Cover of Gender Outlaws with colorful comics

Not Oprah’s Book Club: Gender Outlaws

cover of gender outlaws with colorful comic

Seal Press recently sent me a review copy of this anthology that I’ve been eagerly awaiting since I heard about it. Two of the better known gender-bending authors out there, Kate Bornstein and S. Bear Bergman teamed up to create Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation.

The anthology begins with a online chat between Bear and Kate. It’s tone is loving, appreciative and unabashedly flirtatious. They continue their dialogue about the book, gender and the future, in three installments throughout the anthology. Reading it you feel like a voyeur on an intimate exchange between two old friends–not dissimilar from the voyeurism that reading about people’s intimate ideas about gender invokes.

The diversity of GO:TNG was impressive. Not just the usual diversity markers (race, class, gender, age)–this anthology is markedly international, which was a refreshing departure from many US based anthologies I’ve read. There was even one essay published in both the original Spanish, and then in it’s English translation.

GO:TNG takes the reader on a journey through a myriad of trans and gender non-conforming experiences, identities and theories about the future. We hear about pronouns and transitions, feminism and naming, women-only space and sex. You don’t leave the book with any one conclusion about the future–just that it’s evolving and there are a multitude of gender rebels out there who are creating new ways of being with their own brave lives.

For me, as a genderqueer person, it was invigorating to feel myself reflected in some of the essays (particularly Kenji Tokawa’s essay, Why You Don’t Have to Choose A White Boy Name To Be A Man In This World), but it was also just damn exciting to see a relatively mainstream anthology (it will be in bookstores! even the non-queer ones!) with the word “genderqueer” on the back cover.

It’s a great read, as we would expect from these two powerhouses in queer and trans publishing and activism.

Seal Press sent me two copies, so I’m going to give one away to one lucky Feministing reader. I’ll pick someone who comments at random, but to enter into the contest to get the free copy of GO:TNG, simply leave a comment telling me who your favorite Gender Outlaw is. I’ll email the winner for their address.

Join the Conversation

  • Gretel

    I feel like I could say my favorite Gender Outlaw is someone famous, but honestly it’s just my friend K. Ze has been subverting gender norms ever since we met when I was 17, and it takes a lot of courage to do that when you are a teenager in a conservative town.

  • Julie

    There are so many! Academically, you can’t go wrong with Judith Butler. Though my fav at the moment has to be Ivan Coyote. She writes such great stories about being butch, living in the north, and blue collar masculinity/feminity. Also, so freakin’ good looking… swoon!

  • Sarah K. Brown

    Jennifer Finney Boylan (loved “She’s Not There”)

    Looks like a great anthology – I was on my way to add it to my amazon wish list when I saw the giveaway. Thank you!

  • Jill Gaulding

    It’s hard to choose just one! But I want to highlight Julia Serano, because she can admit that “when it comes to gender, none of us is f****** omniscient” (p. 87 GO:TNG), without ever watering down her critique of misogyny, wherever she finds it.

  • Nora Eakin

    Judith Halberstam, by far. This scholar rocked my little southern femme feminist world and got me to think about gender identity and feminism in so many new ways.
    Not trying to up my chances of getting the book, but thank you so much, Miriam for being such a strong, sophisticated queer voice. I always look forward to your posts, because I ponder so many of the same things. I’m writing a thesis about the centrality of femme voices in third-wave feminism, and I will be citing some of your posts to talk about the ways that queer voices are more in tune to the ways that femininity and masculinity play into the ways we assert our feminism and especially its ties to discussions of sexuality.

  • Beckett L.

    Favorite gender outlaw of the moment: Oak Reed.
    He should have been named Homecoming King! bah.

  • Sarah

    If I had to choose just one it would have to be the poet and activist Andrea Gibson!!!

  • Leigh

    I think my favorite gender outlaw is a friend of mine named Mara. I’ve seen her hit everything from one end of the spectrum to the other and everything between and beyond. She is that one person in my life that has offered me unending, unwaivering support for all things (gender related or not) in my life. I owe her credit for a very, VERY large portion of my sanity.

