Uncomfortable Labels: My Life as a Gay Autistic Trans Woman – Laura Kate Dale

I was given an e-Advanced Reader Copy of this novel through Netgalley. Many thanks to Netgalley and the Publisher for the opportunity to do so!

Laura Kate Dale’s Uncomfortable Labels: My Life as a Gay Autistic Trans Woman summarizes her life as a child through an adult, covering both her transition, diagnosis of being on the Autism Spectrum and her discovery of being gay. She talks about no only everyday things that are involved that are being part of these groups but also the long term effects on her and others that are involved in these groups.

Dale writes about how there is an overlap between being Autistic and Transgender, unfortunately, she only sources one article. While this is not my area of expertise, one article is not enough to prove that it is common. I was frustrated through the book when she stated things as facts but didn’t give the evidence to prove them to be so. All of the things that are presented as facts are not and that makes a lot of the attempted academical writing in this book to be moot.

I applaud her for talking about how things are when you’re transgender. The most striking thing that she brought up was “passing.” Where you have to pass as “looking female” or “looking male” to be considered the correct gender and avoid being misgendered. Bringing this up here made me realise the need to stopping thinking of people as the gender that they look but as the gender that they wish to be called, regardless of my perceptions. Not everyone is going to look “traditionally” male or female.

Unfortunately, a lot of things in this book were constantly repeated or she started to ramble. She at one point makes a statement about how her autism allowed her to focus and write four chapters in one train ride. Boy does that show. Dale meant to point out a good part of having autism but this statement is not a good one. Honestly, parts of this book remind me of unedited papers were things become muddled and unfocused. Of course there are good things about autism and hyperfocus can be one of them but that doesn’t mean that those 4 chapters should never be revisited. It progressively gets worse as the book goes on.

Dale has good intentions with this book but she falls short on the execution. I hope that before this book is fully published that she is able to add more resources, other than her personal experiences, and and remember that longer does not alway mean better.

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