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The Social Justice Advocate's Handbook: A Guide to Gender

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  308 ratings  ·  53 reviews
A book about gender with no mention of the word -hegemony, - but plenty of references to Star Wars, The Matrix, Lord of the Rings, and Star Trek-- with less of a focus on overwhelming scholarship and more of a focus on enjoyable learning.

This is a book about gender, but it's not -a book about gender.- It's not overwhelming, it's not overly complicated, and it's not exhaust
Paperback, 252 pages
Published September 4th 2013 by Impetus Books
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4.08  · 
Rating details
 ·  308 ratings  ·  53 reviews

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Tena Edlin
Mar 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Wow, I learned a lot from this book. After the upsetting controversy at our high school last year over the rights of trans youth, I wanted to educate myself about the topic. This book is the text for a class I'm taking, and it is informative in a way that reads easily and entertainingly. The only thing stopping it from being 5 stars for me is the fact that there were little typos and weird editing issues. It's the English teacher in me; I can't help it.

One of the main things I took away from the
Aug 10, 2014 rated it it was ok
A well-intentioned book and most of the basic seem OK to me, but it was clear that the intended reader of this book was not me. While speaking about being inclusive to queer folks, the writer assumed that the reader of this book is cis and probably also straight. It in no way addressed the issue one might have of "becoming a social justice advocator" if one belongs to the group for whose rights one is fighting for. Being part of a minority group potentially makes one more sensitive to bigoted la ...more
Mar 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014-read
Available as a free ebook, so no reason not to pick up a copy. Worth reading for the discussion of the fallacies of The Golden Rule alone - Killermann suggest replacing "Do unto others as you would have them do to you" with the more thoughtful "do unto others as they would have you do to them" and his logic is impeccable; he challenged (and improved!) one of the basic principles I've always followed.

But the book really shines when it leads you through understanding of gender and especially how p
Renee Hall
Mar 13, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
As part of what seems to be the target audience (cisgender and/or straight people), I found this an informative breakdown of and introduction to gender issues. It did strike me as something that might be better suited to teen readers and students than adults, mostly owing to the simple explanations, the included exercises, and the light tone. At times, though, the light tone was just too light, and I found myself wanting more information with far fewer jokes. (Note: I received a copy of this for ...more
Sep 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, lgbt
This is the first non-fiction book I've read in a while.

For people reading, PLEASE NOTE THERE IS A 2ND EDITION OF THIS BOOK NOW. If you're thinking "Holy fuck, this has changed. Why is this in here?" Well, guess what? This version came out in 2013, so just calm yo ass down.

First of all, I'd love to be Sam Killermann's friend (also...this WHOLE TIME I thought he was a girl. I honest to God have no idea why. Is it that hard for my mind to fathom that a male would be such an advocate for social ju
Joli Hamilton
Dec 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I have mixed feelings about this book. It is immensely useful, and I got a lot out of it as I stumbled through my own questioning process. On the other hand, I have heard since that the idea was stolen from someone else, and that credit was not properly obtained. I have since bought other books directly from queer authors and I hope that this author rectifies this issue.
I skimmed through this book briefly awhile back after purchasing it at a conference on sexuality, but I recently re-discovered it in a pile of books at work and thought it deserved a more thorough read. I use Sam Killermann’s ‘Genderbread Person’ a lot in my work (it’s a brilliant way to help explain– and highlight the differences between– gender identity, expression, romantic attraction, and biological sex), and it turns out his writing is just as useful.

There are three things I really love ab
I have to say this is a good educational book, it has helped to provide a reference when discussing gender and challenging the binary focus when the subject arises. That said there is nothing especially tailored to the trans/nonbinary reader like myself, and the tone appears to assume the reader will always be cis themselves. Though this is not too surprising as it is cisgender people who are the majority who would need this information the most, as usually trans/nonbinary people already have so ...more
May 11, 2017 rated it liked it
If you only read one book on gender issues this year... let it be a book by a trans* author. Sam Killermann is not that author, but he does provide a lighthearted survey of gender for the awkward beginner. The first part of the book is strong and does a great job of explaining identity and gender stereotypes. The "genderbread person" concept is most problematic, since Killermann's design is based off other sources which he never attributes. (See a brief explanation here at for more i ...more
Julie Corbett
Mar 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-own, lgbtq
Let me get my only two negative comments out of the way.
1. I didn't like the style the author uses in his writing. The constant joking and bantering was distracting. If the author wants his readers to take this subject seriously, then I think it should be presented as such.
2. There was quite a bit of redundant material which only contributed to more pages to read.

Now, let me tell you the positives. This was an excellent book. It is incredibly informative. I learned a lot of new things. It was a
Alex Rendall
Feb 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lgbt
This is a good introduction to different terms and ideas around gender and it has helped me to educate myself about the problems experienced by those who do not identify as cisgender. The tone strikes the right balance between being informative and entertaining, with paragraph 'chunks' of useful knowledge and information broken up by helpful illustations, cartoons and diagrams. It also gives you help with how to apply this knowledge in everyday contexts, which I found useful.
Aug 03, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-books
A lot of this book is a really good education and source of information about some very important and relevant issues. However, I think some of Killermann's arguments are unconvincing, and I wish he'd done better. (In his defence, he's working hard to promote equitable rights on many tricky issues and he is doing a good job - no one is going to be perfect, and the work he's doing is very valuable.)
Trish L. Rodriguez
A good primer to give one an awareness if it's lacking, but there isn't much in the way of direction for social justice. It has a light tone and a blog style so "A Guide to Gender" is an easy read. It seems to be targeted more towards cisgendered (straight) people who have never quite had to question their privilege. The handbook does offer a helpful advice on how to call people on errant language without coming across as an asshole, so I would recommend the book for that alone.
This was an interesting read. I taught me quite a lot, not just about gender but also about the way society looks at genders (because that's not the way I look at it). It has made me understand other people more. The illustrations were nice and helpful and funny, and I liked the humour in the text too. I also liked the references to food, movies, animals. Overall I found it an interesting read and one I'll probably think on for a while.