  • Denise Lamanna

    Judith Butler makes my heart beat a little faster. every time.

  • Cori

    I have trouble choosing just one. My first pick, though, would be Leslie Feinberg. My other pick would be my partner, who is a wonderful (feminist) guy with XX chromosomes.

  • Jeannette

    I want!!! Lately, I’ve been in love with the lead singer of La Roux, Kate Jackson.

  • Janine Ballantyne

    My favourite would have to be Natasha Walter. Her newest book Living Dolls helped me so much with my final year dissertation and inspired me and others, including the males I know to challenge the views of gender and sexuality that the media constantly churn out.

  • Jenna

    It is terrible to say myself? Looking back, I would never have thought I’d be at the place I am at in my life right now and actually be happy. Sometimes it’s nice to give yourself some credit. But if I have to not be selfish, I’d say my first LGBT Studies professor JV Sapinoso because ze helped me find my voice.

  • Lisa

    kate bornstein & t cooper

  • R.K. Wheadon

    My favourite gender outlaw… Well, this may not be a specific individual, but every time there’s a drag show at our local queer bar, I am blown away by the folks who get up on the stage and play with gender performance so giddily. It leaves me breathless and in awe.

  • Sara Brickman

    I truly love Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore!

  • katy

    my favorite gender outlaw is definitely my best friend.

  • Maria

    I was just going to buy the book but I’ll try my luck and take this opportunity to express my deep admiration for the writing and activities of Julia Serano – her book “whipping girl” turned my from a loud mouthed feminist into a women aware of her heteronormative privilege and even more keen to respect only the labels people choose to give to themselves and not the ones society would want to use for them – she gave me that many more things to be loud muothed about and her prose is amazing.

  • Meghan

    Ivan E. Coyote is a new favorite. Really anyone who braves the masses and faces constant bigotry wins my vote. And thanks to y’all ^, too.

  • Melissa

    This is a toughie, Julia Serano and Kate Bornstein rank pretty high, but I think I’m going to go with Scott Turner Schofield because he’s so positive and his performances are accessible to non-queer people too.

  • Nada

    I read the introduction (or serious chat) to the book and a couple of chapters on and want to read more so please pick me :).

    As for your question, in a wider sense, in some parts of the world, anyone who is ‘LGBTIQ’, or who supports LGBTI rights is considered a gender rebel and a serious outlaw. In that sense, my favorite outlaws on the African continent are Wendy Isaack and Sylvia Tamale. The former has worked tirelessly with others to ensure LGBTI rights are firm on the constitution of South Africa. Herself a member of the LGBTI community, Isaack continues to be active on LGBTI rights in South Africa, a country where several women lost their lives in 2008, allegedly because of their sexuality. She has also worked tirelessly at the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights to enlighten commissioners about the LGBT rights.

    Similarly, Sylvia Tamale, who teaches law at Makarere University in Uganda, is one of the strongest voices on the continent on LGBTI rights. Tamale has come under fierce attacks because of her public and courtroom activism around sexual and LGBTI rights, but she takes all that with a rare sense of humor. Tamale wrote recently that when a 2003 poll in the New Vision, Uganda’s national daily newspaper, identified her as ”The Worst Woman of the Year,”she made a worst-woman-of-the- year badge of honor which she wears with pride.

  • Shannon Drury

    Since I’m reading Courtney Martin’s new book, I’ll vote for Tyrone Boucher, but I’m also a longtime Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore fan.

  • autumnally

    Ivan E. Coyote ftw!

  • Sammy

    I’ll pick Leslie Feinberg also, love hir. Last year ze showed up at a rally at my school against the chosen commencement speaker, Jamie Dimon of JP Morgan Chase. It was crazy, I almost had a heart attack.

    Also! Kate Bornstein is coming to speak at Syracuse In less than a week!!
    Anyone in the Syracuse area – check it out!

  • Lindsey

    I’d pick my ex and friend, Brice Smith, who just completed his PhD in History and is writing a biography of Lou Sullivan – a gay F2M activist and founder of the Gay and Lesbian Historical Society in San Francisco.