Diane and Jacob (nee Suzy) Anderson-Minshall were a lesbian couple for fifteen years before Jacob confessed that he is, in fact, a transgender man. Their relationship survived through Jacob’s transition, and Queerly Beloved relates the story of their life together before, during, and after Jacob’s transition. In chapters alternately narrated by Diane and Jacob, the overarching theme of love for each other and for the queer community shines through this memoir.
There are other autobiographies written by transmen and transwomen as well as memoirs written by their partners, but this book is the first memoir co-written by a transman and his lesbian-identified partner. Because the couple alternates the narration, many stories overlap, and frequently Diane and Jacob finish each other’s sentences. It is refreshing have both perspectives about a relationship in transition. The reader learns not only what it was like for Jacob to transition but also how his transition impacted Diane’s career. Still identifying as lesbian, she struggled with her position as editor of a magazine marketed to lesbians after Jacob transitioned and they could publicly “pass” as a straight couple. Both Diane and Jacob also had to wrestle with the changed perception of their relationship within their own queer community.
Queerly Beloved focuses on other obstacles and decisions during the 20-year relationship. Jacob was injured at work as a park ranger and had to deal with staying home while Diane is working. The couple decided to have an open relationship, and both struggled with the ramifications of that decision. When they choose to become foster parents, they also struggle with both the complicated foster system.
Jacob and Diane’s voices ring true throughout this conversational memoir, and, while they readily admit their issues as a couple, their love for and commitment to each other is clear. An excellent addition to any library’s LGBTQ collection, Queerly Beloved is a must-read for people both outside and within the queer community.
Reviewer: Jenni Frencham, Librarian
Cesar Chavez Middle School, Hayward (CA)