Wingnuts and Moonbats and Gender… Oh, My!

This blog is part of a series I'm writing while I'm undating the fifteen year old "My Gender Workbook" for Routledge Press. I'm asking for your voice to be included in the spiffy new version, because you are so much more than the first version of the book could have predicted. Every couple of days, I'll be posting a new question for you to ponder. If the question tickles your fancy, by all means please speak to it. Be sure you've read the submission guidelines before you write your answer. Thanks for your help.

Dear Gendered, Somewhat Gendered, and Non-Gendered Peeps,

The workbook update is moving along on schedule. Thank you for the terrific input so far. It sure looks like this version of the workbook will have more voices in it than the first.

Well, let me get right to it then—here's the next in the series of questions I'm posing for your consideration:

How does politics impact your gender?

Politics, like age, race, class, sexuality, etc, etc, is a space in which our identities, desires, and powers can be socially regulated. And, like gender and all those other spaces, the huge space that contains all the possible politics that could ever be, is masquerading as a binary. In the USA, binary politics plays out as left wing with extremist liberal moonbats, and right wing  with extremist conservative wingnuts. Each political point of view socially regulates gender by it's own take on what's a real man, what's a real woman; what's right behavior for boys and girls; and just how should we deal with the increasing number of people who claim they're both male and female and/or neither.

We are at the beginning of an election cycle here in the United States—and that means that the powers that be will ramp up every divisive binary they can think of. This country and by extension the world will be awash with us versus them, good guys and bad guys, moonbats and wingnuts, red states and blue states… every single one of them saying, my way or the highway. Divide-and-conquer has pretty much always been the modus operandi of choice by politics of power and identity politics. So, what does all that mean for your extremely personal gender identity and gender expression? Here are some questions for ya to chew on:

  • Have conseravtive or liberal social theories shaped your gender identity or expression in any way?
  • Have you been cut off from someone or some group or place that you love because your gender expression violates someone's politics?
  • Do politicians and elected officials stand up for you and people gendered like you?
  • Has your gender identity or its expression left you defenseless against the social domination of some extremist law?
  • Do you define as left wing or right wing politically? If so, how does that help or hinder you express yourself through your gender?
  • Are you more or less safe or at risk compared to others of your gender who have another political point of view?
  • Have you been empowed because of your political views, compared to people with genders other than yours?
  • Have you been disempowered by your political views, compared to people with genders other than yours?

Yes, yes—there's a lot more to politics than moonbats and wingnuts. But those are the folks who are currently vying for control of the so-called free world, so those are the politics I'm most interested in. OK then… politics, gender, and you. Ready? Set? Go!

kiss kiss



@PinkBatPrincess asked if trans politics was included in the question. How cool! I hadn't thought of that. Yes, by all means you can speak to any gender politics, including but not limited to trans politics. And yes, please do write about issues around political correctness and gender policing within our own communities. Where possible, please tie these ideas into the larger binary of liberal/conservative politics. Thank you, @PinkBatPrincess. The pink background is for you!

Reminder: You can answer in the comments section of this blog, but Twitter is the very best way to respond. Response length, wherever you do it, is maximum 280 characters, two tweels. Your tweets do NOT have to be addressed to me, but DO remember to put the hashtag #MNGW on ALL your tweets about this or any other gender-y thing that might pop into your adorable li'l head.

Trans Pride — Talking Points, Toronto 2011

Trans Pride Cherub I was invited to Toronto this year to speak at Trans Pride. I don't often get invited to speak at Pride events, so not too many people have heard or read what I think about LGBTetc Pride, and more specifically Trans Pride.

A lot of what I said at Toronto Trans Pride is part of a book I'm working on for Seven Stories Press, called No Votes For Bullies: Democracy For The Rest of Us. If all goes according to plan, the book should be out in September, 2012—a couple of months after my memoir, A Queer and Pleasant Danger, comes out from Beacon Press in June, 2012.

So, here are the talking points I used for my talk on Trans Pride, delivered to some hundreds of lovely gender anarchists and sex positive, sex inclusive outlaws at the post-march Gender Revolution stage in Toronto on July 1st, 2011.

Click to download Talking Points PDF file

Okey dokey, then. I'm still writing the first draft of my memoir, It goes to the printer at the end of August and I have miles to go before I sleep.

