Tag Archives: Riki Wilchins

My 5 Most Important Books, Part 1

Topic #199: List the 5 most important books you’ve read

Over the past six months or so, I’ve encountered a number of books that have deeply influenced how I think — to the point that my list of most influential books has changed almost entirely from what it was even a year ago. While I reflect on those changes, here is my previous list of most important books:  Continue reading

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Drag Ball Distress (a.k.a. What’s Drag for People Who Already Queer Gender?)

EXPLORING TRANS — TUESDAY, MARCH2, 2010, 1:48 AM

“All gender is drag,” Riki Wilchins writes, in an essay entitled “A Continuous Nonverbal Communication.” To a certain extent, I understand Wilchins’ argument. Sometimes I can even manage to treat clothing as nothing more than a costume, a way to play with the ways that people view me. At the same time, something like the Drag Ball that my college’s rugby team recently hosted complicates the issue. It becomes more than a matter of mere clothing—societal expectations and messages about who I am become tied up in the question of what I should wear. Suddenly, the question of what form of drag I’m going to wear to Drag Ball seems a matter of paramount significance to the overall question of my gender identity, and I feel overwhelmed and nearly incapable of deciding anything.
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Riki Wilchins Is My Hero


Riki Anne Wilchins and Me

Riki Wilchins is so amazing. So acessible and approachable, humorous, totally spot on. So real and down-to-earth. Just incredible.

When I was just beginning to explore the idea of gender beyond the binary, and what it meant to be trans, one of the books that most influenced by thinking was GenderQueer: Voices From Beyond the Sexual Binary, edited by Riki Wilchins, Clare Howell, and Joan Nestle. In particular, Wilchins’ four essays in the beginning of the anthology made an enormous impact on me, personally and academically. They were the perfect example of kind of trans that was forming in my mind — a trans concept very different from the classic narrative — and I relied on them heavily as I began thinking about, and writing, my thesis. Continue reading

GenderQueer: Voices From Beyond the Sexual Binary

GenderQueer: Voices From Beyond the Sexual Binary

(Edited by Joan Nestle, Clare Howell, and Riki Wilchins)

I refer to this book, and the collection of essays in the front by Riki Wilchins, constantly. It’s a wonderful anthology, and it shows — in real people’s voices, not just academic theory — that there’s so much more to gender than merely “man” and “woman.” It’s one of the first trans-related books I ever read; I bought it, Wilchins’ Queer Theory, Gender Theory, and Leslie Feinberg’s Trans Liberation at the 2009 MN Trans Health and Wellness Conference.

Perhaps one of my favorite quotes about gender is in Wilchins’ essay “A Continuous Nonverbal Communication:” “In fact, throughout our entire waking lives we are carrying out a continuous nonverbal dialogue with the world, saying, ‘This is who I am, this is how I feel about myself, this is how I want you to see me‘” (12). To me, that statement sums up why it is so important to allow people to identify and express their gender as they will — to do otherwise would be to render them invisible and deny who they are. Continue reading