Customer Reviews: Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation
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on October 3, 2010
Sixteen years ago, Kate Bornstein published a land mark book in the transgender community, titled Gender Outlaws: On Men, Women, and the Rest of Us. It became a landmark work, exploring gender roles, attitudes and the fact that there are far more than just two genders. Now, in the year 2010, Kate and her co-author Bear Bergman have brought forth this generation's version, Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation.
Kate Bornstein, born into a male body in 1948, transitioned to a woman in 1986, and settled into the lesbian community as an author, playwright and gender theorist. However, while she definitely did not feel that she was a male, she also questioned whether or not she was female, stating that her transition to such was because it was the only other option to being male available to her. She launched into explorations of the gender binary and questioned the rigid idea that that only two polarities of gender - male or female - exist. Her books include Gender Outlaw: On Men, Women, and the Rest of Us, Roadkill: An Infobahn Erotic Adventure (Novel, co-authored with Caitlin Sullivan), My Gender Workbook: How to Become a Real Man, a Real Woman, the Real You, or Something Else Entirely and Hello Cruel World: 101 Alternatives to Suicide for Teens, Freaks and Other Outlaws.
Bear Bergman's story comes from the opposite side of the gender fence. Ze was born in 1974, and is an activist, writer, theater performance artist and poet. Bear's work and life questions all facets of gender and gender expression. Hir's books include Butch is a Noun, The Nearest Exit May be Behind You, and now, with Bornstein, Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation.
Gender Outlaws: the Next Generation is an anthology containing an Introduction, an Intermission and an Epilogue by Kate and Bear; and many essays, poems, and comics all profoundly exploring, deconstructing, rebuilding and revaluing the concept of "gender". Also included is one recipe for vegan curry.
I love the multitude of voices in this book, the varieties of viewpoints and artistic expressions! The book is divided into five parts; Do I Look Like an Outlaw to You?, Being Reconfigured is Not the Same as Being Reimagined...Which is Why I am as Cute as I Happen to Be, It Might Not Be a Picnic, But There's a Great Buffet, and the final, powerful, And Still We Rise.
Part one; Do I Look Like an Outlaw to You? opens with the essay "We're All Somebody's Freak" by Gwendolyn Ann Smith, founder of the Transgender Day of Remembrance. Going straight for the heart of the matter, and setting the pace for the rest of the anthology, Smith questions the prejudices and barriers that exist within the transgender community towards each other.
In Part Two entitled "Being Reconfigured is Not the Same as Being Reimagined", "Taking Up Space" by Kyle Lukoff, addresses the powerful issues of eating disorders and transgenderism. "The Wrong Body" by Scott Turner Schofield deals with the question of the bodies we are born into.
Part Three, "...which is Why I am as Cute as I Happen to Be" has one of the most humorous pieces in the book, "The Secret Life of My Wiener" by Corry Schmanke Parrish, as well as the return of a black belt martial artist to the mats and gyms once denied her in "Living Well and Coming Free", by Ryka Aoki.
In Part Four, "It Might Not Be a Picnic, But There's a Great Buffet", "The Manly Art of Pregnancy" by j wallace explores being a man and pregnant, a scenario that is having more and more impact in today's society. "Transgressing Gender at Passover with Jesus!" by Peterson Toscano restories one of the Bible's great stories in transgender terms, and "Today's New Name May Be Tomorrow's Old" by Sassafras Lowry confronts the taboo subject of transitioning and then de-transitioning in the trans subculture.
Finally, Part Five, And Still We Rise takes on the tragedy of abuse and murder that haunts transgenders today, giving powerful voice to the violence we face. "Princess" a comic by Christine Smith addresses humorously but with great force, bullying issues faced in the schools. "Marsha P Johnson::ten suns the transformer" is an elegy for Marsha P Johnson, a famous Drag Queen whose death was possibly murder, but ruled a suicide. "Shot, Stabbed, Choked, Strangled, Broken: a ritual for November 20th" by Roz Kaveney is a haunting poem for the victims remembered on the Transgender Day of Remembrance. These are only parts of this stunning anthology - 47 authors, poets and artists all told speak out on the fluidity, the power and the changes in gender in the world today.
The book is bracketed by conversations between Bear Bergman and Kate Bornstein, a rollicking walk down memory lane of their association and the changes in the transgender community, (I am still boggled by mental images of Sarah Palin and Kate Bornstein on a desert island!) and a look to the future of Gender to come. It is not just a book about transgender, but about gender itself, how it is shaped in society and how it shapes individuals and how those individuals continue to stand societal conventions on end.
There are some shocking and unsettling moments in the book - "In Our Skin" by A. P. Andre and Luis Guterierrez Mock is the transcript of an erotic performance piece (complete with photographs) of love making on stage that bends gender in dramatic ways. This piece will be startling and perhaps difficult for individuals who pick this book up to read with no previous contact with transgender and gender bending cultures. "Jihad" by Azadeh Arsanjani and "Pilgrimage" by Zev Al-Walid are powerful, much needed essays of transgenderism within the Muslim faith that may also be unexpected and disconcerting in today's political climate. All told, this book in its entirety is a powerful cohesive exploration of gender that speaks forth- rightly and with depth, poignancy and humor to a world that faces bewildering changes in the map of gender roles and expressions in the world today.
It would be my hope that "Gender Outlaws: the Next Generation" may reach a wide audience; not just those within the transgender community, but instead, travel even further to the world at large, becoming this generation's contributions to the changes in gender in our world. I cannot recommend it highly enough! Finally, the books dedication to Bear Bergman's son, Stanley Safran Bergman says it all - " the next generation".