Happy Summer!

kiss kiss



A Tribute to Mx Justin ViVian Bond


 Last night—Monday, April 25th, 2011, I was honored to present Mx Justin ViVian Bond with an award of recognition and appreciation from Performance Space 122 in New York City. 

PS 122 is celebrating it's 30th anniversary, and last night they were honoring three performing artists: Carmelita Tropicana, Danny Hoch, and Justin ViVian Bond.

I've known Mx (Justin ViVian's salutation of choice) Bond… well, it's coming up on twenty years. V (Justin ViVian's pronoun of choice) is simply one of the dearest people I know. But I had to be brief. The evening's coordinator, Lucy Sexton, was quite clear that I had only two minutes to speak, and no more. I stretched it to three, maybe four. Afterwards, she laughed and told me that she'd only said two minutes so I wouldn't go on for ten or fifteen! I could have done that easily. But here's more or less the text of what I had to say before presenting Mx Bond with v's award.


Justin ViVian, I love you. Always have, always will.

kiss kiss

Auntie Kate

To T, or Not to T. That’s The Frakking Question.

T Last night, I wrote a blog in which I apologized for using the word tranny. I said I'd try my best not to use it in public any more. Well, I did try my best and it made me feel miserable. I cried myself to sleep, and I woke up crying. I woke up feeling weaker than I've felt in a long time. 

I like the word tranny. It makes me feel strong and happy when I do use the word tranny. I like other people who use the word tranny affectionately with one another. I don't want to stop using the word. Of course I don't want to be mean to people who are hurt by the word, but the fact is I have never used the word tranny with the intention of being mean to people. 

I've been on an extremely rigorous tour schedule for the past few months, and I'm exhausted. I made the decision to post last night more out of fear and overwhelm than out of strength of conviction. So, I've reconsidered what I said and why I said it, and I've taken down that post. 

Kiss Kiss,

your everlovin' tranny auntie kate

There’s No Fun in Fundamentalism

Eyes in Door Too many people kill themselves for no other reason than their religion says they're better off dead than queer. I'm so sorry if someone is telling you that. It's just not true.

You probably already know this already, but I don't hear it said nearly often enough: It's not "the Christians" who go after gays, lesbians, transgender folk or bisexuals. It's not the Christians who walk calmly into church and assassinate abortion-providing doctors. It's not the Christians who wanna re-build the Berlin Wall across the southern border of Texas.

It's not the Jews. It's not the Muslims. It's not any of the wondrous sects and denominations that evolved from these world-class religions, becoming world-class religions in their own right. Those are not the folks who are keeping us in our sex and gender closets. 

Sure, as sex-and-gender freaks, we might make some Christians, Jews and Muslims uncomfortable. They may not wanna hang out with us. But it's not them who threaten, harass, rape or kill us. It's the people who follow the fundamentalist canon of any religion, sect, or cult.

Fundamentalist canon is easy to spot, because it's all written with the linguistic trick of either/or. That's how it gets its strength. Fundamentalist canon says this is good, that is evil; this is right, that is wrong; this gets you into Heaven, and for that you'll go straight to Hell. Fundamentalist canon is unquestionable, unswerving, and unashamed of the violence committed in it's name. Fundamentalist canon says My way or the highway. We are damned if we don't go along with them.

If you're some sort of sex-and-gender outlaw and you're living in that kind of a world, get out of there as fast as you can! Find yourself another denomination of Christianity, Judaism, or Islam, or any number of other faiths that have more wiggle room than an either/or morality. Google around… you'll easily find yourself a congregation of people who know that God loves you just the way you are. has a whole page of alternative denominations who welcome LGBTQetc outlaws. That's good news, but that doesn't mean they're necessarily going to welcome you as a sex worker, pornographer, adult entertainer, sadomasochist or polyamorist. Some modern denominations of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam may indeed welcome you as a more radical sex and gender outlaw—but you might have to become the person who opens them up to the idea. For the latter sort of sex and gender outlaw, you might find more solace and support in Goddess-based religions.

Religion is fine and dandy. Religion saves lives. What the LGBTQetc movements need is more religion. What no one needs more of is bully fundamentalism.

Now go, stay alive. Play nice with God.

kiss kiss

Auntie Kate


It Gets Better

It's been a terrible couple of weeks. Stories of LGBTQetc youth killing themselves have been hitting the web, it seems, every couple of days. It's been so intense that many, many people have begun talking about queer youth suicide. People have been railing about it, howling about it. Well bless everyone who's been doing that. And bless Dan Savage for starting up the It Gets Better Project on YouTube. This is my contribution to that project. 



