Cyrus Grace Dunham Gets Real About the Messiness of Identity

December 3, 2019

Cyrus Grace Dunham is a mess, and they aren’t trying to hide it. In their new memoir, A Year Without A Name, the writer and activist complicates accepted narratives about transgender folks — ones that are steeped in binary, essentialist notions about gender identity. Dunham isn’t afraid to share their uncertainty about the source of their discontent with identity, whether it’s more social, more physical, or a combination of both.

In August, Dunham released a teaser of their memoir in an essay for the New Yorker. In it, they detail the experience of coming out to their parents about their medical transition. “My confession implied that my identity was simple and fixed,” they write. “That I had been born in the wrong body. The truth was something harder to explain: some days, I felt like a man. On other days — called ‘ma’am’ and ‘she’ and ‘Grace’ — my feelings of manhood seemed like a child’s fantasy, as delusional as thinking I was a bird or a car.”

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