Sex-and-Gender: Social Justice Give-and-Take

This blog is part of a series I'm writing while I'm updating 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. For more about this update, check out the original blog. Thanks for your help.

Today's questions are deceptively simple and unfathomably important:

As sex and gender activists, what rights and resources must we demand?

Of what value is our sex and gender activism to allied activists of other marginalized groups?

From bathrooms to housing—from the wording of legal documents to job and health care equity—from issues of personal privacies and joys, to safety for ourselves and our loved ones—so much is monitored and regulated by our sexualities and our genders. For over a century, political activism on behalf of sex and gender has gained more and more momentum. To date, most social justice has focused on our needs, raising questions such as:

  • In what spheres of life are we denied equal rights because of our sexualities and genders?
  • What resources are witheld from us because of our sexualities and genders?
  • How does our sexuality-and/or-gender impact our safety?

Our needs and demands range from equal pay for equal work, to gender neutral bathrooms. We want religious freedom that isn't curtailed in any way by our sexuality or gender. We want the freedom to love who and how we want to love. We want the freedom to do with our bodies as we will. We want to strike down any laws that discriminate against or prohibit any expression of sex and gender freedom. 

And as the politics of sex and gender becomes more widely practiced and interlinked with the activism of other marginalized groups, it's becoming more and more clear that we need to link arms with other social activists in a coalition of the margins. So, we're faced with new questions:

  • What have we got to offer the world as sex and gender activists?
  • What do sex/gender activists bring to the table of any coalition of marginalized people?
  • As focused as we are on sex and gender, what have we learned that we can teach other activists?

We've gotten really good at deconstructing binaries of sexuality and gender. And that means we have a great deal to offer other activists in terms of deconstructing the equally corrosive binaries associated with race, age, class, and so on. What's more, we know that sex and gender are a valid pathway to ecstasy—and who doesn't need some more ecstasy in their life? So… what tools, resources, and other goodies have we got to put on the table of social justice to let other activists know we're in it for more than just our own gain?

I look forward to your thoughtful insight and foresight.

kiss kiss

Auntie Kate

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.


  1. i think men and women need to be equal in all the areas in our society!@

  2. Activist demands: full equality on every level, including the right not to have to label as “Mr./Mrs./Ms” in virtually every sphere of life – particularly when applying for stuff online! I would also add more flexibility in terms of defining legally recognized relationships than currently exist even here in Canada (e.g. a registry system such as in Scandi countries?)
    VALUE OF SEX/GENDER ADVOCATES: bringing to forefront kneejerk stereotypes that still exist re. gender even in seemingly progressive activist communities, and helping to start a dialogue in this respect.

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