A genderqueer young adult and adult debut science fiction and fantasy author, Dill Werner writes for The Knight Agency under president and senior agent, NYT bestselling author Deidre Knight. They focus on diverse, nonbinary and/or trans* characters that validate the identities, sexualities, and genders of both teens and adults a like.
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Navigating the In-Between: Demisexuality in YA Lit
I wrote a guest post on demisexuality in YA for the Gay YA's Asexuality Awareness Week, 2016.
Navigating the In-Between: Demisexuality in YA Lit by Dill Werner
I can only speak for one person when it comes to demisexuality—me. My experiences, my preferences, my sexuality, me. Being a queer demisexual means that I fall somewhere along a spectrum within a spectrum along another spectrum. I am a demisexual floating in the asexual spectrum hunched under the queer umbrella. It’s…complicated.
Demisexuality is a very individual and emotionally-linked experience, which makes it difficult to draw out an exact description of what it is to be demi. Being demi means my sexual orientation falls somewhere between asexual and sexual. I feel sexual attraction but not in the same way sexual people do. Demis need a deep, emotional bond in order to experience sexual attraction toward another person. Keep in mind that sexual arousal and sexual attraction are not the same thing. A person can be sexually aroused but not sexually attracted to someone, and no always means no.
Soon, I’ll have to get a new passport. In the United States, I am not allowed to declare my nonbinary gender on legal documents, or any forms, to be honest. It’s all binary—male or female. My trans* binary friends can have their gender markers changes to reflect their correct gender, but I am not afforded this privilege. I, simply put, am not recognized.
Like so many, I am misgendered on a daily basis. I go into the streets, plastered in buttons and laced with necklaces that declare my pronouns to be they/them and my ID as genderqueer. My armor, meant to protect, fails me. The voices echo, chanting, “Ma’am,” “Miss,” “she/her,” like bells I cannot silence.
My brain screams for me to correct them. Tell them who you are. That comes at the high cost of possibly being assaulted or having to give an entire lecture on what the f— I am. A person. I want to be a person, devoid of your gender biases, your expectations wrapped up in pink and blue ribbons. I am purple, white, and green. I am a mu…
Now that I'm out as a genderqueer person, I'm revisiting my review of BAD BOY by Elliot Wake to give content and trigger warnings for other folks. This is a trans book that contains detailed descriptions of what it means to transition from female to male written by someone who has undergone the process. If you aren't comfortable reading about these details, walk away. If you feel this might be too voyeuristic for you, walk away. If it will bring up to many thoughts or feelings of dysphoria, walk away. If hearing about TERFs and non-trans acceptance by family and friends is harmful to you, walk away. This book was influential in my life, but that's because I was in the right mindset to read it. I'm usually the one doing the vetting for others. I can handle a lot. I can handle dark and angry. If you can't, there's no problem in that. Take care of yourself and put this one aside.
If you have issues with any of the following, please reconsider reading this book …
Yesterday, I saw a re-post of a chalkboard sign that was taken outside of a bookstore. It listed “Women + Books News,” which included a list of female authors in SFF. I was thrilled. One of my favorite authors scored a well-earned seven-figure deal with TOR. An author from my agency won her second Hugo back-to-back. But then…my heart sank and I heard that evil dysphoric voice whispering in my ear: This will never include you. You’re non-binary trans*. I don’t fit. It would be easy to have lists say “Female and Non-Binary Authors.” However, the cisgaze means cis people don't think about these things. They don't think about us, the third genders. I'm not saying this solely for my comfort. More young people are identifying under the non-binary umbrella. We need to set an example for teens and young adults and provide a safe environment where they can express their gender without fear of exclusion. I personally want to set an example for my younger readers. It's a challenge t…