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BOOK REVIEW Ask a Queer Chick: A Guide to Sex, Love and Life for Girls Who Dig Girls
by Liz Baudler
2016-06-22

This article shared 875 times since Wed Jun 22, 2016
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By Lindsay King-Miller. $16; Plume; 237 pages

Ask a Queer Chick is a product of the Internet age: Lindsay King-Miller started writing the column of the same name on the website The Hairpin. As such, the writing feels down-to-earth and the advice loose enough to be relevant at any point in the future. In fact, the book doesn't read quite like advice, but more as considerations for the newly out queer lady.That's not to say that King-Miller won't tell readers what to do, but she does it so well they'll probably nod and acquiesce without a fight.

King-Miller had me from the introduction, where she gives a simple yet nuanced encouragement to those uncertain of what they are in the queer pantheon. "If there's a word you think that might suit you," she writes, "try it on for a week, a month or a year and see how it feels. Maybe it will be a perfect fit; maybe it will be a little too tight in the shoulders and you'll want to trade it in, or at least make some alterations."

So often, queer media assumes that queer identity is static: There's pressure to identify with some group of people and King-Miller dispenses with that elegantly. In terms of finding said group of people, King-Miller empowers readers to start their own community, an idea that seemingly stems from the assumption of fluid identity and also feels fairly radical: I could see a guide from decades ago giving pointers on how to fit in with the local lesbian softball team.

Ask a Queer Chick hits all the main points, from coming out, to getting the "queer haircut," getting and romancing a date, to breakup and marriage. This is an odd statement, but the guide is surprisingly strong when it's not talking to its intended audience. King includes a whole chapter for straight allies and gives them really solid recommendation for handling coming out and meeting their queer beloved's partner. Particularly helpful is a reminder about allyship and its responsibilities. "Real support is not performance art," King admonishes. Along similar lines, Ask a Queer Girl makes a genuine effort to reach out to queer trans women. King admits that she is not trans and seeks out the input of transwomen when writing about trans topics.

This guide might not appeal to an older person, whose ideas about the LGBTQ community are more set and perhaps come from a place of defensiveness about their identity. ( The word "queer," for instance, might turn off an older crowd. ) But as speaking as part of the demographic who grew up on Facebook calls themselves queer and thinks about their privilege, I can tell you that Ask a Queer Chick rings absolutely right, and I'd challenge an older woman to pick it up and learn a bit about how her queer daughters might be raised.


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