Book Review Books LGBTQ+

Review of Changelings – An Autistic Trans Anthology

April 16, 2024
A dark blue background with white swirls at the top and bottom. There is white text that says a selection of 13 stories by autistic trans voices which will take you through a whole gamut of emotions from despair, through hope to joy! There is also the book cover which has a blue and purple background with an open purple door leading to a pink and yellow space. In front of the door are 5 people of varying heights, genders, and races. The middle character is sitting in a wheelchair. They are all looking through the open door.

I have been excited about Changelings ever since I saw Ryan and Ocean discussing the idea for an autistic trans anthology on socials. I’m really good friends with Ryan and so I got to watch it go from idea to publication. Ryan was busy editing submissions when he came to stay with us just before Christmas a couple of years ago, and I was absolutely delighted to finally get my hands on a copy last year!

Unfortunately, due to a major relapse in my health over the past 6 or so months, it sat untouched for far too long. Admittedly many books end up sitting in my TBR (to be read) pile for far longer than they deserve. But this was one I really wanted to get to. So it was wonderful to finally feel well enough to read it over the past couple of weeks.

An anthology full of autistic trans voices

Changelings presents 13 stories from autistic trans masculine and non-binary voices. (Ryan and Ocean are planning a sequel anthology to showcase the work of autistic trans feminine and non-binary voices too). The anthology’s tagline of “nothing about us without us” lies at the heart of this book.

Far too often in today’s society we hear too much about autistic and trans people from those who are neurotypical and cis, and not enough from those with the lived experience to know exactly what it feels like. Add in the intersectional nature of being both autistic and trans, and you’ll begin to understand the important role this anthology plays in helping others to feel seen and less alone.

There’s something for everyone

The stories themselves take you on a journey through a range of genres and topics. Whether you like sci fi and fantasy, contemporary pieces, or something with a darker edge, you’ll find a story in here that you’ll love. Highlights for me include:

Don’t Play With My Heart by Ray Rhys Phillips – a story set in our modern world, where special interests and new friends play a huge role.

The Doll in the Ripped Universe by Jennifer Lee Rossman – a story with a crack through time, allowing a connection that provides hope.

Mizmor L’David by Dorian Yosef Weber – a Jewish tale exploring friendship, betrayal, and retribution.

The Ghost on Oxford Street by Riley Swan – a harrowing story about queer history and self acceptance.

Hyacinths & Other Purple Plants by Alex Lakej – a coming of age story about finding friendship in unexpected places.

A gamut of emotions

Expect to feel things when you read these stories. Whilst there is an overarching feeling of love and acceptance within these pages, the authors have not shied away from the grittier aspects of being an autistic trans person in today’s world. There’s sensory overload, gender dysphoria, homophobia and transphobia, controlling parents, abusive partners, and more.

All of the stories come with a list of content warnings, so you can be prepared for what is to come (and skip any which might be too painful for you to read). Even though I have not experienced some of these things (I am autistic and queer, but I am cis), I still felt everything deeply. The authors have really created some incredible stories that deserve to be read by both autistic trans people and those who’d like to understand their experiences more.

Get your copy of Changelings at the links below

Amazon UK
The Bookish Type


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