Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation

Kate Bornstein, Author, S Bear Bergman, Author
Edited by Kate Bornstein and S. Bear Bergman, Seal, $16.95 trade paper (304p) ISBN 978-1-58005-308-2
Reviewed on: 12/06/2010
Release date: 08/01/2010
Fifteen years after Bornstein's groundbreaking Gender Outlaw, this follow-up collection presents the wide-ranging voices of a new generation of gender radicals. In thought-provoking essays, poems, and comics, contributors address the problematic nature of language and labels, which often force people into two categories; "People get upset with transgender people who choose to inhabit a third gender space rather than ‘pick a side.'" A lack of acknowledgment of alternate gender labels in public spaces such as restrooms, and on official documentation highlights this issue on a daily basis. Lypsinka, Ryka Aoki, Katie Diamond and Johnny Blazes and other contributors reveal how far we've come in defining ourselves, and some, like Janet Hardy, resist definition entirely: "I am perfectly comfortable… not choosing a fixed identity location." Self-assuredness and self-acceptance exude from these deeply personal writings ("Let's stop trying to deconstruct gender into nonexistence, and instead start celebrating it as inexplicable, varied, profound, and intricate"). Non-Western perspectives, including a description of a ritual for Maasai women who can't reproduce, broaden the concept of "gender outlaw" and further challenge accepted notions of what is normal. (Sept.)
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