Who am I?

This is just a placeholder, while I renovate, but my full name is Naomi Kanakia. I am the author of two young adult novels (Enter Title Here and We Are Totally Normal). The first came out in 2016 from Little, Brown, the second in 2020 from HarperTeen. In 2024 I have TWO books coming out, my third YA, Just Happy To Be Here (HarperTeen) and my first literary novel for adults, The Default World (Feminist Press). I also have a nonfiction book coming out in 2025 from Princeton Press, about why the Great Books have a lot to offer to left-wing people and racial, gender, and sexual minorities: it’s called What’s So Great About The Great Books. You can email me at rhkanakia @ gmail.com.

What’s the deal with the “Not a transphobe” label?

I hated Substack for years, because it’s the home of the internet’s biggest transphobes (the Wesley Yang / Jesse Singal / Bari Weiss axis). You know, the “Intellectual Dark Web” types. But then in the course of a week I came across Freddie DeBoer’s post on trans rights and this podcast between John Pistelli and Daniel Oppenheimer where they made it clear that, whatever their policy feelings about gender affirming care for kids (I have no idea what they believe), they aren’t completely obsessed with trans people. And I was like, maybe it’s not all transphobes.

Nonetheless, as I explained in a post, whenever I see a new substack I go rooting through their archives to see if they’re a transphobe or not. I mean this on the most basic level: do they have an unhealthy negative fixation on trans people that is disproportionate to our presence in the population? And does their concern with notional harms to cis people far outweigh their concern for damage to trans people (i.e. do trans lives matter less to them than cis lives). If the answer to these questions is “Yes”, it doesn’t mean I won’t follow them, but they’re certainly on probation with me!

I also know that trans- and trans-affirming people likely do the same thing when looking at my substack, so I put it right up front for them to see.

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I write about the Great Books, classic literature, and the contemporary publishing world. I am also not a transphobe.


Books forthcoming from Feminist Press, Princeton University Press, and HarperTeen. Two YA novels currently out. Stories, essays, and poetry in Asimov's, Analog, Clarkesworld, American Short Fiction, Lithub, etc