In my video, I promise folks that they can come to this blog and get yourself a Get Out of Hell Free card. Well, click here to get your card. You can print it out and carry it around with you. Heck, you can even make copies and hand 'em out to your friends. 

Here's how it works: you do whatever it takes to make your life more worth living. Anything. Anything at all. It can be immoral, unethical, or illegal (can't help you if you get caught on the illegal stuff). It can even be self-destructive. I often do self-destructive things because it seems to me—when I'm really down in the depths—that only the self-destructive stuff is gonna make life more worth living. 

So… you do anything it takes—anything at all—to make your life more worth living. There's only one rule that makes that sort of blanket permission work: Don't be mean. That's the only rule you ever need to follow to make sure that your life is gonna get better.

If you're not mean, you can do anything it takes to make your life more worth living. And if you get sent to Hell for doing something that wasn't mean to someone? Hang on to the card. Give it to Satan. I'll do your time for you. Yep. I told Satan I'd do that, and Satan agreed that'd be a fun thing to do for all of us. 

It takes true courage to follow your outlaw identities and desires in the world. Doing that nearly always ends you up with less worldly power. But I promise: you can always do something to make your life better every single day of your freaky geeky life. 

Go do that, right now. Please.

kiss kiss

Your Auntie Kate

The Great “Gender Outlaws TNG” Blog Tour

Gender Outlaws Book Cover  I'm going out on tour, and I'm not leaving the comfort of my writing chair. You can come along too!

The reviews are coming in on Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation: one a day for the next nine days. Seal Press is the publisher of the new anthology. Their slogan is Groundbreaking Books, By Women, For Women. Well, they're stretching that slogan all out of shape. They came up with the fun idea to arrange for a tour of reviews from nine different corners of the feminist/trans/trans-friendly/and genderqueer blogosphere.

I've already had a chance to read the first posted review today. It's by Everett Maroon, and it's up on I Fry Mine in Butter. No puff journalism, this. It's a wonderful essay. I've posted a comment to the blog, and I hope to read and comment on each of the reviews as they're posted. 

(Oh! I'm enjoying this almost as much as I enjoyed working with S. Bear Bergman and Seal Press to put this anthology together in the first place!)

So, here's the rest of the schedule. Enjoy the perspectives!

We take the weekend off, and continue the following Monday.

and we close our blogging tour of GO The Next Generation with…


  • Friday, 10/8 – Mr. Sinclair Sexsmith posting on SugarButch!

I'll be tweeting each stop on the tour as it goes up. So… enjoy the next couple of weeks of binary-blowing gendernalysis. And please do join in the conversation along your way with comments on each of the reviews, and right here if you like. I am SO all aquiver!

kiss kiss

Auntie K

The Outlaws Are Coming! The Outlaws Are Coming!

GOTNG Illustrations Only
Dear Heart,

Thank you for your continued or new interest in my work. 

For the past fifteen years, I've been touring college campuses, conferences, and rallies with pieces that have focused primarily on deconstructing sex and gender binaries—and more recently, I’ve added suggestions on how to stay alive once you've done that. I’m adding layers of social justice, coalition-building, and laying open the very real heart connection that can be found in putting queer theory into practice.

With the publication of Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation (co-edited with S. Bear Bergman), up-to-date information on the ever-changing state of gender is yours to study, experience, and have fun with… right now! I understand that this isn't necessarily good news for everyone. It's hard to be the new kid in the clubhouse. What's more, the presence of new identities within a group puts a strain on the group's values and definitions. Oh, what to do!?

By combining what I've learned through writing Hello, Cruel World: 101 Alternatives to Suicide for Teens, Freaks, and other Outlaws with what I've learned from all the amazing contributors to Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation, I've been able to come up with a perspective and point of view that fosters inclusion over exclusivity, trust over suspicion, and compassion over bullying. 

To that end, I've put together an all-new touring catalogue for 2010-2011, which includes several new lectures and talks, including my shiny new workshop, The Outlaws Are Coming! The Outlaws Are Coming! with which I hope to co-create with you a safer space for you and other teens, freaks, and other outlaws.You can peruse the PDF right here, right now: 

Download KB_Tour_Catalogue_2010-11.

