"I'm so ill," Juno Dawson cautioned us, as the event in Blackwell's Norrington Room began. "You might think that you've seen sick people before today, but believe me, you haven't." Despite the hefty dose of winter lurgy she was battling, however, this YA author was on sparkling form as she discussed her 'accidental memoir', The Gender Games.
The Gender Games isn't the first non-fiction book that Dawson has written - she is also the author of This Book is Gay and Being a Boy, books aimed at a teen audience which deal with issues like puberty, sex, and the important discussions that are currently missing from PSHE lessons (a problem that Dawson returned to at several points in the evening). However, while it deals with many similar issues, The Gender Games focuses closely on examining our relationship with - unsurprisingly - sex and gender.
The evening's discussion, like
The main discussion, led by Blackwell's Hannah Chinnery, flew by, and I couldn't believe that forty minutes had passed when we moved on to audience questions. Like the earlier portion of the evening, these questions were interesting and nuanced, building off of the subjects that had already been raised - how can we make gender less of a heavy burden? How can scientists be more trans-inclusive when putting out calls for medical research volunteers? Throughout the evening, the atmosphere in the room was positive, thoughtful, and uplifting, and I went away with plenty to think about regarding gender, aesthetics, and our relationships with our bodies, our selves, and the world around us.