DEREK IS A GIRL. He wasn't one of the boys as a kid. He admired, befriended, and socialized with the girls and always knew he was one of them, despite being male. That wasn't always accepted or understood, but he didn't care — he knew who he was. Now he's a teenager and boys and girls are flirting and dating and his identity has become a lot more complicated: he's attracted to the girls. The other girls. The female ones.

This is Derek's story, the story of a different kind of male hero — a genderqueer person's tale. It follows Derek from his debut as an eighth grader in Los Alamos, New Mexico until his unorthodox coming out at the age of twenty-one on the University of New Mexico campus in Albuquerque.

This century's first decade saw many LGBT centers and services rebranding themselves as LGBTQ. The "Q" in LGBTQ is a new addition. It represents other forms of "queer" in an inclusive wave-of-the hand toward folks claiming to vary from conventional gender and orientation, such as genderqueer people. People who are affirmatively tolerant on gay, lesbian and transgender issues still ask "Why do we need to add another letter to the acronym? Isn't anyone who isn't mainstream already covered by 'gay' or 'lesbian' or 'bisexual' or 'trans'? I'm all in favor of people having the right to call themselves whatever they want, but seriously, do we need this term?" Derek's tale testifies to the real-life relevance of that "Q." This is a genderqueer coming-of-age and coming-out story from an era long before genderqueer was trending.
ISBN-10: 1632932903
ISBN-13: 978-1632932907
LCCN: 2019049386
"Allan Hunter’s debut book Genderqueer: A Story from a Different Closet takes a personal look at the topic of gender and the dilemma that comes from not conforming to gender norms. The book brings up an important conversation that needs to be addressed while taking a deep dive into the term genderqueer."

Arielle Gulley. Daily Utah Chronicle — University of Utah
"First and foremost, what this book does really well is testify to the importance of the 'Q' in LGBTQ. When many people furrowed their eyebrows at the addition to another letter in the acronym, people like this author were fighting to show how necessary it was. Derek’s story takes place in a time way before the 'Q' was introduced, way before most began to understand or care about gender issues.

However, even though Genderqueer takes place in the 70s, there are many parallels to today’s world that will make the story resonate with today’s LGBTQ youth. Derek’s confusion and desperation to understand who he is is so palpable that anyone who has gone through anything similar, or is currently going through anything similar, will be able to relate. With this story, Alan D. Hunter sheds light on a gender identity that is relatively unknown to the general public while also giving others who share a similar story to him validation that there is nothing wrong with who they are."


Anna Vanseveran. St. Norbert Times — St. Norbert College (link goes to entire newspaper issue as PDF)
Allan D. Hunter’s GenderQueer: A Story from a Different Closet is an eye-opening first-person account of Derek, born male, who identifies as a girl. While this hardly raises an eyebrow in the 21st century, in the 1970s, Derek had no role models and no points of reference.

If you are of a generation with Derek, give or take, you thrill with him at his first car, put wings on his heart. You feel the rush of first love, and first touch, when attraction becomes physical. You feel the pain of rejection and being misunderstood.

You may not be able to read the book in one sitting—it takes time to absorb.


Sherri Rase. Out in Jersey
"In a world of increasingly complex gender identity issues, Genderqueer transcends labels and categorizations. It tells the story of one person's voyage outside the box at a time when there was no roadmap for the journey. This book extends a warm, open and affirming hand to people who are struggling to understand their own personal mix of gender and sexuality — and to those who want to understand and support their quest."
Susan F. Edwards, editor, author, journalist
"Having facilitated 20Something, a queer support group in New York City, for many years, I have observed many of our young members explore a variety of experiences that speak to the development of their gender identity and sexual orientation. When Allan Hunter was our guest, his storytelling and amusing anecdotes helped open conversations they may never otherwise have on their own exploration of gender. We know Allan's book will be a valued resource for many queer youth."

Nicholas Tamborra, Organizer, 20Something
"Allan Hunter's story highlights what it means to find that engrained understandings of how gender was understood in the late 20th century failed to accommodate individuals that did not fit the binary standards."

