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Meet Cyrus Grace Dunham, Lena Dunham's Sibling Who Just Wrote A New Memoir

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Who Is Cyrus Grace Dunham? Lena Dunham's Sibling Who Just Wrote A New Memoir

A note: Cyrus Grace Dunham initially told Konbini that they identify as non-binary, and prefers the "they/them" pronouns. However, recently, it was revealed that Dunham underwent gender reassignment surgery, and as such, prefers the "he/him" pronouns.  The works cited here use the "he/him" pronouns, not the "they/them" pronouns, so we will follow that convention.

We first came to know of him because of their older sister, Lena Dunham. The creator of Girls came under fire for talking about him — when he was previously known as Grace — in her memoir, because critics thought that Lena was being "too sexual" and thus harmful to him. But who is Cyrus Grace Dunham, Lena Dunham's sibling — who also just came out with his own memoir?

"I have a lot of internal struggles about my gender (shame, confusion) and worry about how my gender presentation will affect people's love or desire for me, but I don't think my gender as created a lot of structural barriers. And that's because gender-based oppression is always inflected by other forms of prejudice, like race and class," he told Konbini, while reflecting about how 'growing up privileged' lends itself to a number of things, both good and bad, when it comes to gender identity.

Cyrus Grace Dunham also just wrote a memoir, called "A Year Without A Name," which was just released on October 15, 2019. 

Let's look at what else we know about him. 

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1. He doesn't name his sister, Lena, in his new book, but her presence looms large. 

According to The Cut, Cyrus Grace Dunham's new book, "A Year Without A Name," doesn't explicitly name Lena Dunham, but does make reference to "a famous sibling." Since there were only two Dunham children, it's clear "the famous sibling" in question is none other than the Tiny Furniture actress.

2. Cyrus Grace Dunham is getting rave reviews for "A Year Without A Name."

The Atlantic reviewed "A Year Without A Name" as part of their coverage of LGBTQIA books, and pointed out that the book marries celebrity culture, a coming-out and coming of age story, and a quarter-life crisis musing. As a result of these different intersections, "A Year Without A Name" is considered an "anti-memoir," because it not only goes against the grain of what a "true" memoir should be (that is, an older writer looking back on his/her life), but it rejects the notion that one should have a "consistent narrative," especially about their gender, throughout their lives. 

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3. He said he was initially confused about wanting to transition. 

Writing for The New Yorker, Cyrus Grace Dunham said that while he initially identified as non-binary, he slowly became more comfortable with the notion of transitioning and taking on the "he/him" pronouns. "Twenty years later, my girlhood was dissolving, with no clear alternative in place. I felt less embodied than ever, less able to gather myself into one person. And yet the idea of “transitioning”— changing my name, starting hormones, getting surgery — sucked me into a thought circuit with no end and no exit," he said, while adding that it was his partner who came up with the name Cyrus during sex, and that's what ultimately made him "feel like a man" and sealed his decision to transition. 

4. Before he transitioned, Cyrus Grace Dunham found himself thrust into the spotlight. 

We first became aware of Cyrus Grace Dunham — then a woman known solely as Grace Dunham — because Lena Dunham mentioned her (as he then preferred to be identified) in her memoir, "Not That Kind Of Girl." In the book, Lena detailed kissing her sister in what some critics called an "overly sexual manner." At that time, Grace Dunham, as he was then known, took to Twitter (on an account that has since been deleted) to defend his sister, and made clear that nothing was printed in the book without expressed permission. 

5. He also said he's not quite sure how he identifies. 

Cyrus Grace Dunham told The Advocate that he's not sure how he identifies, which led the outlet to write that "gender is messy." "I don't really know either. I guess, in a deep soul way, I definitely identify as non-binary, but I also know that I've had a transmasculine experience. And increasingly when I meet people, they experience me as a man. I think I'm transmasculine and non-binary and also maybe forever lesbian," he said to the outlet. 

6. Cyrus Grace Dunham will be appearing at the Wisconsin Book Festival in a heavily-promoted appearance. 

Madison.com seems to be rather excited about Cyrus Grace Dunham's upcoming appearance at the Wisconsin Book Festival on October 29, 2019, at the Madison Public Library. The outlet reports that this one of Cyrus's many appearances to promote the book, which seems to be getting a lot of positive attention. 

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Bernadette Giacomazzo is an editor, writer, and photographer whose work has appeared in People, Teen Vogue, Us Weekly, The Source, XXL, HipHopDX, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Post, and more. She is also the author of The Uprising series. For more information about Bernadette Giacomazzo, click here.