Nina Here Nor There
My Journey Beyond Gender
By Nick Krieger
(Beacon Press, Paperback, 9780807000922, 216pp.)
Publication Date: May 10, 2011
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Honor Book for the 2012 Stonewall Book Awards in non-fiction
The next-generation Stone Butch Blues--a contemporary memoir of gender awakening and a classic tale of first love and self-discovery.
Ambitious, sporty, feminine “capital-L lesbians” had been Nina Krieger’s type, for friends that is. She hadn’t dated in seven years, a period of non-stop traveling—searching for what, or avoiding what, she didn’t know. When she lands in San Francisco’s Castro neighborhood, her roommates introduce her to a whole new world, full of people who identify as queer, who modify their bodies and blur the line between woman and man, who defy everything Nina thought she knew about gender and identity. Despite herself, Nina is drawn to the people she once considered freaks, and before long, she is forging a path that is neither man nor woman, here nor there. This candid and humorous memoir of gender awakening brings readers into the world of the next generation of transgender warriors and tells a classic tale of first love and self-discovery.
Discussion Guide for Book Clubs, Classrooms, and Group Discussions
What did you know about transgender people before reading this book? How has your perspective changed?
Did reading this book make you think about your own body, gender, and identity? In what ways?
How do you feel about the way Nina treats her parents? How about the way they treat her? How would you react if your child was transgender?
What role does Ramona play in Nina’s journey?
How do you envision gender—a binary, spectrum, galaxy…?
What are some of the benefits to our culture of gender? Some of the downfalls? How does the binary (man/woman) system help you? Hurt you?
How do you relate to Nina’s experience? In what ways is her story universal? Specific?
In what parts of your life do you feel you are “privileged”? Have your privileges changed over time? Has this impacted your worldview?
How is this book similar to other memoirs about gender? How is it unique?
How does the diagnosis of Gender Identity Disorder and its classification as a mental illness affect trans people?
What do you see as the main challenges for trans people in our society? Are these covered in the book, or are these from other sources and experiences?
What did you learn through The Boys? How are their gender expressions and decisions similar? Different?
Where do lesbian and transmasculine (trans people on the male side of the spectrum like The Boys) communities overlap? Where is there friction?
What defines “women’s spaces” and in what cases, instances, or places should transmasculine people be included? Excluded?
A native of New York, Nick Krieger realized at the age of twenty-one that he’d been born on the wrong coast, a malady he corrected by transitioning to San Francisco. His writing has earned several travel-writing awards and has been published in multiple travel guides.
“…[B]eautifully written…Accessible and full of humor, there’s no question that in the growing canon of first person transgender narratives, this is already a classic.”—Curve Magazine
“I found Nick Kreiger’s memoir to be non-threatening and honest. It was candid and answered many questions I didn’t even know to ask.”—Transforming Love
“Nick's story is refreshing because he doesn't abide by the 'heterosexual man trapped in a woman's body' narrative that we're so used to hearing in the news. It's more nuanced and…feels so much more real and personal.”—Queering the Campus
"As Kreiger explores the gender spectrum, we do too. At the same time he’s seeing the blurred lines of woman and not-woman, we see it as well. The journey is a good one, shared…The book is a captivating fresh take on the fluidity of gender to which many LGBTs will relate.”—Washington Blade
"Nina Here Nor There (and how clever a title is that?) is…a very well-written, important book…Nina Here Nor There works on several levels—as a guide for people who want to transition; as a conversation-starter for those interested in gender issues; as a heartfelt memoir; and as a fun, fly-on-the-wall look at San Francisco's diverse LGBT scene.”—GO Magazine
“Nick Krieger's Nina Here Nor There: My Journey Beyond Gender is a passionate and honest memoir. Krieger recounts his personal search for identity and gender with humor and emotional honesty, making this one of the year's most moving books.”—Largehearted Boy
“His experience as a travel writer brings cultural details into sharp focus, and weighs individual meanings…a well written travel guide to Nick’s corner of the world.”— OUTview Online
“The memoir is a journey that grabs your heart and stretches your brain into new ways of thinking.”—The Windy City Times
“A new and welcome voice in transgender memoir.”—Kate Bornstein, author of Gender Outlaw
“A personal, insightful, and nuanced discussion of the life experiences and tough decisions that inform transgender identities. The language is precise, the thinking is complex, and the self-questioning is funny and honest. This is a profound and moving book, and its existence makes me happy.”—Stephen Beachy, author of Distortion
“It’s a rare memoir that can tell a story that seems brand new, but Nina Here Nor There does it. This one-of-a-kind narrator undertakes a quest that is unmistakably timely. But in its yearning for awareness and connection, this book feels timeless.”—K. M. Soehnlein, author of Robin and Ruby
“With inimitable charm . . . Nina Here Nor There depicts the trans experience in a way that anyone can identify with, and everyone will enjoy.”—Thea Hillman, author of Intersex (For Lack of a Better Word)
"A beautifully rendered and personal account that feels like a fresh addition to trans literature."—Publishers Weekly
“[A] humorous, moving, and engagingly authentic journey.”—Whitney Scott, Booklist
“Reading Nina Here Nor There is like taking a tour through San Francisco’s transmale culture by the most charming guide you could hope for…an important contribution to the body of literature about contemporary queer culture and lives. Nina Here Nor There is a book queers across the gender and sexuality spectrum should read. An insightful, accessible, and witty page-turner, Nina Here Nor There is the transgender narrative we’ve been waiting for.”—Lambda Literary
“In our media context, where only one kind of narrative about transition seems to be allowed, this alternate personal story can feel pretty revolutionary…He writes incredibly perceptively about issues like gender and class, approaching them through storytelling and subtle personal exploration instead of explaining through standard social justice language…Nina Here Nor There offers an honest, personal take on many aspects of identity...”—Feministing
"[Nina Here Nor There is] an edifying, passionate memoir …the uninitiated and the curious will find these pages brimming with an enlightening, first-person experience that is both intriguing and educating…What emerges is a powerful and moving portrait of one man's quest for happiness in finding the truest sense of himself. Krieger has produced an intimate memoir about how vital physical changes can beautify every aspect of life, inside and out.”—The Bay Area Reporter
“In a twist on the traditional transgender narrative, Nick identifies as neither male nor female and invites readers to view gender not as a binary or a spectrum but as an infinitely beautiful ‘kaleidoscope.’ Narrated with verve, charm, and humor, Krieger’s memoir doesn’t hold back on self-examination and emotional honesty, and will likely upend some of your preconceptions.”—Bust Magazine