"Cultural rocket fuel." --Vanity Fair
"Emotional and painful but also layered with humour, I'm Afraid of Men will widen your lens on gender and challenge you to do better. This challenge is a necessary one--one we must all take up. It is a gift to dive into Vivek's heart and mind." --Rupi Kaur, bestselling author of The Sun and Her Flowers and Milk and Honey
A trans artist explores how masculinity was imposed on her as a boy and continues to haunt her as a girl--and how we might reimagine gender for the twenty-first century.
Vivek Shraya has reason to be afraid. Throughout her life she's endured acts of cruelty and aggression for being too feminine as a boy and not feminine enough as a girl. In order to survive childhood, she had to learn to convincingly perform masculinity. As an adult, she makes daily compromises to steel herself against everything from verbal attacks to heartbreak.
Now, with raw honesty, Shraya delivers an important record of the cumulative damage caused by misogyny, homophobia, and transphobia, releasing trauma from a body that has always refused to assimilate. I'm Afraid of Men is a journey from camouflage to a riot of colour and a blueprint for how we might cherish all that makes us different and conquer all that makes us afraid.
VIVEK SHRAYA is an artist whose body of work crosses the boundaries of music, poetry, fiction, visual art, and film. A Publishing Triangle Award winner, her books include even this page is white,The Boy & the Bindi, and She of the Mountains. Shraya is one half of the music duo Too Attached and founder of the publishing imprint VS. Books. She teaches creative writing at the University of Calgary.
“Vivek Shraya transforms her long-festering fears of men into cultural rocket fuel … Shraya’s dispatches from the frontlines of life as a queer, trans woman of color are frequently illuminating, painfully honest, and, in spite of everything, hopeful.”
“Emotional and painful but also layered with humour, I’m Afraid of Men will widen your lens on gender and challenge you to do better. This challenge is a necessary one—one we must all take up. It is a gift to dive into Vivek’s heart and mind.”
—Rupi Kaur, bestselling author of The Sun and Her Flowers and Milk and Honey
“In I’m Afraid of Men, Vivek Shraya owns and exposes her own history with masculinity and offers a way out of this harmful and old-fashioned binary we call gender. My head nodded along quietly in agreement any time I wasn’t wiping away rising tides of tears. Vivek Shraya is a superior voice, and this book is essential reading for everyone.”
—Tegan Quin of Tegan and Sara
“Vivek Shraya’s writing is always empathetic but challenging, kind but sharp, and I’m Afraid of Men forces you to confront what you think you know about masculinity, privilege, and fear. Reading Shraya’s writing will make you a better person, through and through.”
—Scaachi Koul, author of One Day We’ll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter
“Shraya crafts each of her memories in prose made poetic with touches of metaphor. She writes with honesty and vulnerability, all the while asking challenging and personal questions that inspire deeper reflection. This crucial addition to shelves offers the vital and often ignored perspective of a trans woman of color. A book to carry with you.”
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Anyone who has ever looked behind them when walking at night, avoided eye contact with strangers or wiped off a lipstick for being too bold—so, all of us—should read this mini-manifesto.”
“A gift and a hell of a book—beautiful, intimate, insightful, and essential.”
—Jesse Wente, NOW Magazine
“Viscerally powerful … creating tectonic fissures into antiquated beliefs around gender identity.”