BOOK REVIEW: Rethinking Gender: An Illustrated Exploration by Louie Läuger

March 19, 2023

Review:  Eric Page

This is a lively, informative, and engaging graphic novel/guide to gender from and by this author-illustrator (see more of their published work here) who helps readers grasp how many different answers can be give to the question:  “What even is gender?”.

Using their own lived experience, we follow an illustrated Läuger (and their delightful cat) through the processes and thoughts of their early life. Self-drawn and drawn from self this book is a gentle but thorough exploration of gender, the limitations of binary systems and a candid look at their own privilege and intersectionality.

Queer, cisgender, transgender, nonbinary, androgynous, maverique, intergender, genderfluid. Louie and ‘Cat’ journey with us through the world of gender—not claiming any ultimate authority, just careful considerate handholding as we explore. Gender is tricky to understand because it’s a social construct intersecting with our identity, via class, race, age, religion. Binary: male/female genders have been supreme for a long time, but Läuger also looks at the historical context of gender and how that has changed, across cultures, and time.  It’s clear to most people that very little in life is Binary, gender especially so.  That’s what this book is about: figuring out what gender means, one human being at a time, and giving us new ways to let the world know who we are.

There are a range of chapters with open space to write in your own ideas or thoughts as they arise, giving an interactive feel to the book which encourages exploration and investigation, and the space for reflection when you return to the book.  There’s an honest look at class, power, money and the impacts they have on Queer bodies, with call backs throughout the text so we are reminded of the links between the systems that are imposed on us, and the ways to resist them.

The illustrations are diverse offering respectful visual inclusion to this exploring of our bodies and self, with care to represent different ethnicities, cultural identities, and size. Along with offering up interviews and deeply personal narratives from people who talked with the author about gender identity, and what that means to them.

Rethinking Gender gives readers aged 12 and up (and the parents, educators, activists, and other adults who participate in these conversations) a way to think about themselves and to talk about what sex and gender—in all their changing, often confusing forms—mean to them personally and to the world at large. Sharing an up to date and easy to understand vocabulary to support conversations or people seeking the words to define how and what they are feeling, this also offers a real grounding in people who seek to understand differences and talk to people with genders different to their own.

Out now, large paperback.

For more info or to order the book see website: