Gender is a fundamental concept for radical communities yet it is often overlooked. Folks working on campaigns that aren’t focused on gender can assume that their particular understanding is shared in a group and the notion of gender goes unexplored. There’s also not one real primer to get a radical understanding of gender. Books accepted as par de course in academia (Judith Butler) are far from accessible to folks unfamiliar with complex jargon.
Mel Reiff and Jay Mays saw the need for this kind of book in their gender diverse Texan community and started talking. They conducted more than 200 interviews to get a better idea of what gender means to different people. They wanted to create a book that could act as a Gender 101 for activists, doctors, parents, teachers and community members to use to get a better understanding about the many facets and interpretations of gender. Rather than compete with academic works, the two friends envisioned a colourful illustrated book with accessible language that would be easy to read in a single sitting.
Their vision became a reality with the release of their 45 page ebook called The Gender Book. It’s free to print, use and disseminate widely. Along with the awesome primer, they have also created a smaller pocket version of the book and a Wikipedia space for gender brainstorming.
The book is still in its “rough draft” form with authors encouraging folks to report any typos. Still, the guide is an educational and fun read for any activist interested in learning more about gender. Some pages of the book have intentional blank spaces, where folks can write in their own experiences and feelings around gender. For further updates, check out The Gender Book’s website.
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