To celebrate the paperback release of their debut book, Sissy: A Coming-of-Gender Story, non-binary author, actor and producer Jacob Tobia held a reading and book-signing event March 5 at Women & Children First in Andersonville.
Tobia was named one of the Forbes 30 under 30 in 2018, and was an OUT 100 honoree in 2016. They voiced the non-binary character Double Trouble for Netflix's She-Ra and The Princess of Power, their writing has been featured in numerous publications and they were a Point Foundation scholar. Additionally, Showtime has optioned Tobia's book.
"Chicago has a special place in my queer heart," Tobia told the large crowd. "It is the first place that I learned I could shave my own head. It was the first place I got a proper queer lady undercut all the way around [my head]. That has stuck with me. My hair tingles when I come back here and it is not just from the cold."
Prior to reading from their book, Tobia read from a recent issue of Lesbian ConnectionLesbians and Our Pets' Part Three Continuedbecause the title of the section caught their eye earlier that evening.
Tobia said they call book readings story time because they want to get back in touch with their child-like self.
"I feel that so much of gender and the way we understand it is ingrained in us when we are so young," said Tobia. "I really do not feel like we can do the work of liberating ourselves from the gender binary of fully understanding and healing our gender-based trauma unless we access, celebrate and live in that child-like curiosity once again."
Tobia spoke about doing the audio recording of the book. They said the free audio sample Penguin Random House includes on their website, the first part of chapter one, "became the stand-in for the entire text."
This was the part of the book Tobia read from at the event. It chronicled how, as a child, Tobia had no shame about their gender.
Then Tobia read two other sections of their book before doing a brief Q&A and book signing.
See JacobTobia.com .