A “humane and heart-rending” memoir exploring what it means to live outside the normative boundaries imposed by society, from an award-winning trans writer and performer (The Guardian).
In None of the Above: Reflections on Life Beyond the Binary, Travis Alabanza considers seven phrases people have directed at them throughout their life. These phrases—some deceptively innocuous, some deliberately loaded or violent, some celebratory—have fundamentally shaped Alabanza, both for better and for worse. But these phrases also illuminate broader issues about a world that insists on gender as a fixed identity.
Alabanza considers the meaning of gender, and the role it plays in a world that rigidly and aggressively enforces the binary. Drawing from their experiences as racialized queer person, Alabanza deftly interrogates our current frameworks around identity with nuance, openness, and humor. The result is a meditation on doubt and language that turns a mirror back on society, and on ourselves. By heralding transformative futures, None of the Above questions what we think we know—and shares new ways that we might live.
Prologue “So, when did you know?” “But I mean, proper trans.” “Ladies, gentlemen, and those lucky enough to transcend gender.” “This ain’t a thing we do round here, son.” “So, what do you want me to call it?” “Children sacrificed to appease trans lobby.” “This is for us, baby, not for them.” Acknowledgements
Travis Alabanza is an award-winning writer, performer and theatre maker. After being the youngest recipient of the Artist-in-Residency program at Tate Galleries, Alabanza’s debut show Burgerz toured internationally to sold-out performances in the Southbank Centre, Sao Paulo, Brazil, and HAU, Berlin, and won the Edinburgh Fringe Total Theatre Award. In 2020 their theatre show Overflow debuted at the Bush Theatre to widespread acclaim and later streamed online in over twenty countries. Their writing has appeared in the Guardian, VICE, gal-dem, and BBC Online, and they previously had a fortnightly column in the Metro. They have been published in numerous anthologies, including Black and Gay in the UK. Their work surrounding gender, trans identity, and race has garnered international recognition, and they have given talks at universities including Oxford, Harvard, Bristol, and more. Alok Vaid-Menonis an internationally acclaimed author, poet, comedian, and public speaker. They are the author of Femme in Public, Beyond the Gender Binary, and Your Wound/My Garden. They have appeared on Netflix’s Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness, HBO’s Random Acts of Flyness, and The Trans List.
Winner of the 2023 Jhalak Prize for Writers of Color
“A bold, astute consideration of the challenges—and vital potential—of living outside normative categories.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Thank you, Travis, for your honesty, openness, humor, and brilliance. I devoured this book.”—Elliot Page, actor and author of Pageboy: A Memoir
“Travis Alabanza is one of the most talented storytellers of a generation. None of the Above is potent, engaging, hilarious, and beautiful, just like Travis.” —Jonathan Van Ness,Emmy-nominated host of Queer Eye and New York Times best-selling author
“Searing social commentary peppered with personal anecdotes… [None of the Above] challenges the very idea of the gender binary—and how its rigidity impacts those who exist outside of it.” —TIME
“Travis Alabanza is a wise, hilarious, and sharp thinker—a writer who not only defies categorization, but who makes categorization itself seem fussy and obsolete.” —Torrey Peters, author of Detransition, Baby: A Novel
None of the Above is more than a breath of fresh air. It’s a prison break, a revolt, a wild thumb in the eye of a carceral gender system that tries to bind our flesh into rigid and ranked categories.”—Susan Stryker, author of Transgender History: The Roots of Today’s Revolution
"None of the Above explores the nuance of self-understanding in an honest, hilarious, and heartfelt way. It is a stunning intersectional interrogation of gender that reads like a conversation with a friend."—Blair Imani, author of Read This to Get Smarter: About Race, Class, Gender, Disability & More
“Lucid and glorious. Truth that goes on and on making room for itself.” —Yrsa Daley-Ward, author of The Terrible: A Storyteller’s Memoirand cowriter of Black Is King
“'Travis Alabanza’s words have power. An essential read for everyone.” —Sam Smith, singer and songwriter
“A breath of fresh air. . . . There’s no memoir like it.” —Independent
“Humane and heart-rending..” ―Guardian
“Alternately wry, witty and wounded . . . Alabanza lifts the lid on our potential for empathy, alliance and complicity.” ―Irish Times
“Utterly absorbing.” ―Garbage
“Smart, funny and painful.”―Irish Independent
“Travis Alabanza writes about gender and its possibilities with such generosity and ease even the most provocative suggestions start to seem obvious, despite their challenges to society at large. This anti-memoir, which is at times both profound and funny, will make anyone question the stories we tell about ourselves, how we tell them and even who the telling is for.” —Shon Faye, author of The Transgender Issue
“One of those times you are so profoundly grateful that someone has cracked open their head and allowed you to look around at the beautiful, sad and remarkable parts that make them who they are. A gloriously specific, funny and smart body of work.” —Candice Carty-Williams, author of Queenie
“[None of the Above] is timely and timeless, courageous as well as meticulously crafted.” ―Guardian
“None of the Aboveis a stunning and powerful memoir, it is so beautifully written and so moving. Travis Alabanza generously shares moments of bravery, honesty, humanity, empathy, courage, wit, wisdom and joy in these pages. I absolutely loved it and will ask everyone to read it." —Salena Godden, author of Mrs Death Misses Death