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Kate Bornstein has been through some changes--a former heterosexual male, one-time Scientologist and IBM salesperson, now a lesbian woman writer and actress. In this work, she covers everything readers want to know about gender (but are too confused to ask) and takes a witty, incisive look at the radical new politics of sexuality and gender. Also includes Bornstein's play, Hidden: A Gender.
|1||Transgender Style: Some Fashion Tips||3|
|2||The Hard Part||7|
|3||Interlude: Nuts And Bolts||15|
|4||Naming All The Parts||21|
|5||Interlude: The Lesbian Thing||41|
|6||Abandon Your Tedious Search! The Rulebook Has Been Found!||45|
|7||Which Outlaws? or, Who Was That Masked Man?||55|
|8||Gender Terror, Gender Rage||71|
|9||Send In The Clowns||87|
|10||First You Die, And Then You Get Their Attention||93|
|11||The First Question, or, They Have Those Funny, Staring Eyes||101|
|12||The Other Questions||113|
|13||Transsexual Lesbian Playwright Tells All!||143|
|14||Queer Life/Queer Theater||147|
|15||Hidden: A Gender||169|
|16||The Seven Year Itch (what goes around, comes around)||227|
I could tell that this was a book undeserving of its praise & icon status early on, specifically when I got to the part where Bornstein seriously oversimplifies phalloplasty surgery & essentially shrugs off Trans men, whom she insists make up half of the TS community (an idea supported by purely anecdotal and speculative data), by saying that they can just bind, score some hormones & then live happily stealth w/o any questions from anybody. Her suggestion to abolish any sort of gender traditions is simply bizarre & based largely on second wave feminist gender theory a'la Shulamith Firestone's The Dialectic of Sex -- a book which I'd highly recommend over anything by Bornstein as it's not bogged-down by gimmicky elements such as this one's quasi-autobiography format & obscenely heavy use of sidebar text; the sidebars probably take up around 20% of this book's content & make it doubly trying to follow as it causes the reader to jump around the page or @ least constantly go back & forth between & w/i chapters. Basically, a book that says surprisingly little yet still manages to pass itself off as a challenging read to the easily confused by simply adopting an unorthodox format that's difficult to follow.<BR/><BR/>Furthermore, her spiels on "indoctrinating" people into a societally-conceived stable of gender normalities based on natally-determined sex simply don't apply to a large amount of TS persons I've known: When one's internalised sense of identity is & always has been "boy" or "man", it really doesn't matter how many dresses & lipsticks & what-not are thrown at you, literally or figuratively, it's just not going to take. She also compromises the TS voices wanting basic gender dignity by likening TS persons to this glorified "other" concept that can lead to deeper closeting --after all, if you're not even what you've always known yourself to be, & this high-profile post-op woman is saying so, then what's the point? Reading this book was one of the worst pre-transition things I ever did, as it pretty much fostered that kind of thinking for years; the fact that she also seems to go out of her way to ignore or just somehow diminish what she herself insists is a whole half of the TS community yet is held as an icon by both MTF and FTM persons definitely rubbed some sand into the sunburn.<BR/><BR/>While I acknowledge that expecting our heroes to be perfect means that we won't have any, there should be a certain expectation for some bare-minimum excellence in our icons. Bornstein is so thoroughly undeserving of her icon status & it's very apparent why she has it: She promotes "othering" of TS persons rather than fundamental gender dignity in a world full of non-TS people othering the TS community left, right, up, down, & in circles. Her rally to abolish the status quo in social gender is based largely on reinforcing the status quo through an elaborately layered form of reverse psychology and based on largely ignoring very basic social anthropology, specifically why any sort of sense of gender normalcy exists in the first place & why that should make gender dignity a higher priority to the greater TS community than the simple othering that TS people are bombarded with on a daily basis (sorry, just cos it's coming from one of your "sisters" doesn't make the message true). Her fundamental ignorance of mere basics of Trans men's existencWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 15, 2001
An outstanding view of gender and it's role in society. Kate has a way of taking this issue and presenting it with some humor while being serios at the same time. I recomend this book to anyone who is dealing with gender issues or just wants to learn more.
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Posted May 5, 2010
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Posted February 9, 2009
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