Julia Serano | Women & Children First | Literary Events | Chicago Reader

Julia Serano Recommended

When: Thu., Nov. 7 2013

As a femme in a culture that denigrates femininity, a bisexual in a queer movement still uncertain about the B in LGBT, and a transgender person among feminists who still frequently mistrust trans women, Julia Serano has a unique perspective on feminist and queer issues. Perhaps what most sets her apart from other writers on these topics, though, is her profession. Feminist and queer theory is almost entirely the province of humanities scholars; Serano is a biologist. As such, she has an unusually nuanced view on the question of nature vs. nurture, a binary she characterizes as "completely ridiculous." Serano rejects the idea that gender is a performance, or a social construction, or a biologically determined truth. Instead, she argues, gender and sexuality are complex traits, in which biology, social norms, and individual choice interact in ways that can't be either teased apart or reproduced. We don't understand why people are the gender or sexuality they are, so there's no grounds on which to judge them for it. Feminine lesbians aren't worse than butch lesbians; bi people aren't worse than gay men or lesbians; asexuals aren't worse than kinksters; and women aren't worse than men. People are just different. Continue reading >>