Quick and Easy Guides From Limerence Press: Queer & Trans Identities, Sex & Disability
Limerence Press, an imprint of Oni Press dedicated to “quality erotica, sex education, and gender and sexuality studies comics,” has a line of guides on tricky topics. Suitable for older teens and adults, these graphic novels aren’t afraid to tackle issues of current interest, and they’re written from knowledgeable perspectives, with creators that can personally speak to the subject matter, giving them an autobiographical overlay that makes the material easy to relate to, no matter one’s previous familiarity with the topic.
I previously reviewed A Quick & Easy Guide to They/Them Pronouns by Archie Bongiovanni and Tristan Jimerson. Grammar isn’t the usual topic of sex education books — but in this case, advice on how to use gender-neutral pronouns makes for a wonderful introduction to the concept of non-binary identities. The book makes its points, such as the rudeness and pain of misgendering, quickly and directly and so works well as a handout.
The second in the series is A Quick & Easy Guide to Queer & Trans Identities by Mady G. and J.R. Zuckerberg. The first book set a high bar, and this doesn’t live up to it. Although its goals are admirable — to assist people in self-identification for the purpose of building community and overcoming shame — the execution is muddled, and the book fails as a comic.
A bunch of snails observing a campout discuss what it means to be queer. At the end of each chapter/topic, there’s a section with “sproutlings,” fantasy creatures that describe themselves as “children of the forest” and who have a perfect society with a variety of ways to love one another. The two approaches don’t work together well.
The dialogue is heavy, with complicated vocabulary patterns, and the book often reads as a decorated lecture. The unnecessary device of having the snails talk about the topics can be off-putting, and it also means that the art rarely contributes to the content, as the text carries all the meaning. The colors are pink and yellow, which adds a faded, sickly feel over top. Some may find the times when white text is used on light colors physically difficult to read.
Where the previous book seemed to forget the “quick” and “easy” parts of the series, A Quick & Easy Guide to Sex & Disability by A. Andrews embraces the approach. The art style is once again in the simple, reader-facing format of the first, although this time, it’s in color, which is welcoming.
The author, A, is a queer, paraplegic cartoonist who wants to increase communication around sex and intimacy. They aim to cover all types of bodies, and the visual language here supports that goal. They also want to move past academic discussions and clinical language to something more approachable that supports enjoyment of sex.
A acknowledges the wide variety of types of disabilities, and given the topic, this book focuses most on “physical accessibility needs and considerations in sex.” A’s also got a wicked sense of humor, as when expressing their dismay at the attitude that this topic is unnecessary, with the repeated image of a slamming door.
Topics covered include myths about disabled bodies, the importance of communication, self-care techniques, and how to prepare (tools and techniques). Throughout, A keeps a realistic but encouraging and optimistic attitude that’s a great model for everyone, no matter their physical body, in how to deal with sex and intimacy.
This is a more specialized topic than the previous, but it’s a valuable read that provides lessons for anyone about accepting themselves, maintaining a positive sense of self-worth, and seeking pleasure realistically.