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Cover of Gender Outlaw by Kate Bornstein. The cover features Bornstein seated and smiling.

Kate Bornstein is an author, performance artist, and gender theorist. Bornstein identifies as non-binary and uses the pronouns they/them or she/her. 

My own gender is a continuum that stretches from a 4-year-old who stood in the wrong gender line to the 71-year-old who just doesn’t capitulate to binaries anymore. It’s a Pride time of year, and I’m proud to be a loving auntie and granny to thousands of nonbinary people around the world. That’s a whole lot of nothing going on, and it makes me positively giddy to think what that might mean for the future.
— Kate Bornstein. "Kate Bornstein: My Gender? Oh, It's Nothing." New York Times. June 19, 2019.

Kate Bornstein was born in New Jersey in 1948 and - as they stated in the 2019 New York Times feature quoted above - has been “analyzing gender” since the age of 4. Assigned male at birth, Bornstein underwent sex reassignment surgery in 1986 and identifies as neither male nor female today.

Their work includes theatrical production, autobiography, film, and criticism. Published in 1994, Gender Outlaw: On Men, Women, and the Rest of Us  is an autobiographical account of Bornstein’s transition from assigned male to lesbian woman to non-binary person. 

Middlebury has a signed first edition copy.


Signed title page of Gender Outlaw by Kate Bornstein

Bornstein has actually visited Middlebury a number of times during Gaypril, which Middlebury students began celebrating in the 1990s. In 1996, their discussion with students about their life and transgression of accepted gender roles prompted the Middlebury Gay Lesbian Bisexual Association (MGLBA) to change its name the following year to the Middlebury Open Queer Alliance (MOQA) in order to be more inclusive (see September 17, 1997 issue of The Campus).

They visited campus again in 1999 to “take a post-modernist look at the gender-power hierarchy while helping people loosen up about femininity and masculinity (See April 8, 1999 issue of The Campus). 

Davis Family Library has a number of works by Kate Bornstein including:

Keep an eye on our Instagram for more Gaypril posts.