- Paperback: 272 pages
- Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (April 25, 1995)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0679757015
- ISBN-13: 978-0679757016
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 47 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #730,867 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Gender Outlaw: On Men, Women and the Rest of Us Paperback – April 25, 1995
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“In an age of often hostilely expressed gender politics, Kate Bornstein . . . is sweet, sincere, lucid, and sometimes as corny as Kansas in August.”
—The New York Times
“A foundational voice. . . . Kate Bornstein is a historic figure in the queer and trans community.”
—The Huffington Post
“[Bornstein is on the] leading edge of contemporary debate about sexual identity and gender. [She] asks fundamental and challenging questions about what it means to be a man or woman in our society.”
—San Francisco Chronicle
“Gender Outlaw is an eye-opening book, combining the emotional force of a coming-of-age story with a savvy cultural critique.”
“A radical document.”
“While Bornstein covers an incredible range—from the ‘nuts and bolts’ of her surgery to more abstract musings on a brave new gender-free world—the book never stops fascinating. [She offers us] an abundance of questions—thoughtful, disarming, revelatory questions. Gender Outlaw is an invitation to a dialogue, and it’s a conversation well worth having.”
“Kate Bornstein argues eloquently and passionately for scrapping the categories of women and men. Agree. Disagree. Read it!”
—Leslie Feinberg, author of Stone Butch Blues
“The first book of gender theory written by a transgendered person . . . includes countless insights, trenchant cultural analysis, and generous wit. . . . [It] will surely become a classic.”
“Kate Bornstein celebrates the power of claiming an identity without getting mired in the tarpits of identity politics. A breath of fresh air, the best of both worlds, strong enough for a man, yet made for a woman.”
—Holly Hughes, performance artist
“Kate is an orgasm on two legs. Reading this book gives me a heart orgasm, and it could give you one too! Gender Outlaw is a great work of love.”
—Annie Sprinkle, performance artist
“Kate Bornstein is a fierce and funny voice on the front lines of gender and sexual identity. Her wise heart and wild imagination challenge us to really own our bodies, our desires, our dreams.”
—Tim Miller, performance artist
From the Inside Flap
of-age story, part mind-altering manifesto on gender and sexuality, coming directly to you from the life experiences of a transsexual woman, Gender Outlaw breaks all the rules and leaves the reader forever changed.26 black-and-white illustrations.
Top customer reviews
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Boornstein does not pretend to know the answers to the questions she raises. For the most part, the critical act in this book is raising the questions at all. And even when she has worked out an answer for herself, she is extremely clear (with herself and with the reader) that the boundaries of that answer pretty much end where her body ends and the rest of the world begins.
Her experience acts as a prism through which she views everything else about the world (about theatre, about "the lesbian community", about straight marriage, about loving, about medicine and therapy). Her sideways view of things that had previously seemed solid to me helped me re-orient my vision of the world as it is, and as it might be.
Come to this book with an open mind, and reading it will open your mind even farther. It is absolutely not required that you agree with everything she has to say, that you interpret her observations the way she does, that you experience the world the way she does. Whatever answers you find for yourself, traveling with this author through her world of questions is a ride which should not be missed.
As the New York Times says, instead of being hostile about gender liberation, Bornstein is sweet, sincere, lucid. Her sometimes anthropological point of view is useful in lifting up age-old cultural assumptions about gender and orientations in a section she jocularly calls "The Rulebook." Gender can be assigned, attributed, there can be gender roles or an experienced identity. Bernstein suggests fifteen other models in addition to the usual gay, straight or bi- orientations. The list is fascinating, including: multiple partners models, differently-abled bodies models, reproductive models, models based on sex act preference...leading up to the heading of sex without gender.
After setting up the rules, Bornstein enthusiastically dismantles them. Are there solid definitions of male and female? In addition to the usual two sets of chromosomes there are five other sets. If gender equals what hormones you have, you could buy your gender at any pharmacy. In addition, she tells us several times that in some other cultures it is normal for someone born one gender to assume the gender of the other. She mentions more than once that a gender transformation often accompanies the process of becoming a tribal healer or shaman.
Bornstein namedrops many people of transgressive gender that you can look up - many of whom have written books. In addition, she provides a fascinating bibliography. Her questions are possibly the most interesting part of the book. "Do you `feel like a man'? Do you `feel like a woman'?" she asks. "What does a man feel like? What does a woman feel like?"
There are many other considerations like gender and politics, oppression, etc., but the list is too long for a short review. There is a play included which I did not think was very good although parts were interesting. Nevertheless, I would enthusiastically recommend this book to anyone interested in transgressive gender issues.