Nonbinary Gender Identities: History, Culture, Resources. Edited by Charlie McNabb. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2018. 283 p. Alkaline $75 (ISBN 978-1-4422-7551-5). E-book available (978-1-4422-7552-2), call for pricing.

Mainstream Western culture has become familiar with the acronym “LGBT,” which stands for “lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender.” While public and academic libraries have many resources for and about cisgender people who identify within the “LGB” population, they struggle to collect appropriate materials that address all aspects of the transgender experience, and many libraries still do not carry materials for and about those with nonbinary gender identities. An increasing number of students and parents are searching for information about nonbinary gender identities, which often is not visible or appropriately researched in LGBT resources. Charlie McNabb’s reference guide to nonbinary gender identities—the first of its kind—will fill this gap in our reference collections.

For those unfamiliar with the term, a nonbinary gender identity is one that does not conform to the traditional categories of “man” or “woman.” In Western English-speaking cultures, nonbinary gender identities include, but are not limited to, androgynous, genderfluid, genderqueer, and agender. In other cultures, people with nonbinary gender identities have always existed, but became marginalized or criminalized due to Western colonialization. In the twenty-first century, people with nonbinary gender identities remain misunderstood, exoticized, and underserved by the mainstream population.

McNabb is a librarian, cultural consultant, and archivist concerned with studying, preserving, and making materials dealing with marginalized communities accessible. McNabb provides cultural competency training and research support to academic libraries, nonprofits, and corporations, and their research focuses on nonbinary identities and experiences, queer and trans reproductive health, and disability justice. They have served on the ALA GLBTRT Resources Committee and developed an annotated bibliography of media related to nonbinary gender identities, which served as the genesis of this book. McNabb’s research background gives them the required context and connections to collect and describe information and resources for and about people with nonbinary gender identities in an objective, factual manner.

This single compact volume begins with a section called “(Hir)stories,” which provides an overview of nonbinary genders, a history of nonbinary visibility in the United States, nonbinary gender identities in other cultures, the depiction of nonbinary genders in popular culture, and brief biographies of notable nonbinary people. Each chapter in this section includes an extensive list of cited scholarly, popular, and primary sources. The second section is an exhaustive resources section, which includes a directory of archives and special collections devoted to nonbinary gender resources, nonfiction books, journals, theses and dissertations, fiction, online resources, and multimedia. The resources section also includes a directory of national and international organizations and associations that provide information and support for people with nonbinary gender identities. Last but not least, this resource guide includes a glossary of terms; pronouns used by those with nonbinary gender identities; a “primer” on sex, sexuality, and gender borrowed from current safe space training workshops; and a listing of appropriate Library of Congress subject headings that deal with nonbinary gender identities.

Nonbinary Gender Identities is appropriate for high school, academic, and large public library collections. So many students and professors are desperately searching for a guide like this, as traditional and historic LGBT reference resources do not usually cover nonbinary gender identities in depth. Major strengths of this book are its cultural inclusivity, its thoroughness in explaining terminology, and its concise, highly descriptive annotations for each resource listed. For best accessibility, libraries should purchase at least two copies, including an electronic copy for those who might not have a safe space to read the material.—Rachel Wexelbaum, Associate Professor / Collection Management Librarian, St. Cloud State University, St. Cloud, Minnesota


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