Title: The Pronoun Lowdown
Author: Nevo Zisin
Genre: Non-Fiction; LGBTQIA+ literature
Publisher: Smith Street Books
If you have no idea where to start with educating yourself about pronouns, gender diversity, and representation then Nevo Zisin’s new book is a wonderful start. The Pronoun Lowdown is an aesthetically pleasing, concise, and informative read which does exactly what it promises: demystifies and celebrates gender diversity. All the way through, readers will be given the basics about trans and gender diverse history, film and print representation, honorifics, misgendering, neopronouns, allyship, and many more topics. This list may include topics that readers are unfamiliar with, hence why this book is a great place to begin a journey towards better understanding others .
The Pronoun Lowdown begins with Zisin’s own complicated relationship with pronouns and ends with an informative glossary of terms—so no word is misunderstood—and an author’s note. Everything in between is insightful, clear, and eye-catching. From the bright colours that cover every page to the delightful drawings that accompany them, this is a book which is pleasing to the eye. But it is more than an aesthetically pleasing coffee table book. The Pronoun Lowdown takes a wide range of topics about gender diversity and presents them in an easy-to-digest form without glossing over anything or losing important details.
I personally found the ‘quick histories’ of trans and gender diverse people very eye-opening. As I have never learnt the history of trans and gender diverse people at any stage of my education, I feel I have now scratched the surface of a rich and complex history and am eager to learn more. Zisin covers significant dates over the past 110 years, across different countries, and presents the information in an easy-to-read timeline. Readers are called by Zisin to ‘seek out our (trans and gender diverse peoples’) stories that have been buried and burned, if you look close enough you will find us everywhere.’
A stand-out marker for me is that Zisin’s voice is so strong throughout; rather than creating a purely historical and factual textbook they have created a handbook of sorts that ties together their own experiences with history, society, and other people. At no point did I feel like I was being lectured, but instead I felt comforted and eager to take my education into my own hands. Another great marker is that Zisin weaves hope through every topic—even the more difficult ones: ‘Life is full of contradictions. If we all had a little more space to discover and play and experiment, the world would be a better place.’
Readers who are looking to learn more about trans and gender diversity, without being put off by inaccessible academic language, will enjoy and benefit from this book. This is also a brilliant work for people who need support or are looking to support a trans and/or gender diverse person the best they can. The Pronoun Lowdown is a staple resource and a wonderful celebration.