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Nobody Passes: Rejecting the Rules of Gender and Conformity
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on September 8, 2007
As a queer man who because of my politics, my class, and my weight always felt like an outsider among other queer men, this radical anthology on passing and not passing really resonated with me. Like Gloria Anzaldua's groundbreaking feminist classic, "Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza", this book challenges us all to interrogate the gender, racial, and sexual orientation dichotomies that so confine us. By exploring the contradictions, ambiguities, and complexities of our individual and collective selves, this liberatory book encourages readers to move beyond identity politics and discover new frontiers. Whether you are a lesbian-identified gay man like myself, or a heterosexual queer, or a multiracial transgendered individual, or a white person of color, this fascinating book will help you embrace your multiplicities and live outside of the binary system. Activists who have read and enjoyed Mattilda's earlier anthology, "That's Revolting!" will not be disappointed with this book.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
HALL OF FAMEon March 4, 2008
Many months have gone by since the publication of this handsome and groundbreaking anthology, and is is time to declare it a true classic, having passed the test of time, the test truly exacting, the test that makes sense. The articles are still as timely and fresh as the day they were written. On the topic of passing, Mattilda (a/k/a Matt Bernstein Sycamore) is often eloquent, while stretching the topic into unexpected places to such a degree that the often elastic word comes to have little or no connection with the activity it once used to denote. In a way, this book is a more progressive and activist sequel to Brooke Kroeger's standard-bearing study PASSING: WHEN PEOPLE CAN"T BE WHO THEY ARE. "Passing"---the search to be what you're not---has gotten a bad press over the years, and Kroeger's book was one of the first to make us challenge our assumptions regarding this taboo topic.

In a similar vein, Mattilda assembles a cross section of profiles of young contemporary Americans, supplementing extensive interviews with expert comment. In the background of NOBODY PASSES we experience, as though a shadow had crossed the sun, the tragic tales of "passing" as that of Brandon Teena, the drifter whose murder became the basis for the film "Boys Don't Cry." Mattilda's book urges to ask the question, Aren't we all "passing" in one way or another? She musters scholarly and theoretical sources to support her speculations on identity and authenticity, and even dares to ask, why are we doing this? What market are we being offered up to satisfy?

Why is eros shaped the way it is? Why do some pass the test (the other test, not the test of time) and others fail, condemned into a limbo of "quirky" and deprived of the rights accorded other citizens with more money. Gender reassignment is just one way in which the staus quo is seized with a desire to smooth every bump away. Other prejudices must be battled daily. Some of the writers aren't as skilled as others, but that's just a fact of life and it doesn't mean they don't have fascinating things to say. "We're jaded, shaded, judged every day by everyone else's eyes, given pass or fail," writes Jen Cross, "a glance over, an examination." Unlearning oneself may be the only way out, that, and organized mass action. Your identity may not be the same as mine, but you will learn to respect mine, and your own, after you read through the challenging and controversial essays in this book.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on December 22, 2006
buy a copy of this book for yourself and any person you know that isnt simple minded. The other day i went out and bought two copies, one for me, and one for that kind of person, and both of us love it. Though i am not done yet, this book is one of my favorite non-fiction that i have read this year. Matt Bernstein Sycamore does not pretend to be an absolute authority on the topics of passing/not passing, and niether do any of the contributors, but they all hand down a great amount of knowledge to the reader about what it is like to grow up as an Okie, in a homohop group, someone who is into masochism, a disabled lesbian, and so on.

before coming across this book, i had never put much thought into the topics of passing and how they touch my life and others, and like Sycamores other books, this one definatly opened my eyes wider than before.

With Nobody Passes, Sycamore gives us a book with topics that aren't focused in on by the mainstream, and the underground.

Mattilda's past books have changed my life and how i look at things, and this one is already starting too, so i HIGHLY suggest picking this up and giving it a read.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on March 19, 2010
This book discusses passing in many forms including racial, transsexual, and genderqueer essays. There are several gems in this collection though that go beyond the traditional queering of passing. First, Fowles writes an essay about being a feminist submissive trying to find an understanding soul, complete with a women's studies degree. Then Bednarska picks up the reins with an interesting piece on how she can never pass as AB when she's a crip. Diamond discusses how far a transgendered woman must go to be taken seriously with a brave piece on her experiences in a women's prison that wanted her gone before she saved someone's life. Andre and Chang contribute an interesting conversation on whether a femme identity can be seen as queer if adopted by a lesbian. They never manage to resolve this, but they do expose several prejudices within the queer community that prevent many women from expressing themselves and being accepted. Excellent overall.
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on December 30, 2013
Good reading on a wide range of identity related topics. Some of the essays seem to go a little long and repetitive, but overall, a very good read. You may not find yourself agreeing with every conclusion drawn in each essay, but they are certainly thought provoking and engaging.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on October 15, 2012
If you think you have problems , read this book and you may change Y our X mind also. I have not read it ear to ear but that does not mean that it did not blow to hell some of my challenges and or
"problem people" like shit , it gave me more compassion in fact for my own as well
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on January 11, 2015
Good. Thank you.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on November 1, 2012
The premise of this book was good but the content was somewhat lacking. I wasn't pleased with the various writers selections and I think the editor/author could have done a better job. I was interested in a more objective anthology. Three stars.
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