Ann M Peiffer, PhD, Women's and Gender Studies Program, Mars Hill University
"The book makes it plain that the 'Q' recently added to the LGBTQIA+ is necessary because the "T" for transgender doesn’t necessarily cover all of the individuals in the category of 'anyone whose gender is different from what people originally assumed it to be...' "

Noah Young. The Clock — Plymouth State Univerity
"This memoir is a personal journey about a person who has lived a life struggling to accept who they are based on the reactions of those around them. A lot of the book is hard to read, hearing how cruel people can be. But I recommend this book to anyone who wants to understand gender and sexuality on a deeper and more intimate level."

Never Retallack. The Western Howl — Western Oregon University
"...A very raw, at times heartbreaking and at times creepy, but uplifting story of finding out who you are... regardless of what the world says you should be."

Margaret Adelle (Goodreads)
"Although the book is described as a memoir, it reads like fiction. This makes the book compelling and enjoyable to read, and it is far more effective than if the author had approached the topic as a textbook might...GenderQueer is honest, intimate and at times, uncomfortable. The protagonist is extremely vulnerable, bringing the audience into private moments and personal thoughts."

Jaime Fields. The Whitman Wire — Whitman College
"This is a fascinating story about one man's journey. I learned so much from this book. I always thought gender and sex were the same thing, and they are not. This was such an eye opener for me.
...sometimes knowing I'm not alone, that there are others like me is freeing, and that I'm not weird I'm just queer. It's truly liberating to find I do belong. Nobody should have to hide who they are.


Justine Smith. (GoodReads)
"The discussion around gender identity and sexual orientation has progressed exponentially in the past decade. Same-sex marriage became legal nationwide only five years ago, and the LGBTQ community continues to fight for equal rights. With this constant push for change, some can only imagine the struggles of coming to terms with your gender identity during the late 1960s and 1970s.

GenderQueer: A Story From a Different Closet offers an eye-opening view into the upbringing of a gender-nonconforming person in an era when many people didn’t know such an identity existed..."

Camryn DeLuca. The Diamondback — University of Maryland
"Derek says he came out of a different closet, but the same door. The “door” represents the struggle one faces about discovering his identity and/or his sexual orientation. The “closet” represents the harboring of one’s gender identity and/or sexual orientation, a secret that is not meant to be a secret. Derek’s decision to wear a denim wraparound skirt showcased he had come to terms with his identity and was no longer inside the closet"

Aazan Ahmad. The Pinnacle — Berea College
"GenderQueer: A Story from a Different Closet is a coming-out and coming-of-age story of a gender non-conforming individual...the story takes place during the 1970s and 1980s, a time period in which many individuals of the LGBT community were treated with more hostility than today...

[One] group that was not necessarily included was the genderqueer community, now commonly symbolized as the “Q” in LGBTQ, and this is precisely what this book focuses on. Many people are not familiar with the genderqueer identity and this book gives a first-hand account of what someone with this identity experiences. Hunter delves into serious and intimate topics throughout the book, making it very realistic and raw, which was overwhelming at times...despite the fact it may make some of us uncomfortable, it is crucial to aiding our understanding of Hunter’s experience "


Maryam Javed The Lake Forest Stentor — Lake Forest College
"This is a novel that is bracingly raw and personal, yet always feels authentic in its sense of place and voice. Its visibility gives an insight into a point of view that doesn’t live in the “traditional” gender boxes...

It is in the last half of the book, when Derek starts to realize the whole person he is inside where the book reaches its peak...it is incredibly satisfying to see Derek hit his stride and finally find his sense of place and belonging in the world. "


Josh Rittberg The Snapper — Millersville University
"...it’s clear from the beginning of the novel where the story is heading. Hunter introduces their ideas of gender at the start of the novel when they talk about their personality as a child – how they don’t identify with the rough behavior usually prescribed to the male gender – and these thoughts stay with them and influence their growing up.

