Maia Kobabe's graphic novel/memoir 'Gender Queer' is getting a lot of attention partly because it's getting banned and partly because TRAs view it as helpful to people trying to understand gender ideology. I just finished reading it, making an effort to keep an open mind, and have to say I found it most unhelpful.
The only fully fleshed-out character in the book is the author. Everyone else seems to be a prop in her voyage of self discovery. When the enby protagonist's aunt says she feels like trans ideology is deeply misogynistic, the protagonist is horrified. What she offers: 'I can't explain why it's not misogynistic, it's just not. I may never be able to explain why.' (This helps skeptics understand how, exactly?)
At another point, the mother, exhausted from being taken to task for forgetting to use her adult daughter's new made-up pronouns throws up her hands and says, 'why are you doing this to us?' The protagonist feels terrible, but has no answer for her, other than 'you'll get used to it.'
She is only happy when she's affirmed, and it's bizarre how she portrays herself as GLOWING with happiness when it happens. It doesn't matter what the affirmers think or feel when they're affirming, only that they do it.
The book makes the author seem like a combination of more ordinary than she thinks, child-like, narcissistic and mentally ill. It was a depressing read and made me feel hopeless, because this is entrenched culture for people her age now--it makes perfect sense to them, and that's why they can't see that this book won't help people who aren't already on board understand anything but that their enby loved one is extremely emotionally fragile and needs to be handled as gently as if she were an egg, no matter how irritating it might be to do so.
The big missing piece of the picture is other people--the greater social context. The author wants to wrap society around her like a cape, so she and her needs are centered. She doesn't want to understand people who disagree with her, only to have them understand her as she prefers to be understood. She wants people to respond to what she wants from them but doesn't really care about what they want from her. Pretty depressing stuff. The artwork is good though.
I'm going to go read 'Fun Home' now as a palate cleanser.