This week I read a post by Danielle at OneSmallPaw about tracking diversity and the denial of intersections. Her points are so important and beautifully stated, especially on the topic of cisgender privilege, and it really struck a chord with me personally.
In her original post, Danielle says: “If you care about the LGBTQ+ community, you will think about your use of only two gender identifiers.” About a week or so ago, I purchased Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation by Kate Bornstein and S. Bear Bergman. After reading Danielle’s post, my mind was swimming with scattered thoughts about how easily trans people—especially those who don’t fit into a well-defined category—are dismissed or ignored. But I was having trouble pinning these thoughts down in a coherent way, so I moved Gender Outlaws to the top of my TBR pile. Wow, what a great decision. This book is basically all about those intersections as they relate to gender (and sexuality) and is clarifying a lot of my own gut feelings, as well as giving me a wealth of new perspectives that are changing my mind (and correcting me) about some things. I’m about halfway through, but already I’m so impressed by the incredible variety of voices portrayed in this collection of essays.
From Danielle’s follow-up post: “We live in a world that continues to erase the voices of these marginalized groups and ignores their intersections. If you want to read diversely because you care to hear these voices, then acknowledge them.”
I don’t personally track diversity in my reading, but I enjoy stories that portray experiences different than my own and seek them out. I think a lot of readers are like that. Next time I want to step outside my own privilege through a book, I’ll keep the following questions at the forefront of my mind:
Is there a voice I’ve erased? Whose voice have I not yet heard?