Birch Rosen

Poet, essayist, and zinester using personal writing to share nuanced trans and nonbinary narratives.

© 2024 Sick Sad Trans Fags

Birch's Zines

Boobless

Boobless is a personal zine about preparing for and recovering from top surgery, written from the perspective of a couple of years post-op. Topics include picking up groceries and prescriptions in advance, listening to Sawbones while taking a weird shower, Switchfoot in the operating room, al dente Jell-O, sleepily eating a bagel, watching anime and freaking out, crying over tweets, my damaged but improving relationship with my mom, surgical complications, long-term satisfaction, and statistics about top surgery and nipple sensation. I've also included some recommendations of other zines and comics about top surgery.Although it's more of a personal narrative than an educational text, you'll likely learn something from it, whether you're considering top surgery, supporting someone going through it, or just looking for an entertaining read.Boobless is 11,000 words long, with an introduction about how I came to tell this story, an afterword about the right to gender-affirming care, and a bibliography. Color cover, B&W interior, 32 pages, half-size.Boobless is available for purchase here. Also available as a PDF.I co-hosted a release show for Boobless with my friends at zines & things, featuring a reading from Boobless and performances by four other trans artists. You can watch the recording anytime.

T&A (Transitioning & Attractiveness)

I wrote this zine slightly before and just after beginning my medical transition as a nonbinary person. T&A is about my fear of departing from the one ideal of attractiveness I knew I could conform to. It explores my relationship to my body and my attractiveness through puberty books I had as a kid, questionable rules I absorbed from the internet as a teenager, and relationships I’ve had more recently with other trans people. It also addresses the standards that trans people are expected to conform to when talking about ourselves and the implications of my transition on my job as a teacher.

Excerpt:

“The night after my first doctor’s appointment about starting testosterone, an unexpected panic hit me. I was seized with the fear that by transitioning, I would make myself ugly and unattractive and ruin my body. What if I was throwing away the best parts of me? Whatever my physical shortcomings or deficits, I knew I could turn heads with the tits-and-ass crowd. And there I was, planning to get rid of my tits and straighten out my curves, reducing my pull with the only demographic that I knew for sure was into me.”

The Seattle Review of Books writes:

Rosen tugs at a dizzying number of threads — the awfulness of evolutionary psychology; the myriad uncertainties of transitioning; how any human knows whether he or she or they is desirable (or, let’s just say it, fuckable), especially when they’re intentionally steering outside the norm. Their writing is intellectual, political, no holds barred, but also personal, frank, and self-aware. It’s an enviable bit of sleight of hand and a real gift to the reader, given the complexity of the issues they raise.

Broken Pencil Magazine writes, “Rosen is a strong, smart writer and gives profound insight into their thought process.”

T&A is now available here in a third edition with minor edits and an afterword written with the benefit of hindsight.

Trans Restroom Rants (series)

An illustrated series of reviews of restrooms I encounter, from the angle of how easy, safe, and comfortable using them feels to me as a nonbinary person. Each issue features a short, contextualizing introduction.Issue 1: 8 reviews of restrooms in the Seattle and Olympia, WA areas (plus one in a dream) that I used between October and November of 2019 . 22-page mini, color cover, B&W interior.Issue 2: 14 reviews of restrooms in Seattle, WA; Philadelphia, PA; and Houston, TX that I used between November 2019 and February 2020. Also touches on pandemic issues. 30-page mini, color cover, B&W interior.Issue 3: 11 reviews of restrooms in western Washington and Maine (plus one in Portland, OR) that I used between July 2020 and July 2021. 32-page mini, color cover, B&W interior.Issue 4:The Trans Restroom Rants series is available as a bundle and for purchase as individual issues.

Disabled Artist Affirmations

More info to come

Things You Should Know about Transmasc Bottom Surgery

A mini zine with some basic information about FTM/transmasc bottom surgeries, i.e., metoidioplasty and phalloplasty. Note that it comes from a U.S. perspective and contains more detail about phalloplasty than metoidioplasty. Intended primarily for an FTM/transmasc/etc. audience, but could also be helpful as a conversation-starter or informational resource for loved ones and service providers.This zine is free for printing for personal use. You may also print copies to distribute for free at your library, community resource center, etc. (If you do that, I'd love to know about it!) Please inquire beforehand about any other uses.Download the zine here. Print, cut, and fold according to this guide.

Birch's Other Writing

Selected Publications

(18+) "Step Two," erotica, I Write the Body: Queer & Trans Kink, Desire, and Defiance, ed. Orlando Silver,” Decmber 2023(18+) "The Pink Lady," erotica, It Takes Two: Couples Erotica, ed. Rachel Kramer Bussel,” May 2023“Write-Your-Own Trans Narrative,” poem, beestung issue 12, TRANS IS THE FUTURE. THE FUTURE IS TRANS., summer 2022“How Many Lifetimes,” “Artificial Stuttering,” “Fluid Bond,” “After Top Surgery,” poems; “The Struggle for Autonomy While Taking Accutane for Testosterone Acne,” essay; From the Waist Down: the Body in Healthcare, Papeachu Press, July 2022“Naming,” poem, winner of King County Library System Rhyme On Poetry Contest, May 2022“Fluid Bond” and “After Top Surgery,” poems, Bellevue Literary Review, issue 41, fall 2021“Accutane for Testosterone Acne,” essay, Just Femme & Dandy, June 2021“200 Gallons of Piss,” poem, Michigan Quarterly Review, volume 59.4, persecution special issue, ed. Reginald Dwayne Betts, fall 2020“The Mundane Misery of Being Trans at the Airport,” essay, Medium, September 2019