In: Expanding the Rainbow
In: Privilege Through the Looking-Glass
In: Scientists and Poets #Resist
Author: Shalen Lowell
What if normative gender standards were legally enforced? How would our institutions inform and enforce these rules and regulations? What would be the consequences of failing to comply with gender expression standards? It’s in the midst of this maelstrom that we join Alex, our genderfluid and nonbinary protagonist who, during the thick of their adolescence, must navigate the choppy waters of lust, love, friendship, schooling, loss, and their city’s rigid – and perhaps lethal – gender expectations. In this world, Alex must constantly exchange their true self for safety and compliance, a relentless transaction from which they feel they never will escape. Can they navigate this slippery slope, alongside their patchwork community of friends and allies? Or is arrest and social persecution inevitable?

This novel is an honest and raw examination of queer lives. Gender Optics will illustrate, interrogate, and challenge the harmful products of binary hegemonic systems that all too often push gender variant folks to the fringes of society. While Gender Optics can be read purely for pleasure, it can also be used as supplemental reading for courses in critical theory, gender theory, gender and sexuality studies, LGBTQ studies, intersectionality, and arts-based research.