Shraya, Vivek (Author) and Neufeld, Juliana (Illustrator). (2014). God Loves Hair. Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp Press.
This tiny book is a beautiful gem. In 21 very short stories, Vivek Shraya leads the reader on a gentle exploration of his childhood and early adolescence as a femme Indian child in Canada. In the title story, his parents take him back to India to cut his hair as an expression of gratitude to God for blessing them with a son. In other stories, he experiments with women’s clothing and makeup, discovers masturbation, becomes enamored with his teacher’s bubble butt, experiences homophobic bullying, and grapples with the challenges and joys of being Hindu and femme in a majority-white and heteronormative community.
Each story is accompanied by lovely color illustrations by award-winning Toronto artist Juliana Neufeld. God Loves Hair was a finalist in the 2011 Lambda Literary Awards. Vivek Shraya is a multimedia artist whose other projects include film, music, and performance art.