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Apartheid of Sex: A Manifesto on the Freedom of Gender Hardcover – January 17, 1995


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 178 pages
  • Publisher: Crown; 1 edition (January 17, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 051759997X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0517599976
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 4.7 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #121,776 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

An earnest but sometimes facile assault on the legal separation of people by gender, Rothblatt's manifesto synthesizes numerous "trans-gender" arguments?from biologists, social scientists and historians?that expose the limitations of a sexist "apartheid" of gender. For example, modern automation eases tasks once performed manually; genetic science has overturned the notion that the XY chromosome without fail distinguishes men from women; and so on. Rothblatt's slender book takes on far too many such arguments to explore any in depth; her own ideas about unisex language and even unisex restrooms seem naive. One wishes that the author?a lawyer and vice-chair of the Bio-Ethics Committee of the International Bar Association?had focused more on her own area of expertise.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Arguing that "the legal division of people into males and females is as wrong as the legal division of people into black and white race," Rothblatt, an attorney and transsexual, is a proponent of "transgenderism," which she characterizes as a grass-roots movement whose guiding principle is "that people should be free to change, either temporarily or permanently, the sex type to which they were assigned since infancy." Using a provocative reinterpretation of historical and legal issues, feminist thinking, and scientific research to defend her belief in continua of sex, gender, and sexual identity, Rothblatt sometimes seems unclear of her intended audience. The volume concludes with the International Bill of Gender Rights adopted in August 1993 by the Second International Conference on Transgender Law and Employment Policy. For larger public and academic collections.
James E. Van Buskirk, San Francisco P.L.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

More About the Author

Martine Rothblatt creates technologies to help people's lives. She created the vehicle tracking by satellite industry, she invented satellite radio and she built the Lifenaut and CyBeRev computer networks used to store people's consciousness as digital mindfiles. Most recently she created a biotechnology company to help save the lives of people with pulmonary disorders.

Customer Reviews

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Linda Chamberlain on May 2, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In The Apartheid of Sex, as in so many of her other endeavors, Martine Rothblatt not only expands our minds and our humanity, but she also helps us see why new scientific insights are too often met with resistance rather than greated with open arms and excitement. She summarizes it with: "It takes bravery because the existing scientists will all fight against the revolutionary, who is, after all, claiming that their life's work was wrong, meaningless, or at least irrelevant". Rothblatt further illuminates the concept by quoting Machiavelli (The Prince): "There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct or more uncertain of success than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things. The innovator has for enemies all those who have well under the old conditions, and but lukewarm defenders in those who may do well in the new". This book is definitely a paradigm shift in the way we see human sexuality. Indeed, in the very way we see humanity. A shift away from the black/white view of male/female sexuality that has for thousands of years supported the patriarchal culture that has given religious, political and legal support to male dominance at the expense of all other sexualities that lie along the sexual continuum.

Rothblatt's documentation and explanations for this revolutionary view are compelling. This book is a masterpiece of persuasion in making people think about supporting this monumental cause for improving the human condition, removing the shackles from human creativity, and helping us all reach our greatest potential.

Linda Chamberlain
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Deb Nam-Krane VINE VOICE on October 6, 2010
Format: Paperback
Rothblatt makes the compelling argument that our notions of sexual identity are rooted in traditions that have always poorly served us, whether they derive from Greco-Roman civilization, early Christianity or even the "Enlightenment". Through all of them, "women" (or those born with vaginas) were judged inferior to "men" (or those born with penises), whether through character, strength or intellectual capacity. Rothblatt also notes that most major organized religions suffer from the same deficiency, citing Buddhism's belief that only a man can attain Nirvana.

While notions of female character inferiority have been debunked (at least legally) and physical strength is irrelevant for our modern world, arguments that men and women are different intellectually persist. Women are still (as of the writing in 1995, and as of the date of this review in 2010) judged to be better at writing and communication, while men are held to be better at "hard" science and math. Men are also said to test better. On the first count, Rothblatt rightly calls out that the overlap in scores is far greater than the discrepancies, and also notes that men tend to "dominate" the extremes of the low or high scores. However, those discrepancies account for 10% of the total population- both male and female. In other words, men and women are far more alike than they are different, and it doesn't make sense to draw inferences about everyone based on statistical outliers.

We cannot even depend on a chromosomal definition of sex. While we're taught that a boy= XY and a girl= XX, or that the presence of a Y chromosome makes for a boy, it's not always that simple. Many girls (1 in 500?) are born with XXY, and there are some with just an X. Further, some people with XX present with male genitalia.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Johanna A. Epps on March 5, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Martine Rothblatt, in the book, "The Apartheid of Sex" makes a cogent and compelling argument that the tradition of dividing all persons into two groups at birth, male and female, based on our private genitalia, is not only unnecessary, but it is inherently prejudicial and oppressive. Rothblatt, takes a notion that is so deeply ingrained in our culture as to seem obvious "of course, we are either male or female" and lays out an alternative way to view humanity that would allow us all more freedom and creativity. I think it should be required reading for all parents and teachers.
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1 of 16 people found the following review helpful By James L. Park on October 6, 2010
Format: Paperback
Martine Rothblatt
The Apartheid of Sex:
A Manifesto on the Freedom of Gender

(New York: Crown, 1995) 178 pages
(ISBN: 051759997X)
(Library of Congress Call number: HQ1075.R68 1995)

Rothblatt wants complete freedom for people
to be and express any variation of sex and gender they please:
to dress any way they want;
to have whatever personality traits they prefer;
to marry anyone they want;
to raise children in whatever ways please them;
to have sex with whomever they please; &
to have any surgery to change sex that they want.
He believes all of these are matters of social convention.
But this reviewer believes that the last two
(sex-scripts and biological sex) are much deeper than enculturation.

Rothblatt believes there is a continuum of sex from female to male.
He uses the analogy of race:
Skin color shows every possible shade and variation.
And Rothblatt believes it is possible
to have the body of one sex but the mind of the other.

As the title suggests,
Rothblatt wants to end sex-segregation and discrimination
--just as racial segregation and discrimination are now ending.
Historically speaking the races are converging.
The geographical separations that originally created
the different races of the human species are now disappearing.
And interracial reproduction
is reducing the differences between the races.
Rothblatt's own 4 children are interracial,
since he is white and his wife is black.
But inter-breeding between males and females
has not reduced the differences
between the two sexes of the human species.
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