Sunday Salon: Tracking Stats and Gender Outlaws

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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?

  • We’ve talked about it, but I loved this post, too…and you have me really interested in Gender Outlaws now. I can’t wait to read a review!

  • Glad you’ve mentioned Gender Outlaws–especially since I’ve been seeking out books on gender. I think that tracking diversity is a good step in a direction of awareness, but you’re right that it brings up so many other little “intersections.” I’ve fairly good about having diverse reading in terms of POC but non-traditional gender is something that hasn’t really been something I’ve watched. I didn’t even know what cisgender was until I looked it up a few weeks ago. :-/

    • The variety of voices is amazing. Some of the essayists get very (almost uncomfortably) personal, but wow it’s powerful.

  • I need to read Gender Outlaws, that much is clear. I’m so focused on my own issues, the issues in my family, that I tend to disappear others. I don’t mean to, of course, but I become so focused on getting a fair shake for my own kid that I end up with a bit of tunnel vision.

    I don’t track anything. I’ve thought about it. I’ve wanted to. The reason I don’t comes down to plain laziness. :/ I’m like you though, in that I love reading stories about lives that are completely different different from my own. We can all do better though, that’s for sure.

    Great post, my friend. Food for thought!

    • Awww I think we all have a tendency to get hyperfocused on the things our own families are facing – it’s only natural, and I know I do!

  • Gender Outlaws sounds great, and I can’t wait to hear what you think. Definitely will be adding to my TBR. I found Danielle’s post super interesting, and she definitely brings up some great points. Diversity in books/authors/publishing/marketing/etc, broadly or more into specifics, might be an interesting topic for The Socratic Salon to tackle……

    • ohhhh that would be a good topic for TSS!
      This is one of those reads where you want to race through it because the content is so fantastic, but you also want to slow down and remember every.single.thing. You know?

      • I’ve definitely read books like that. Can’t wait to hear your final thoughts, and I’ve bookmarked it on GR 🙂

  • Wait, this book sounds so good. And OneSmallPaw’s post was really interesting and important. Thanks for sharing!