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Book Review

Book Review: The ABC’s of LGBT+

The ABC’s of LGBT+
By Ashley Mardell
Released: 2016


Beyond Binary

The 21st Century has seen very positive movement for LGBT+ rights in the last few years – the overturning of DOMA, SCOTUS ruling in favor of the Marriage Equality Act, American transgender politicians elected to office and landmark moments such as Apple becoming the most valuable company in the world under the leadership of an openly gay CEO. We are living in a post-binary world where gender fluency and awareness of how people identify is essential. Ashley Mardell, one of the most trusted voices on YouTube, presents a detailed look at all things LGBT+. Along with in-depth definitions, personal anecdotes, helpful infographics, resources, and more, Mardell’s book is proof it does get better every day in a world where people are empowered by information and understanding. In Mardell’s own words, “This book is also for allies and LGBT+ people simply looking to pack in some extra knowledge… a critical part of acceptance. Learning about new identities broadens our understanding of humanity, heightens our empathy, and allows us different, valuable perspectives.”

Whether you are a questioning teen, a teacher or parent looking for advice or anyone wanting to learn the language of respect, this book is an essential guide for you.

“We have two ideas that pop into our heads when forming an opinion, the first idea is what we are conditioned to think, the second idea is what determines who we are as people.”


My brain is currently chock-full of amazing information… This [text]book is so important, well-done, and inclusive I’m going to melt! ♡ Honestly, it’s really hard to write a proper review because every time I try, it doesn’t seem like I can do it justice. This book makes it impossible NOT to challenge social constructs and I LOVE IT. I wish I had this resource years and years and years ago… but back then it would have been written and addressed very differently because that’s how much the conversation has actually changed.


The best part: this book is voiced and reviewed by the identities discussed and “it’s time we start respecting and believing each others’ individual experiences”.

In the end, it’s important that you understand that this book is truly a massive LGBTQIA+ collaborative effort. All the information has been critically reviewed by the eyes of respected organizations, online communities of everyday LGBTQIA+ people, and myself. The editors include gay, bi, ace, aro, queer, trans, intersex, and non-binary people, as well as people of color, and the personal story contributors are even more diverse!


This book has, hands down, one of the best discussions I’ve read about gender. I spent a lot of time going through that section, and following is a great summary of what it entails:

Nothing physical about a person (chromosomes, hormones, genitals, the clothes they wear, etc.) dictates their gender. Instead, gender is composed of self-understanding and self-perception. In the simplest terms: assigned sex is rooted in our biology, while gender is rooted in who we know ourselves to be beyond our biology.


It gracefully opens the door to the lesser known identities (gender, sexual, and romantic) beyond the binary. The world is made of all kinds of spectrums and this book opens a line of communication and understanding. Do I fully grasp everything that was presented? Absolutely not! But I want to know more, and that is why I love this book.

If you are new to Ash (& Grace) like I am, take a peek at their YouTube channels and you’ll get a sense of how much love was put into The ABC’s of LGBT+ and the ongoing conversation. Ash Hardell YouTube channel & Ash & Grace Space YouTube channel

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