King-Miller
Date: February 2 2016
Rating: 4.0 out of 5.0
Read: January 23 to January 26 2016
My first book by this author. This is not my first LGBT nonfiction that I’ve read, but it is the first that I’ve read that is about current events. Well, no, I read that book about . . . okay, let me rephrase. This is the first LGBT nonfiction book about that appears to have been written from the millennial generation perspective.
I’m not actually sure if the book is from that perspective, especially since the author information is empty on GoodReads, but it certainly appeared to be from a millennial generation perspective.
Right so: a) No, I’ve never read the online version of ‘Ask a Queer Chick’ advice column; b) I’ve forgotten what b is; c) b might have been: this is a nonfiction book, I do not have a ‘set’ way to review nonfiction books, nor have a method to rate nonfiction books. I shall now stumble through some thoughts and hopefully they will be helpful to others.
There are certain reoccurring formatting errors that pop up in this book. I assume that this is because I’m reading an uncorrected proof, or an ARC, or whatever words work here, and therefore do not, in any way, add or subtract ‘points’ because of those errors. Many of which involve words running together. As in I’meatingsomecheesenow. I do not hold the author or book accountable for these specific issues.
This book is a nonfiction work written by the advice columnist at The Hairpin who writes a column, as you might suspect, called ‘Ask a Queer Chick’. The column is for, well anyone I suppose, who has questions regarding the queer women (which, and this is stressed, includes those women who are, in one shape or form, transgender (which is how discussions about penis-in-vagina got into the book, I assume); it is stressed, also, though that the author of the book is not an expert on transgender issues). The author herself is, and she has called herself several things over the years, a bisexual queer married woman. I suppose it may be of importance, since I noted the bisexual part, to note that she is married to a woman.
The book, like the column, is basically for anyone. Specifically designed for bi/queer/lesbian women, but there’s a chapter for ‘friends of/adjacent/family/etc’ who wish to learn more about what they should know.
The book is not set up in a question and answer format, but in a more narrative form – written based on questions the author had received (and, presumably, answered), plus conversations she has had with transgender people.
The book is quite informative. While it might drag near the end, and be oddly fixated on certain issues, it still was quite informative and actually quite fun to read.
The book opens with, well, let me just follow the table of contents and include some of my own words under the headings:
Introduction: How Do You Know You’re a Queer Chick?
- This book is for everyone. Though specifically geared for those who are girls who like girls. Girls includes those who might have been born in a body designated differently than they, the person inhabiting the body, believe it should have been designated. As long as they like girls. Trans-issues, though, are not a subject the author is an authority on.
Chapter 1: Coming Out
- An interesting examination of when to come out, how to come out, various methods (one-on-one; social media; hand written letters; etc.); and how bisexual women will routinely have to keep coming out over and over again, to the same people.
Chapter 2: Of Mullets and Motorcycles: Your Guide to the Subculture
- While getting a ‘lesbian’ haircut is something like a rite of passage (and getting the shortest haircut you can force yourself to get at least once in your life), get the hair that ‘works’ for you instead of stressing about whether or not ‘your hair’ is ‘queer enough’.
Chapter 3: Don’t Stare at Her Rack Too Much, and Other Advice on Dating
- Be aware that people are people. They are individuals. If you see someone who looks like they have modeled themselves on the most stereotypical representation of butch women that does not mean that they themselves are stereotypes. Maybe the woman you are looking at, regardless of how they look, likes to cook, doesn’t like to cook, likes to work on car engines, likes to ride Harleys, likes . . . etc. People are people. Don’t assume.
Chapter 4: But What Can Two Girls Do?: Your Guide to Queer Sex.
- Lots and lots of stuff. Including fisting. There’s a graphic description of how to fist another woman included in this book, free of charge.
- Most importantly, though, don’t ‘assume’ that what you see in porn is what two ‘real’ queer women do with each other, nor assume that just because something like scissoring can start fist-fights in bars, that there aren’t, in fact, some real queer women who just love to engage in scissoring.
- Do what you like. Communication is super important.
Chapter 5: A Queer Chick’s Guide to Heartbreak
- Hmms. What do I recall? Everyone will have their heart broken at some point in their lives, don’t hide yourself away fearing this issue.
Chapter 6: Bi Any Means Necessary: Notes on Non-Monosexuality
- Bisexuality (or whichever word you choose, pansexual, etc.) is real. It is not a privilege (i.e., there’s a believe that bisexual people have the privilege, the bisexual privilege, of being able to ‘chose’ to be with a person of the opposite gender and therefore ‘pretend’ to be ‘normal’. This is not actually a privilege, and is in fact something of a burden. Bisexuality is real. Just because that, sometimes, might result in a man and a woman dating, does not mean that the person who is bisexual is not still queer/a member/part of LGBTIA. That’s what the B in LGBTIA stands for. Bisexual.
Chapter 7: I’m Not Gay, but My Sister Is: Advice for Straight People
- Here are some terms to use, mostly in general. If the person who you are speaking with has told you the terms they like to be referred to as, then use those terms with them. If you over hear them using terms which are and/or can be slurs or the like, don’t use them yourself.
- If you suspect someone is queer, do not confront them. Let them tell you when they wish to tell you.
- If you see/over hear someone making slurs, or the like, being bigoted, stand up for queer people. Don’t let them get away with it. If it is someone you cannot ‘cut from your life’ then just let them know that what they are saying isn’t ‘okay’ with you, and redirect conversation elsewhere.
- The A in LGBTIA does not stand for Alley. Despite the previous point, it isn’t your fight. You can help, but you are in no position to say/argue/demand that someone that actually is LGBTIA follow what you have learned. A, by the way, stands for asexual (it also stands for other things, but in this specific instance, the author says it stands for Asexual, not alley).
- Oh, and, the LGBTIA person is not obligated to teach you stuff. Do your own research.
Chapter 8: Haters Gonna Hate: Dealing with Discrimination
- Regardless of what you might wish, or how the world currently is ‘evolving’ (not a word actually used in the book, I don’t think), some people are just incapable of ‘accepting’. They are going to hate. You, the LGBTIA person, are not obligated to teach them.
Chapter 9: If You Liked It, Then You Should Have Put a Ring on It: Marriage
- Marriage is very important. There are, if I recall the number right . . I can’t, okay, there’s some organization that said that there are something like 116 legal benefits for two people getting married.
- Despite the win in the Supreme Court, there are still states wherein two queer people cannot currently marry, legally. Though, because of the Supreme Court, their marriage elsewhere has to be respected.
- Marriage equality is/was/and will be important, but it’s not the only thing out there that needs to be addressed. Nor is it really that important, it’s importance is kind of minor, compared to other issues. (This is one of the times, of several, wherein the author kind of got fixated on certain things. One moment marriage is super important, the next it is/was of minor importance; now it’s back to being super important; yo-yo; main point, though, was that there are more issues out there that need to be addressed, like the statistically large number of health, education, and other issues that queer people face).
Chapter 10: It’s Not Good Enough Until It’s Amazing
- Don’t settle
This is an interesting and informative book. There were certain points where I felt like the millennial point of view is more important than my own (see: terms to be used and comments made on how older people need to inform themselves about what words now mean inside the community). But those were just passing thoughts.
I’d recommend the book to others, inside and outside the LGBTIA community, especially if they happen to be a queer woman and/or know one; and or wish to date one.
I’ll end with my favorite quote from the book:
'The first rule of Bi Club is that you can talk about Bi Club all you want, because most people won't believe it's real anyway.'
January 26 2016