... dispenses with the ubiquitous narrative of transition as a dreary but necessary inconvenience ... because Martin and Ozma begin this collection with Sullivan’s childhood diaries, We Both Laughed takes a wide view of the many subtle influences that shape the burgeoning self ... [Lou's] diaries illustrate beautifully that to transition is not to cut oneself off from the world but to emerge more fully into it—to embrace the beauty and complexity of the self so as to better meet the beauty and complexity of others ... poring over his diaries does not feel like an invasion of his privacy, even though he is not here to see new readers encountering his words for the first time. It is more like bearing witness to what he always intended to share with others: his discovery and creation of himself ... It feels like a gift to be able to read such a complete and evocative record of a life spent in pursuit of joy. Now that so many voices speak loudly of transition as a kind of death, what a relief it is to have such a rich historical document of transition as a way of coming alive.
... a great book by a great person ... The legitimately unresolved formal tensions of autobiography as a genre––that it meanders, navel-gazes––are perfect for a Trans Literature burdened by the pressure to produce respectable texts whose protagonists, diplomatic envoys from the Land of Trans, aren’t allowed to be complex freaks ... If I am perhaps too glowing in my praise of Lou, that’s probably because I can’t physically imagine myself without him.
... ripe with mirth, confusion, lust, despair, hope, and charm ... Before I read the diaries, when I only knew about the major bullet points of [Lou's] life, I was astonished by the idea that anyone could parse his own mysterious needs so clearly with no template. I thought of him as heroic, almost inhuman. But We Both Laughed in Pleasure is better than the sterile document I had imagined: It gave me the rare, uncanny experience of reliving my youth through his, of cataloging his moments of idiocy and bliss as though they were my own, with a specificity I didn’t know was possible. After Sullivan speaks for the first time, by phone, with another trans man, he writes, 'I felt very masculine talking with him, and very relaxed, like for the 1st time I was talking with someone who understood what I meant.' I couldn’t help but feel the same way.