Gender 101 (Excerpt)

It took a long (loooong) time, but I finally finished writing an article on Gender 101 for Eden Fantasys.

From the beginning I knew I could do it. I knew I had the information in me. But I had such a hard time organizing it, writing it down, figuring out what to omit and what to include. I got carried away. I went off on tangents that lasted for thousands of words, and were ultimately irrelevant. It took a lot of revision, a lot of thinking, a lot of conversations with all sorts of people – my mom and the Muse and Jesse James and Essin’ Em and my writing group all come to mind – before I figured out how to really refine my focus.

Problem was, I’m not talking about gender roles or heterosexism. I’m talking about variations within the gender galaxy, about the many, many finer points of gender identity and presentation.

The benefit to the huge struggle it took to get through writing this article is that now I have a much better idea about where to start, what to cover, and how to write gender 101, and I hope to do more of that in the future.

This is how it starts:

What the heck is all this gender stuff about?

Men and women, right? Boys and girls, males and females? But is there more to it than that? How does it work? If we talk about gender, are we talking about “The Gays,” like men who are effeminate, women who are masculine?

Why yes, there is that … oh, but there’s so much more. I’m here to give you a brief tutorial on what gender is, and provide an introduction to the studies of gender.

– read it all over at Eden, Gender 101

I’d love your feedback, and if you love the article and think Eden should do more things like this, please do let them know. I may write for them again in the future.

Published by Sinclair Sexsmith

Sinclair Sexsmith (they/them) is "the best-known butch erotica writer whose kinky, groundbreaking stories have turned on countless queers" (AfterEllen), who "is in all the books, wins all the awards, speaks at all the panels and readings, knows all the stuff, and writes for all the places" (Autostraddle). ​Their short story collection, Sweet & Rough: Queer Kink Erotica, was a 2016 finalist for a Lambda Literary Award, and they are the current editor of the Best Lesbian Erotica series. They identify as a white non-binary butch dominant, a survivor, and an introvert, and they live outside Seattle as an uninvited settler on traditional, ancestral, & unceded Snoqualmie land.

9 thoughts on “Gender 101 (Excerpt)”

  1. Rose says:

    Perfect! The article really hits the spot – clear, concise, eloquent, accessible & fun. Great to see out there in the world. Diva magazine recently ran a gender issue – they should have had this piece! Will be commenting at Eden.

  2. Essin' Em says:

    Awesome, of course. But then again, I got to read it before anyone else :)

  3. susu says:

    Yeah what Rose said.

    Accessible information benefits

    everyone. If more people understand themselves and others, the world will be a happier place.

  4. Really Sinclair – this should be required reading in schools! Lucid and vigorous, spot on!

  5. Sakura says:

    Very well writte, Sinclair. I LOVE the term chivalrous femme. I never heard it before and I feel like it is finally something I can identify with. You rock!

  6. very nice 101! (i'm especially happy that "cowboy" and "yes, please!" were included in the checkboxes =)

  7. Lena says:

    Just what I was looking for. Apparently I’m a ‘Rapscallion ‘!

  8. This is a very friendly intro piece. My only comment (which is just something for you to think about, not for the piece) is that I think it’s equally important to talk about “sex” as socially constructed, not just gender. Anne Fausto-Sterling is one of my favorite authors about this, esp. her book _Sexing the Body_.

    I think it’s great that your mom gave you feedback on this essay!

    [ There was a whole piece on how sex is constructed in the essay as well, but it ended up being cut in the final versions. Definitely agree that Fausto-Sterling is pretty much the expert on this. It’s on the mandatory SSU reading list. :) – ss]

  9. I figured that you were familiar with this lit but decided not to head in that direction for an introductory piece. Granted, there's a limit to how much you can rock the world of the uninitiated right away!

    Hey, I was trolling online looking for stuff on butch-femme and feminism when I was shocked to see you not only discussed but praised on some neocon Republican "lady's" blog! Right-wingers are certainly adept at recruiting radical queer arguments for their own reactionary purposes, but it's nevertheless alarming to see this Sarah-Palin-loving, "postfeminist" approvingly cite your work as an example of how "butch/femme theory" supports her anti-feminist cause.

    Just wanted to say I'd be interested to hear you speak to these issues–if you haven't already.

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