Perzine Review — Shortandqueer #18: Time to get this off my chest

Shortandqueer #18: Time to get this off my chest

Perzine, Kelly Shortandqueer, issue 18, PO Box 13559, Denver, CO, 80201, $2.50

To describe Kelly Shortandqueer’s experience with top surgery (chest reconstruction surgery as part of his transition from female to male) as a journey would be an understatement. There is no doubt that the decision weighed heavily on him, setting off a process of soul searching, advice-seeking, and meditation. On top of the psychological weight of deciding to undergo the procedure, there was also no shortage of practical concerns, such as choosing a physician asking the correct questions, insurance coverage (especially if you’re American), and recovery. Kelly describes his experience with all of this with an extraordinary amount of recall. And while I found the level of detail overwhelming at times, I couldn’t help but appreciate how useful this zine would be for someone going through a similar experience. Kelly is at his most lucid and insightful when contemplating his doubts, his identity in relation to his idea of how he imagines he is perceived, and uncomfortable experiences with TSA pat-downs while wearing a binder.

Kelly acknowledges his share of privilege, but what really comes across is the vast and loving network of supportive friends in his life. For someone out there considering this procedure, this zine might be a wonderful substitute if they lack such an extensive social network.

Kelly’s story is told chronologically in a series of dated entries. Each section features a photo of Kelly from each year of his life from age one to present. The layout appears to have been done on a computer rather than constructed by hand, so these photos really liven it up and give it a more personalized feel. I used to order this zine for the Pride Library back when I was a work-study student at Western, and I’m glad to see he’s still producing it.