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Kate Bornstein's workbook format

ccassidy's picture

I thought it was interesting that, for the most part, the class was in agreement that Kate Bornstein’s ‘My New Gender Workbook’ was very hypocritical in that her gender assessments encouraged a sense of ‘either/or,’ which she had been insisting that we stay away from for the majority of her book.  I also was a little irritated with the way that she presented these quizzes and with the summaries that were given about your personal score.  Like a lot of people in our class, I sensed negativity and a condescending attitude that really made me feel like I was not a welcomed reader.


However, it was mentioned in class that Bornstein’s personal stories were more relatable and actually taught more about the process of discovering your identity versus all the steps, quizzes and theories she was throwing at us.  For me, the mini biography she included and the tweets from real people who were in the process of discovering their identity are what made me want to continue reading.  I know we touched on this the first day of class, whether or not we wanted to learn about gender and sexuality with an objective or subjective lens, and we came to the conclusion that we needed a little bit of both.  Based on this conclusion, I think that was Bornstein’s intent with the structure of this workbook.  She presented us with some objective theories and steps for processing your identity but she tried to balance it out with some relatable evidence.


I also found Kate Bornstein’s blog.  She posted a year ago about her new book, ‘A Queer and Pleasant Danger.’  In the clip that she attached, I liked that she mentioned that this was the first book she had written where she doesn’t ‘hide behind theory or a character.’  I just thought it was interesting that she would like to write about personal experience but she clearly felt it would be constructive for us to be learning through steps and theory as well as personal stories.

Here is the link to her post: