Observer: "A Captivating Argument That Liberation Shouldn't Just Be Joy"

Hil Malatino's 'Side Affects: On Being Trans and Feeling Bad' argues liberation isn't found in gender euphoria but systemic change.

How the “bad feelings” of trans experience inform trans survival and flourishing

Side Affects: On Being Trans and Feeling Bad is scholar Hil Malatino’s third book in four years, an incredible feat for any writer. Side Affects focuses on the negative affects that animate trans life: future fatigue, numbness, envy, anger, and burnout. In these negative affects, Malatino hopes we can find a way through without the burden of turning ourselves into positivity machines that vacillate between gender euphoria and dysphoria. The images of trans people that populate the world are “trans-positive after-school special” or trauma porn. As Malatino puts it: “the genres of trans living are whittled down to just a few: hero worship, demonology, victimology.” 

It could be argued that since this book helped me feel ok about feeling bad it too is a sort of self-help manual and some trans people may find this book a set of questions they have heard again and again–a trans after school special, but in naming these negative feelings it can also give the reader a protective spell worth gifting their community. 

Read the full article at Observer.