We are beyond thrilled to welcome Jacob Tobia to the She Reads family this March as our latest Guest Editor. Jacob’s debut memoir Sissy: A Coming-of-Gender Story is available March 5 and we couldn’t wait to talk to Jacob and get the lowdown on this incredible new book. Get to know Jacob Tobia now and tune in all month long as they give us the lowdown on all things books.
Jacob Tobia has devoted their life to inspiring people to embrace their true selves, no matter their gender. From appearances on MTV’s True Life: I’m Genderqueer to creating and co-producing an LGBTQ series for NBC News, Jacob spreads their message of self-love and acceptance every chance they get. The highly-esteemed writer, producer and creative mind has quickly become a role model for people everywhere – both queer and straight.
What positive message do you hope readers take away from Sissy?
I want people to know that there is no such thing as a “correct” gender. All gender is correct. All gender is beautiful. However you choose to express yourself in the world, it’s beautiful. However you choose to relate to your body, it’s correct. We all deserve the right to live in our gender, whatever it is, and be treated with respect, dignity, kindness and love. It’s a stunningly simple vision that’s astonishingly complicated to actualize.
If you had to recommend a TV show or movie that perpetuates the powerful message of your book, which would it be?
She-Ra and the Princesses of Power on Netflix. The message mostly being that nerds are the best, girls run the world and everyone is – at least – a little bit gay.
What’s the one thing you have to pack before leaving on book tour?
My grandmother’s earrings. I don’t go anywhere without them. When my grandmother passed away, I inherited her entire collection of clip-on earrings because no one else in the family wanted them. I must have at least forty pairs, and I try to bring at least one pair with me whenever I travel. Her earrings are my good luck charm – I wear them for important meetings and big interviews and red carpets because, perched on my earlobes, they remind me how much I’m loved.
Which authors do you admire most?
Roxane Gay, because, I mean, duh. Her writing is beyond vulnerable. She does not apologize. She is power.
James Baldwin, because to this day he is a shining example of just how much queer and trans people of color can change everything.
Kate Bornstein. Sissy would never exist without Auntie Kate paving the way. Everything I’ve accomplished in my career, her work has played a part in making possible.
What was your #1 writing essential while writing Sissy?
Is it trite if I say caffeine? Because lord in heaven I do not know where I would be without coffee. Oh, and milkshakes. In moments when I wanted to quit or give up or the going got tough, I’d motivate myself by getting a refill of coffee and saying that, if I could just write another 500 words, I could have a milkshake after dinner. Milkshakes are, (un)surprisingly enough, highly effective motivation.