Review by Hannah C Webb
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on November 6, 2010
Fifteen years after Kate Borstein's landmark "Gender Outlaws" anthology, which gave the definitive platform to varied transgender voices, she joins well-known gender activist, author and performance artist, S. Bear Bergman, in this ambitious and impressive collection of prose, poetry, graphics and observations from 47 extremely diverse individuals involved in trans and "genderqueer" issues throughout the world, many of whom were quite young at the time of Borstein's original work. They illustrate how gender issues and stereotypical perceptions and attitudes in today's society and culture affect their lives, and provide a valuable insight to those both inside and outside of the movement. Facing a myriad of obstacles, they remain positive and focused on a future in which gender will be considered less of a given but more of a byproduct of being.

I'm a gay man who considered myself fairly well informed about transgender issues, but this book opened my eyes to issues and problems I could have never imagined as an outsider. From the "Catch 22" of being identified by others as a gender you were never comfortable with and left behind, to being criticized by other transsexuals because one declined (or could not afford) gender reassignment surgery, to the detailed experiences of a pregnant "transman," I not only learned a great deal from this book, but firmly now believe it makes the obstacles that gay men and lesbians face seem simple, by comparison. Recommended reading, five stars out of five.

- Bob Lind, Echo Magazine
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on January 28, 2012
An AMAZING anthology of people's voices. It's heartening and happy and sad and sexy all rolled up into one fantastic book that I absolutely adore. There's a lovely piece by Julia Serano about the countless ways to express a trans identity, followed appropriately by Sam Peterson's section heralding a fourth wave of feminism - one of compassion. Every work in this book is beautiful. It's also comforting, as someone who isn't able to reach out into a local queer community, to know I'm not alone.
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on March 21, 2015
This is an amazing book with so many stories from so many people.

I had a Kindle copy, but I decided I really prefer the softcover. There are so many authors here of such incredibly diverse styles, messages and formats.

Anything from plays to cartoons to short stories to personal tales.

If you want to learn the many ways one can be genderqueer or the cooler term Gender Outlaw this is a wonderful book.

And unlike Kate Bornstein's classic "Gender Outlaw" this is not an academic book, it's a heck of a lot of fun.

I already sent one to a friend. And the one I bought myself I think I will let my friend keep.

I will be buying this book for a lot of people.

A new classic
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on July 6, 2011
After I studied some of Kate's work in one of my classes and saw her speak at my school, I bought this book. I have never been happier! Although I don't necessarily identify as a gender outlaw like the people represented in this book, this book really forced me to think outside the box and explore the truly fluid quality of gender. And the commentary presented by Bear and Kate is hilarious! I'd definitely recommend this book to any aspiring gender/queer theorist/enthusiast!
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on April 23, 2013
This is an excellent collection of essays exploring gender outside of the traditional binary. For transgender or LGBT readers, this collection will expand your understanding of the diversity of our communities, for those who are not, this collection provides moving accounts of the experience of those of us who are outlaws who dare to live beyond the binary..
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on April 7, 2016
Good essays, but a tad dated. Used as a resource for a graduate class in gender and sexualities. The last "essay" on cisgender privileges was eye-opening to those who had never thought to question or examine their privilege.
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on May 25, 2013
An excellent read. It is a collection of many writings by a wide variety of gender variant people. Some of these people are very good writers; a few not so much. But they all present their perspective and experience with being gender variant. It is hard to find good works on this subject and for those who experience this admittedly rather strange condition more of this kind of collection is needed to help us understand a little more about why we don't fit the standard binary model of expectation. Our journeys are all different and the works here depict this well. I highly recommend it if you are gender variant like me or if you have a friend or loved one who is. The works here will help you understand a bit more and understanding is what we need most.
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on April 16, 2014
This book is not flawless - some of the passages were a bit boring or repetitive, some just make no sense at all (to me - looking at you, random poetry), but overall, it is very well done and very engaging. Most of the voices represented here are unique and thought-provoking and sometimes conflicting. They capture different viewpoints on a wide variety of subjects within the queer spectrum. Some passages are funny, some beautiful, some empowering, some just more narrative than anything. Overall, a good read.
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on November 15, 2012
I love feminist/sexually progressive anthologies, and this one hits the mark! It is my second favorite, only to Yes Means Yes!: Visions of Female Sexual Power and A World Without Rape. Whether you identify as trans*, *queer, gender*, or you just think the things society connects between *down there* and what ought to be *up here* (points to head) is nonsense - this is a must read.
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