Kelly returns to zine making about about five years to document his experience with having top surgery and to fulfill his fundraising perk obligation. Surprisingly successful way to get people to donate: promise them a $2.50 zine for their $25. I'm teasing, though. Kelly is the kind of person who attracts a lot of support, just by being his sunny, math-loving, spreadsheet-making, square dancing self.
His 43-page zine resumes what early issues of Shortandqueer did so beautifully, and intentionally: document queer and transgender experiences. I would have to hunt for it, but I'm pretty sure I have a quote from Kelly where he talks about how his zines are a deliberate effort to capture his life as a trans man for those who follow him. He shares his double mastectomy story with dated entries, but also provides tips and examples for choosing and talking to a surgeon, fundraising, fighting for health insurance coverage, home recovery needs.
The journal takes us through Kelly's hesitation to have the surgery for ethical as well as emotional reasons, wondering if is fair for him to take advantage of his privilege when so many trans men cannot. He explores other feelings along the way, sort of processing out loud, really letting us into his psyche. You really have to admire Kelly's good nature, even in the face of regular TSA pat downs when he wore a binder.
The text is accompanied by photos of Kelly from the first year of his life through the year of the surgery. I think he is unusual among trans folks in being willing to show himself in his earlier gender expression. But one thing that's really neat about Kelly, is that he is so willing to be playful with his gender. He's worn a lot of dresses since adopting male pronouns.