That's my work these days. That's what I'd like to help you with on your campus, at your conference, in your town, business, or place of worship. I hope to see you soon. 

With love & respect, Kate

Open Letter to LGBT Leaders Who Are Pushing Marriage Equality

To the leaders, membership, and supporters of The Human Rights Campaign, The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, and state-wide groups supporting marriage equality as your primary goal,

Hello. I'm Kate Bornstein, and I've got a great deal to say to you, so you deserve to know more about me: I write books about postmodern gender theory and alternatives to suicide for teens, freaks and other outlaws. I'm a feminist, a Taoist, a sadomasochist, a femme, a nerd, a transperson, a Jew, and a tattooed lady. I'm a certified Post Traumatic Stress Disorder survivor. I'm a chronic over-eater who's been diagnosed with anorexia. I'm sober, but I'm not always clean. I've got piercings in body parts I wasn't born with. I'm also an elder in the community you claim to represent, and it is with great sorrow that I must write: you have not been representing us.  



Let's talk about a love that unites more people than have ever before been united by love. Let's defend some real equality.

The other day, New York State's lesbian and gay bid for marriage equality went down in flames, enough flames to make people cry. Thousands of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and transgender people and their allies spent a lot of money and heart-filled hours of work to legalize marriage equality, with little to show for it. That sucks, and I think the reason it didn't work is it's because marriage equality is an incorrect priority for the LGBTQetc communities. 

Marriage equality—as it's being pushed for now—is wasting resources that would be better deployed to save some lives. There are several major flaws with marriage equality as a priority for our people:


  1. Marriage as it's practiced in the USA is unconstitutional… if you listen to Thomas Jerfferson's interpretation of separation of church and state. The way it stands now, if you're an ordained leader in a recognized religion, the US government gives you a package of 1500-1700 civil rights that only you can hand out to people. And you get to bestow or withhold these civil rights from any American citizen you choose, regardless of that citizen's constitutionally-granted rights. The government has no constitutional right to hand that judgment call over to a religious body.
  2. Marriage equality—as it's being fought for now by lesbian and gay leaders who claim they're speaking for some majority of LGBTQetc people—will wind up being more marriage inequality. Single parents, many of whom are women of color, will not get the 1500-1700 rights they need to better and more easily raise their children. Nor will many other households made up of any combination of people who love each other and their children.
  3. When lesbian and gay community leaders whip up the community to fight for the right to marry, it's a further expression of America's institutionalized greed in that it benefits only its demographic constituency. There's no reaching out beyond sexuality and gender expression to benefit people who aren't just like us, and honestly… that is so 20th Century identity politics.
  4. Marriage is a privileging institution. It has privileged, and continues to privilege people along lines of not only religion, sexuality and gender, but also along the oppressive vectors of race, class, age, looks, ability, citizenship, family status, and language. Seeking to grab oneself a piece of the marriage-rights pie does little if anything at all for the oppression caused by the institution of marriage itself to many more people than sex and gender outlaws.
  5. The fight for "marriage equality" is simply not the highest priority for a movement based in sexuality and gender. By simple triage, the most widespread criminality against people whose identities are based in sex and gender is violence against women. Women still make up the single-most oppressed identity in the world, followed closely by kids who are determined to be freaky for any reason whatsoever.

Lesbian and gay leaders must cease being self-obssessed and take into account the very real damage that's perpetrated on people who are more than simply lesbian women and/or gay men, more than bisexual or transgender even. Assuming a good-hearted but misplaced motivation for all the work done on behalf of fighting for marriage equality, it's time to stop fighting on that front as a first priority of the LGBTQetc movement. It's time to do some triage and base our priorities on a) who needs the most help and b) what battlefront will bring us the most allies. 

I'm asking that you to fight on behalf of change for someone besides yourself. Please. I promise the rewards of doing that will revisit you threefold. Who needs the most help is easy: women. To lesbian and gay leaders, I ask you to ally yourselves with the centuries-old feminist movements and their current incarnations. You want to get a bill passed through Congress? Take another run at the Equal Rights Amendment. Unlike gay marriage, the ERA stands a better chance of making it into law, given the Obama Administration and our loosely Democratic majority in congress. 

Stopping the violence against women and freaky children, and backing another run at the ERA have got the good chance of creating national front, lots of allies. On the home front of sex and gender, there's plenty of room for change that doesn't require millions of dollars and thousands of hours.

Looking into the community of people who base their lives on sexuality and gender, there's a lot of door-opening to do. Beyond L, G, B and T, there's also Q for queer and Q for questioning. There's an S for sadomasochists, an I for intersex, an F for feminists, and another F for furries. Our community is additionally composed of sex educators, sex workers, adult entertainers, pornographers, men who have sex with men, women who have sex with women, and asexuals who have sex in whatever manner they define their asexuality. You want to create some real change? Make room for genderqueers, polyamorists, radical faeries, butches, femmes, drag queens, drag king, and other dragfuck royalty too fabulous to describe in this short letter. 

There are more and more people to add to this ever-growing list of communities whom you must own as family and represent in your activism. You cannot afford—politically, economically, or morally—to leave out a single person who bases a large part of their identity on being sex positive or in any way a proponent of gender anarchy.

That's what I have to say to you. That and thank you for the good hearts you've clearly demonstrated in your activism. I'm asking you to open your hearts further is all. 

You're welcome to leave comments on this blog, but the best way to engage me in a conversation or recruit me to help is to contact me through Twitter. I look forward to talking with you, and I hope we can work together on the terms I've outlined above.

Warmly, and with respect,

Your Auntie Kate 

Internecine Transgender Tribal Warfare Exposed!

I meet many eloquent people on Twitter. I just loves my twibe. One of them, @ShamanOfHedon, maintains a kick-ass blog that bears subscribing to. I admired her take on the film, Ticked Off Trannies With Knives. And I am LOVING her take-down of internecine trans-tribal warfare.

Yes—believe it or not—there are some trans people who despise other trans people, purely for the kind of trans people they are. And yes of course this sort of internal hierarchal transphobia has been going on for a long time. Well, Shaman of Hedon exposes a nest of that hatred on Shaman's latest blog. It got me all fired up, so I wrote the following comment (which is way longer than a blog comment should be, so I'm posting it here.)


 Wow, Shaman. You sure do manage to ferret out some of the juiciest cuts of our sprawling trans culture's carcass. Firstly, thanks for your eloquence and passion. It's a satisfying kick-ass response to the soul-less vitriol spewed by Miss Josephine, who believes she is more of a "real" woman and a better transperson than YOU.

But heck, there are still a LOT of people in the world who think that Hispanic, African-American, and Asian people are not "real" people like Caucasians. Those scary racial bigots use *science* to justify their claims. Well that's what I think you've unmasked here, oh far-seeing Shaman: a trans sub-culture that uses science to "prove" their ultimately self-directed bigotry. Here's their mission statement:

TS-SI is dedicated to the acceptance, medical treatment, and legal protection of individuals correcting the misalignment of their brains and their anatomical sex, while supporting their transition into society.

I've been checking out TS-SI's website for people who believe there's a both a biological imperative and a cultural classist mandate for real gender, real humanity. The only good trannies—the better ones, anyway, for the TS-SI mindset holds as self-evident that we're all diseased—are the trannies who comply with both the biological and classist imperatives.

The TS-SI website is SMART. There's all sorts of political ramifications to the science they believe in. In fact, it's so smart that I bet ya can't read all the words in the headlines of their home page without using a dictionary. Smart = educated = well-monied = so much more to lose = more frantic to defend the ground they stand on.

So it's boiling down to class again. Poor things. No, I mean it. They haven't been able to find the sustaining joy of breaking free of biological and classist imperatives. They've opted for the life-sucking security of class superiority.

Angel Distilled into Devils OK, so the class argument for "real" gender can easily be torn apart by compassion. But I still don't get the science argument. Really, not being snarky here. Aren't all our different organs and body structures based in the same bio-goo? Sure, the bio-goo shifts and recombines over time into mostly male and mostly female, but it's still the same goo. It's like the argument about when is a fetus a human being. Well, you can start measuring life at any time. Ditto biological gender. 

I think the important thing to keep in mind is that while yes, of course there are two major biological genders, that life itself goes well beyond just that—and it's life itself that has yet to be respected by the majority of people on the planet. 

Once again, Shaman, I bow to your wisdom, passion, and eloquence.

kiss kiss

Your Doting Aunt Kate 

(who begs you to forgive her for using the t-word. I just had to, I was on a rant.)