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About Julia Serano
Julia Serano is an Oakland, California-based writer, performer, biologist, and activist. She is best known for her 2007 book Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity, which readers of Ms. Magazine ranked #16 on their list of the “100 Best Non-Fiction Books of All Time.” Her other nonfiction books include 2013’s Excluded: Making Feminist and Queer Movements More Inclusive (which was a finalist for the Judy Grahn Award for Lesbian Nonfiction) and 2016’s Outspoken: A Decade of Transgender Activism and Trans Feminism (which was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award for Transgender Nonfiction).
Julia’s first foray into fiction, 99 Erics: a Kat Cataclysm faux novel, was published in 2020.
Julia’s other writings have appeared in over a dozen anthologies, and in media outlets such as The New York Times, The Guardian, TIME, Salon, The Daily Beast, AlterNet, Out, and Ms. Julia’s life experiences as a trans woman, and her understanding of biology (she has a PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics from Columbia University, and spent seventeen years as a researcher at UC Berkeley in the fields of genetics, evolution and developmental biology), gives her a unique perspective on gender and sexuality, and her writings have been used as teaching materials in colleges across North America.
Information about her various creative endeavors can be found at juliaserano.com.
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In the updated second edition of Whipping Girl, Julia Serano, a transsexual woman whose supremely intelligent writing reflects her background as a lesbian transgender activist and professional biologist, shares her powerful experiences and observations-both pre- and post-transition-to reveal the ways in which fear, suspicion, and dismissiveness toward femininity shape our societal attitudes toward trans women, as well as gender and sexuality as a whole.
Serano's well-honed arguments and reputation as a thought-leader stem from her ability to bridge the gap between the often-disparate biological and social perspectives on gender. In this provocative manifesto, she exposes how deep-rooted the cultural belief is that femininity is frivolous, weak, and passive, and how this "feminine" weakness exists only to attract and appease male desire.
In addition to debunking popular misconceptions about transsexuality, Serano makes the case that today's feminists and transgender activists must work to embrace and empower femininity-in all of its wondrous forms.
While many feminist and queer movements are designed to challenge sexism, they often simultaneously police gender and sexuality -- sometimes just as fiercely as the straight, male-centric mainstream does. Some feminists vocally condemn other feminists because of how they dress, for their sexual partners or practices, or because they are seen as different and therefore less valued. Among LGBTQ activists, there is a long history of lesbians and gay men dismissing bisexuals, transgender people, and other gender and sexual minorities. In each case, exclusion is based on the premise that certain ways of being gendered or sexual are more legitimate, natural, or righteous than others.
As a trans woman, bisexual, and femme activist, Julia Serano has spent much of the last ten years challenging various forms of exclusion within feminist and queer/LGBTQ movements. In Excluded, she chronicles many of these instances of exclusion and argues that marginalizing others often stems from a handful of assumptions that are routinely made about gender and sexuality. These false assumptions infect theories, activism, organizations, and communities -- and worse, they enable people to vigorously protest certain forms of sexism while simultaneously ignoring and even perpetuating others.
Serano advocates for a new approach to fighting sexism that avoids these pitfalls and offers new ways of thinking about gender, sexuality, and sexism that foster inclusivity.
The author of landmark manifesto Whipping Girl exposes the violent ways we are all sexualized–then offers a bold path for resistance
Feminists have long challenged the ways in which men tend to sexualize women. But pioneering activist, biologist, and trans woman Julia Serano argues that sexualization is a far more pervasive problem, as it’s something that we all do to other people, often without being aware of it.
Why do we perceive men as sexual predators and women as sexual objects? Why are LGBTQ+ people stereotyped as being sexually indiscriminate and deceptive? Why are people of color still being hypersexualized? These stereotypes push minorities farther into the margins, and even the privileged are policed from transgressing, lest they also become targets. Many view sexualization as a mere component of sexism, racism, or queerphobia, but Serano argues that liberation from sexual violence comes through collectively confronting sexualization itself.