Jennifer Weeks Ph.D
May 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
We use the Genderbread person in our healthy sexuality teachings for clients. I read the book as a preparation to determine if i wanted to use it in sexuality course I am teaching in the fall. The book lays out the topics of gender, equity and social justice in a fun and at time cheeky way that makes it an easy read.
Nov 10, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: essai
Ce livre m'a vaguement déçu. Je l'ai trouvé décousu et circulaire, plein de bonnes intentions, les blagues étaient... euh... lourdes ? Et ayant lu la première édition, j'ose espérer que la deuxième a été significativement mise à jour. Je n'y ai pas appris grand chose même si ça a été une bonne occasion de réviser mes bases. Je ne le recommanderais cependant pas aux néophytes, malheureusement.
Make Your Move! Missoula
This book is written in a very casual tone (including jokes about Star Wars). Information is written to be understood by newbies to the subject. However, this still provides a great refresher to folks who have been thinking about these issues for a while now.
Mar 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Really helpful and easy to read way to educate yourself about gender.
Shawna Upp
Feb 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Incredibly helpful and appropriately humorous!
Jan 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
A good introduction to the themes and language used. I don't think I'm the target audience (how many asides does each paragraph need?) And the light-hearted tone took up too much of my time.
Aug 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Great source for practical information about gender. Could have been better edited for mistakes, and the humor feels forced at times.
Barbara Guerrero
Nov 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Eye opening, and really fun.
Dec 16, 2017 rated it did not like it
Total nonsense. Killerman is a very confused person giving bad advice to more confused persons.
Coral Rose
Feb 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
Had quibbles with the tone policing in concluding chapters and feel like 90% of this is accessible and recommendable to even the most privileged men I know.
Jul 18, 2015 rated it liked it
I originally rated the book a four, but after thinking about who I would recommend it to, I had to drop it. While the information in it was very useful, easy to read and understand, the style was just so annoying, I couldn't ask anyone already skeptical about gender issues to read it seriously. It was written very much like a blog post, with the same sort of humor (ex. a fake editor's note and then "Tricked you! I am the editor, sillies." which also, the kindle unlimited version had quite a few ...more
Aug 18, 2015 rated it liked it
It is a great introductory book for people who are just dipping their toes into social justice issues. It explains sex-gender-sexuality in very clear terms, and with the use of the Genderbread Person, which is a great infographic (I use it in class too). It is simple, easy to read, and concise.
It lost starts for me for two reasons: One, it is an outsider advocate's perspective. I realize that that is in the title of the book, and yet it made the entire read full of "they might want you to say t
Dec 23, 2014 rated it it was ok
Killermann's 2013 handbook is potentially informative for the novice and a great step in the inclusive direction, to be sure. What it lacks is serious drive to mobilize readers - and really to express the subject in all seriousness. I appreciate, in some cases, the step down from academic jargon to "plain talk," but the rhetoric is mostly reductive, and Killermann pigeonholes much of the important complex narrative between seemingly light-hearted remarks and fluff.

This all said, I appreciate Kil
Dec 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful book for those interested in expanding their knowledge of the LGBTQ+ community. Written in a light and humorous manner, the book tackles heavy issues well and makes them very approachable and an enjoyable read. I was very happy to see some newer issues, such as asexuality and romantic orientation, mixed in. With the type of wit and sarcasm used, I would not recommend it to someone who is going to try to find anything to complain about to discount queer concepts, but I wouldn't recomm ...more
Senza infamia e senza lode. Mi aspettavo quealche cosina di piu'. Forse è un "primer" ed io troppo smaliziata ed edotta sull'argomento ma nell'insieme troppo semplicistico. Sono in grado di apprezzare un buon approccio didattico e non didascalico per tutti anche se a un livello base. Sempre aperta comunque a testi che siano utili a qualcuno e visto l'apprezzamento degli utenti devo dedurre che c'è bisogno anche di cose scritte con questo linguaggio. Come tutti i libri deve raggiungere i suoi let ...more
Stephanie Meunier
Jul 23, 2016 rated it liked it
It was not a very informative read for a cis person who's been around trans people and been to a multitude of workshops and read a million posts on tumblr and who's major is gender studies, BUT my mom who until recently struggled with they/them pronouns learned a few things from it! I post-it'ed some key chapters and let it lay on the coffee table and later she came to me with some questions I could answer through the book's explanations. Good 101.5 introduction for someone who knows being trans ...more
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Sam Killermann is a multi-disciplinary artist who puts his gifts to work to achieve global justice as the Director of Creativity for hues. Sam is also the person behind It’s Pronounced Metrosexual, the comedy show performed at colleges and universities, as well as the online resource, which has educated millions of readers on themes of social justice, gender, and sexuality.

Sam’s work (that he unco
“Gender is like a Rubik’s Cube with one hundred squares per side, and every time you twist it to take a look at another angle, you make it that much harder a puzzle to solve.” 14 likes
“Gender identity is our internal response to a social construction that attempts to make a connection between a person’s biological makeup and their eventual role in society.” 7 likes
More quotes…