This One Looks Like a Boy: My Gender Journey to Life as a Man, by Lorimer Shenher. Greystone Books, 2019. ISBN 978-1-77164-448-8.
The more trans memoirs I read the harder I find it is to review them. Where once I may have taken comfort in reading a story that in its broader strokes is similar to mine now I want something more.
The first half of Lorimer Shenher’s book This One Looks Like a Boy will feel familiar to many trans folks. The story itself is different from yours, but the echoes in your own life are probably undeniable. It is a fairly straight forward trans narrative that works best for people new to the reality of trans lives as it effectively conveys our sense of alienation.
I’m looking for something more, however, and for me that only happened half way through the book when Shenher joins the Vancouver Police Department (VPD). It’s here that his trans journey intertwines with a police culture I knew little about. That his time with the VPD coincided with the horrendous disappearance of women from Vancouver’s Lower East Side and the subsequent arrest of Robert Pickton makes for interesting reading and raises questions about the VPD itself. Nonetheless, his feelings of guilt and the other negative effects the investigation had on him are muted here and probably better explored in That Lonely Section of Hell, the book he wrote about case. The emphasis here is on his trans experience. His interaction with fellow officers in this regard is revealing.
Shenher is a good companion through these pages. When I closed the book I realized the first half of it, which I personally didn’t find as interesting, nonetheless had value for it provided the necessary background to explain the good man he’d become. Ultimately a worthwhile and readable memoir.