REVIEW: “The Knighting” by Alexa Fae McDaniel

Review of Alexa Fae McDaniel, “The Knighting” in Gwen Benaway, ed., Mother, Maiden, Crone, (Bedside Press, 2019): 83-91 — Purchase here. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman. (Read the review of the anthology.)

Daphne has long admired Sir Thais — the first woman of Epirus to ever have been knighted. Now, two more women have become knights, but female knights are still the minority. Part of Daphne longs to be what Sir Thais is, but another part of her knows she could never be what Sir Thais is; not because she’s a woman, but because she’s a transwoman.

The focus of this story was Daphne’s grappling with the difficulties of being a transwoman in a male dominated field. As a cis woman, I realised I would probably make many of the same arguments that Sir Thais did, to persuade Daphne to take up the accolade; so it was important for me to read Daphne’s arguments in return. Now, I’m not so sure which choice Daphne should make, or even, at the end of the story, which choice she did make.