Excluded: Making Feminist and Queer Movements More Inclusive

Excluded: Making Feminist and Queer Movements More Inclusive

Julia Serano

Language: English

Pages: 336

ISBN: 1580055044

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


While many feminist and queer movements are designed to challenge sexism, they often simultaneously police gender and sexuality—sometimes just as fiercely as the straight, male-centric mainstream does. Among LGBTQ activists, there is a long history of lesbians and gay men dismissing bisexuals, transgender people, and other gender and sexual minorities. In each case, exclusion is based on the premise that certain ways of being gendered or sexual are more legitimate, natural, or righteous than others.

As a trans woman, bisexual, and femme activist, Julia Serano has spent much of the last ten years challenging various forms of exclusion within feminist and queer/LGBTQ movements. In Excluded, she chronicles many of these instances of exclusion and argues that marginalizing others often stems from a handful of assumptions that are routinely made about gender and sexuality. These false assumptions infect theories, activism, organizations, and communities—and worse, they enable people to vigorously protest certain forms of sexism while simultaneously ignoring and even perpetuating others. Serano advocates for a new approach to fighting sexism that avoids these pitfalls and offers new ways of thinking about gender, sexuality, and sexism that foster inclusivity rather than exclusivity.

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forefront of our minds is crucial—it should make us receptive to being called out as well as to the possibility that our call-outs may be somewhat off the mark. It should also encourage us to frame our criticisms in a constructive rather than destructive way—such as, by posing them as “add-ons” rather than “call-outs.” For example, if somebody giving a gender-related workshop makes a comment that seems to confuse or conflate trans women with drag queens, rather than saying, “What you said is

fears, wounds, struggles, and sorrows. I am in a different place now. I still hurt, but I’ve done a lot of self-healing. And I still feel anger, it’s just not my primary motivation anymore. I used to be a singularly focused trans activist, but these days, I am more interested in being a holistic feminist. Don’t get me wrong: I am not trying to say that anger is bad, or that it is simply a phase that we need to get over. Some people never get over the anger, and others maybe never feel it so

to transgender and queer theory from the mid–19th century through today. FIND SEAL PRESS ONLINE www.SealPress.com www.Facebook.com/SealPress Twitter: @SealPress

queer is a much broader umbrella term meant to include all LGBTQIA+ people, and as such, it does not seem to be the best position from which to challenge monosexism and bi-invisibility. Now of course, language is constantly evolving. And if this mass fleeing from the word bisexual toward alternate identity labels was simply part of a natural progression—such as the historically recent shifts from the label “homosexual” to “gay,” or from “lesbian” to “dyke”—then I would not have any problem with

sexualities, and various kinds of trans majority spaces. And I can tell you that every single one of these different spaces has its own set of beliefs and assumptions, and each tends to develop its own set of norms. The marginalization that I face cannot be summed up in terms of patriarchy, or the gender binary, or some other fixed and monolithic gender system. Rather, as a unique human being driven by my own interests, tendencies, and desires, I feel like I am constantly juggling an

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