The transgender movement is now a powerful cultural force, but there are trans elders who have led the way for the recognition and progress that we are making today in the United States. You may recognize her from her role on Caitlyn Jenner's TV show, but Kate Bornstein has been leading a gender revolution for the last 30 years.
Bornstein is one of the most important contributors to gender discourse in the 20th century, and her ideas are still just as radical. Where the trans movement of today has gained momentum in part by developing and advertising a transgender ideology that lines up neatly along a gender binary between male and female, Bornstein's gender identity cannot be easily or neatly categorized.
She was exiled from the Church of Scientology, losing her daughter and the mother of her children. She left behind manhood to become a woman, only to find that the new label she'd adopted also failed to accurately identify her. Not man, not woman, Bornstein was unmoored from society and, still, from herself.
As Bornstein told me during our interview, that was "a dark night of soul." But it is the work Bornstein did in the wake of that disillusioning experience that made her into the indefinable trans auntie of a generation of queer people across the globe. She wrote Gender Outlaw in the early 90s, a queer bible that's still taught in colleges today, outlining Bornstein's non-binary gender opus.
Though Bornstein's work has always served to broaden our understanding of gender, there are people in and out of the transgender community who have reacted with hostility to her message. Bornstein isn't afraid of saying she used to be a man, or claiming the term "tranny" as her own. "It's my name, it's who I am," Bornstein pleaded on I am Cait, as the straight-laced trans female professor and author Jenny Boylan debated Bornstein's use of the controversial word.
But Bornstein has never backed down. She has refused to bend over to assimilationist rhetoric, choosing instead to fiercely embrace the outliers, the rejected, and the freaks. She has given a voice to the silenced and the reviled, advocating for their survival. This is the simple yet profound moral to Bornstein's countercultural fairytale: "Do whatever it takes to survive. Just don't be mean."
The Moon, in dreamy Pisces, challenges the planet of rules, Saturn, at 6:19 AM, bringing some obstacles to light.Mar 27, 2017
"It's almost become as ubiquitous as Kleenex or Xerox. When you say 'Suicide Girl,' you know what type of girl you're talking about."Mar 26, 2017
The vibe is romantic—or confusing, depending on the context of your situation!Mar 26, 2017
Like the "explicitly gay moment" in "Beauty and the Beast," the gay Power Ranger follows a growing trend of masking marketing as progress.Mar 25, 2017
Today's energy is gentle and empathetic.Mar 25, 2017
This afternoon, Paul Ryan rushed to the White House to tell President Trump that, despite his ultimatum, they did not have the votes to pass his bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act.Mar 24, 2017
A new study looks at who fears death and who is ready to shuffle off their mortal coil.Mar 24, 2017
Almost 13,000 new cases of invasive cervical cancer will be diagnosed this year. What happens to those patients who rely on Planned Parenthood if the organization is defunded?Mar 24, 2017
Roger Severino has long spoken out against the rights of LGBT Americans—but now he's tasked with ensuring those people receive appropriate medical care.Mar 24, 2017
Jenny Gage's documentary "All This Panic" follows a group of New York schoolgirls as they come of age in the city. We talk to Gage and one of its stars.Mar 24, 2017