When the revelation is made, it’s not something that comes out of left field. Because of course it’s not – these things don’t just appear one day like a magic trick. It’s always there, even if it’s not super obvious at first."


Celia Brockert The Times-Delphic — Drake University
"...a treacherous and often realistic tale that’s packed with frustration, desperation and yearning. Hunter does an amazing job of captivating the raw emotions of a person seeking their own truths in a world where everyone else seems to know who they are and what their place is in the world...

We see Derek from a very young age get picked on and beat up. He tries time and time again not to let the bullies get into his head, but it proves more and more difficult. All the while he starts to believe the things they say about him. He seeks out answers in both healthy and unhealthy ways, often getting him in all sorts of trouble...

Overall this book is very eye-opening. It puts into words a story for people that are almost never represented. It shakes its metaphoric fist in the face of erasure, saying, 'I’m here and I will not be forgotten.'"


Zarqua Ansari The Beacon — Wilkes University
"I have to say author Allan D. Hunter did a great job in this memoir novel. It took heart to write this novel and connect the reader to Derek in the way Hunter did. He did a great job of bringing to light a subject matter that isn’t out there as much as it should be. This book is very original, and the voice conveyed through the character really drew me in. Following Derek throughout his life and having him question things, I believe, will connect with a lot of readers and give you a new perspective."

Carly Rae (Book Blogger) HeyItsCarlyRae.com
"An interesting surprise is how much the book reads like fiction. Each part of the book is its own smaller story subtly blending to the next. As though it were a typed out series of stories a parent would tell their kid after as they matured closer to equals. Sharing it not only as a form of entertainment or a lesson to avoid the mistakes he made but as a way to explain that there are others who go down similar paths of hardship. That ultimately there is good somewhere toward the end.

If there’s one thing the book stood out with however, it was the degree of honesty in the story, at times to a fault. The book covers many explicit topics sparing no uncomfortable detail and is certainly intended for a mature reader. The language and hate speech and the uncomfortable emphasis on sexual desires bring a coarse realism to the scenes of torment and awkwardness of his younger years. The amount of intimacy the author put into the story pulls the reader in and allows them to mirror the feeling Derek felt in the moment."


David Heilman Wildcat News — Community College of Allegheny County
"Rating: 5 out of 5 fairies

GenderQueer will open your eyes. Being different is never easy. It's especially hard when you don't fall into what's still considered the standard in today's society. When you're part of the LGBTQ+ community, it can be especially difficult. A lot of this story spoke to me on a deep level as a member of the community, and I honestly hope that some people who don't understand what the "Q" can encompass learn from this story. It's well written and I hope those less familiar with those who don't conform to traditional gender roles learn something new."


Liliyana Shadowlyn The Faerie Review
"The story starts from the 1970s, when Derek is a young boy. He always finds it difficult to find the right kind of company for himself and stays aloof. Always finding himself different from the 'other boys', he is more comfortable with his sister's friends. Changing schools frequently only adds to his problems. The book talks about several instances wherein Derek tries to fit in but is shunned away by his peers. All throughout, he tries to identify what is 'wrong' with him and tries to reason why he relates more to being a girl...

Seeing the lack of acceptance even today, I can only imagine how difficult it would have been at that time. An important message highlighted is the human need to fit in and how the society reacts if they do not find everything as per their expectations...the book just reels you in"


Urvashi Jain Book.amor (Instagram)
ALLAN D. HUNTER lived in New Mexico from 1973 to 1984 before emigrating to New York to become a gender activist. He received a degree in Women's Studies and graduate degrees in Sociology and Social Work and worked with psychiatric patients' rights groups and gender identity support groups. He later served as elder abuse case worker in the Bronx. His truncated academic career included publication of a short but groundbreaking theory piece, "Same Door Different Closet: A Heterosexual Sissy's Coming-Out Party" in a peer-reviewed journal, Feminism & Psychology. The original manuscript for this book received an award in a Cisco Writers Club competition.
    Allan is available to lecture on gender issues and share his personal story at universities, LGBTQ organizations, and other venues. He also frequently blogs on these topics.