Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation by Kate Bornstein and S. Bear Bergman

Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation by Kate Bornstein and S. Bear BergmanGender Outlaws: The Next Generation by Kate Bornstein, S. Bear Bergman
Published by Seal Press on August 31, 2010
Genres: Biography & Memoir, Gay Studies, Gender Studies, LGBT, Social Science
Pages: 304
Source: I purchased a copy of this book.
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In the 15 years since the release of Gender Outlaw, Kate Bornstein’s groundbreaking challenge to gender ideology, transgender narratives have made their way from the margins to the mainstream and back again. Today's transgenders and other sex/gender radicals are writing a drastically new world into being. In Gender Outlaws, Bornstein, together with writer, raconteur, and theater artist S. Bear Bergman, collects and contextualizes the work of this generation's trans and genderqueer forward thinkers — new voices from the stage, on the streets, in the workplace, in the bedroom, and on the pages and websites of the world's most respected mainstream news sources. Gender Outlaws includes essays, commentary, comic art, and conversations from a diverse group of trans-spectrum people who live and believe in barrier-breaking lives.

Note: I recommend reading this one in print. I purchased the epub, and the text in the comics were very difficult to see (one was completely unreadable).

Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation is a collection of deeply personal pieces offering an incredible variety of perspectives within the trans community, in a number of formats: Essays, prose, poetry, art, photography, comics, transcripts of performance art, and more.

Although gender identity and sexual orientation are distinctly different, there is a place where the two overlap. Some of these pieces are uncomfortably personal and/or fall on the erotic side. This will be a problem for some readers. Honestly, those few pieces were way, way outside of my own comfort zone as far as reading material goes. At the same time, I think they are absolutely vital to the overall collection. It’s next to impossible to ignore this intersection if you want a deeper understanding of gender identity. And as uncomfortable as I felt at times, I could see how what I was reading tied in with the overall picture. I knew that skipping or skimming those essays would have left a gap in my understanding, and understanding was something I wanted far more than comfort.

Going into this book, I had a pretty negative view of drag (even my trans spouse told me I was probably being a little unfair). But Esmé Rodríguez’s essay “Glitter, Glitter, on the Wall, Who’s the Queerest of Them All?” gave me a heartfelt viewpoint that had never once crossed my mind. I walked away from that piece with more insight, and with my perspective completely changed.

This is a fierce collection. Some of these authors take back slurs, such as she-male and tranny. They are all fearless. They rip apart the gender binary in order to live authentic lives. Their words are shocking, introspective, profoundly honest, and touching.

If you want to truly listen to voices from the trans community—across the spectrum—this is a must-read.

  • This sounds really interesting, and is a topic I’m into exploring further. Sometimes it’s nice to be thrown out of one’s comfort zone, and have your belief system challenged a little – amiright?

  • “…and understanding was something I wanted far more than comfort.” I would like to stand and applaud this sentence all day long. Good for you! I know a boat load of people who could use a little bit of understanding AND un-comfortableness in their lives.

    I think I need to read this 😀

  • This. I will be reading this FOR SURE.

  • Oh my goodness, this sounds so amazing. I have it on my shelf right now, but I can’t get to it until I’m done with this boring graduation business. I can’t wait to explore these pieces!

  • I had no idea there was a sequel! It sounds awesome – I will follow your advice and try to get hold of a print copy if I can.