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Gender Outlaws:The Next Generation

by Michael K. Lavers
National News Editor
Sunday Oct 10, 2010
Gender Outlaws:The Next Generation

Kate Bornstein is almost certainly the ultimate gender outlaw, but this trailblazing activist teamed up with S. Bear Bergman to allow the next generation to not only have their say but define themselves outside the traditional gender binary as they see fit in Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation.

Gwendolyn Ann Smith, Leona Lo, Francisco Fernández and Shawna Virago are among the dozens of contributors who discuss their experience within (and/or transcending) established societal norms in the anthology's five parts.

Raquel (Lucas) Platero Méndez discusses how Spanish authorities used the Law for Slackers and Delinquents to control "'dangerous' individuals-homosexuals, pimps and scoundrels" (and transgender Spaniards) and uphold the country's strict gender norms during Francisco Franco's nearly four decades in power. And she defiantly ended her contribution with a toast in honor of a trans woman from Barcelona who suffered persecution under the the fascist dictator's gender-segregated order.

"Today is Saturday and I am going to raise my glass of wine in a toast to you, M.H. [María Helena]," wrote Platero. "To you and to all the trannies, faggots and queers who reinvent ourselves every day."

In "The Big Reveal", Sherilyn Connelly proclaims "just because I don't have a vagina doesn't mean I'm not a girl." And j. wallace uses sarcasm to describe male pregnancy in "The Manly Art of Pregnancy".

"Books for pregnant men are hard to find indeed," wrote wallace. "If the La Leche League can encourage women everywhere to embrace The Womanly Art of Breast Feeding, I'm going to put in a plug for the Manly Art of Pregnancy."

Gender Outlaws proves gender (and its various social constructions and manifestations) remains complex and even painful-especially for those who seek to transcend the traditional binary into which they were born. But the anthology, however, contains some universal truths on which even the most trans-ignorant of readers can agree.

Edited by Kate Bornstein and S. Bear Bergman

Publisher: Seal Press. Publication Date: Sept. 5, 2010. Pages: 302. Price: $16.95. Format: Paperback. ISBN-13: 978-1-58005-308-2.

Based in Washington, D.C., Michael K. Lavers has appeared in the New York Times, BBC, WNYC, Huffington Post, Village Voice, Advocate and other mainstream and LGBT media outlets. He is an unapologetic political junkie who thoroughly enjoys living inside the Beltway.


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