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Omnigender: A Trans-Religious Approach Paperback – November 1, 2007

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 223 pages
  • Publisher: Pilgrim Press; Rev Exp edition (November 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0829817719
  • ISBN-13: 978-0829817713
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,145,427 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Virginia Ramey Mollenkott . . . shows the courage . . . and the scholarly grace her readers have come to expect." --Mary E. Hunt, codirector, Women's Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual (WATER)

A landmark book, filling . . . a major void in transgender writing; the missing bridge between traditional religious doctrine and secular postmodern theory." --Kate Bornstein, author of "Gender Outlaw" and "My Gender Workbook"

"Gives transgendered people the chance to reclaim their connection to God." --Dana Rivers, board of directors, International Foundation for Gender Education

From the Inside Flap

Virginia Ramey Mollenkott contends that the common understanding of gender as two opposite sexes is woefully inadequate.  In fact, she argues that this "binary gender paradigm" is oppressive and inflicts grave suffering on many people.  Identifying ways in which this paradigm is harmful to people, Mollenkott moves beyond the current gender construct to offer a vision of a new, more flexible gender paradigm which she terms "omnigender."

Drawing on a lifetime of experience in writing and teaching about gender issues, Mollenkott bridges traditional religious doctrine and secular postmodern theory related to gender.  She honors the experiences of people who do not fit within the traditional binary concept of gender, including individuals who are intersexual, transsexual, or otherwise transgendered.  Examining the Jewish and Christina scriptures and church history, she finds alternative concepts of gender.  Exploring Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, African, Native American, and other religions, she uncovers precedents for increased gender fluidity.

In proposing a new paradigm, Mollenkott offers a vision of what such and omnigendered society might look like and offers suggestions for the educational, scientific, and political steps it will take to get there.  "The binary gender construct has been and continues to be of life-and-death importance to those who cannot meet society's unrealistic requirement," writes Mollenkott.  In Omingender. A Trans-religious Approach, Virginia Ramey Mollenkott shows how shifting gender paradigms will liberate individuals and make our society more truthful and just. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Virginia Ramey Mollenkott is the author or co-author of 13 books, including several on women and religion. She is a winner of the Lambda Literary Award and has published numerous essays on literary topics.

In 1978, Virginia co-authored Is The Homosexual My Neighbor? A Positive Christian View with Letha Dawson Scanzoni. After being expanded and updated in 1994, this ground-breaking work still stands as one of the most informative and thorough explorations of the topic. Sensuous Spirituality, Dr. Mollenkott's 1992 book (revised and updated in 2008), examines the integration of sexuality and spirituality, social activism and personal peace.

Dr. Virginia Ramey Mollenkott has lectured widely on lesbian, gay, and bisexual rights and has also been active in the transgender cause, authoring Omnigender (revised and updated version published in 2007), and serving as co-author of Transgender Journeys (2003).

"All of her writings may be subsumed under the theme of oneness, which Mollenkott variously describes as an 'organic wholeness' and a 'transcendental integrative vision.' The emphasis is on seeing God in all things and serving God in all activities, integration of the human personality around a unifying center, and awareness of humanity's interdependence."
Quote from Letha Dawson Scanzoni's biography of Virginia on www.novelguide.com

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 34 people found the following review helpful By TERRY on February 4, 2002
Format: Hardcover
In a nutshell, Mollenkott examines the "binary gender construct" that holds us all hostage. In a world centered around the binary gender construct, we are all pigeon-holded into one of two sexes from birth -- male or female -- and from there, we hammered by social pressure to conform to the associated culturally-defined gender roles. That is, men must be "masculine" men and women must be "feminine" women.
Mollenkott debunks the validity of the binary gender construct by first questioning the biological reality of the two sexes -- male, female. Through an exploration of hermaphroditism or intersexuality and other reasoning, Mollenkott shows that our insistence on two, and only two, sexes is erroneous.
Next, Mollenkott shows how the binary gender construct has been harmful to individuals and to society. When people are forced into one of only two gender slots, that labeling has far-reaching ramifications for the kind of life the individual may lead within the good graces of society. The result is personal limitations on choices and behavior, bigotry and hatred toward those who can't or won't fit into one of the two designated boxes, and a perpetuation of patriarchal oppression.
Mollenkott offers a delightful smorgasborg of societies that have gone beyond the two-gender system. Notably, many Native American societies recognize a third gender category called Two-Spirit.
Finally, Mollenkott an omnigender paradigm. She asks us to imagine all of humanity forming a long line with masculine males at one end and feminine females at the other end. Like a rainbow, people with varying degress of gender expression for the center regions of the long line of humanity, with transgendered people forming the very middle ranks.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Lily Penny on April 19, 2010
Format: Paperback
Virginia Mollenkott's "Omnigender: a trans-religious approach" was ground-breaking at the time it was written, virtually creating a new category of scholarship and perception. In the preface she even admits that the main idea of the book, the creation of a new gender paradigm, was one that she had only recently developed, casting her old ideas about gender aside. She states that "This book is my attempt to move beyond the binary gender construct in order to set forth a new gender paradigm, which seeks to include and offer liberation to everyone who has been oppressed by the old model" (Mollenkott vii). In order to do this she must have knowledge of her probable readers and be able to use her evidence and prose to convince them of her thesis. Mollenkott implies that she is trying to connect with two different audiences, a Christian one and a trans-religious one, but in fact alienates them both, leaving her true audience to be those who identify themselves as her "oppressed".

Mollenkott relies on Christianity as a base for her ideology and obviously implies that at least part of her audience is Christian. This can be seen not even 5 pages into the work when she quotes the Intersex Support Group International, a group that "expresses faith in `our Creator and Lord, Jesus Christ'" (Mollenkott 5), as a source on intersex awareness. She does not provide any secular information to help verify the group's reputation, but simply quotes them as saying that "We are His unique creation" (Mollenkott 5) with their only proof of authority being that they are a Christian organization. Clearly she cannot expect someone other than a Christian to see this group as a serious source of information on the topic when the only background she gives is their belief in Jesus Christ.
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By middle age on October 1, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Not an easy read but very educational
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