Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Social Justice Advocate's Handbook: A Guide to Gender” as Want to Read:
The Social Justice Advocate's Handbook: A Guide to Gender
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

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

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  393 ratings  ·  64 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
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Social Justice Advocate's Handbook, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Social Justice Advocate's Handbook

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.10  · 
Rating details
 ·  393 ratings  ·  64 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Social Justice Advocate's Handbook: A Guide to Gender
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
Jul 10, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: meh-books
Average. It reads like a freaking blog post.
Oct 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have been a fan of the genderbread person for years, I even used it in my first publication on Queerbaiting & Harry Potter (thanks for allowing that Sam), and I finally got to read this handbook in print. I don't think that queer studies has to be difficult (sorry Judith Butler) or super dry, and this Guide to Gender proves that: it's funny, easy to understand while forcing you to re-evaluate your inner convinctions or your privilege.

It's actually a handbook that is making you think while bei
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
Kass James
Jul 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an excellent introduction to the social justice aspect of gender, pronoun, and queer advocacy. It's got some excellent resources and allows the reader to verbalize actionable points within both legal and social arguments. The book is written towards a cisgender reader, but that doesn't diminish the value of the content. This book is excellent as both a classroom textbook on gender and gender expression, as well as a good resource book for those persons doing advocacy. I would also recomm ...more
Ajae 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
Erin Brinkman
Jun 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I read the second version of this book and loved it. Killerman is a comedian whose humor is funny about 70% of the time and annoying the rest of the time, but the book really is a perfect guidebook for anyone looking to learn more about how to be an advocate and ally with regard to gender identity and sexuality. He starts from the basics, explaining oppression, privilege, and equality vs equity before moving into topics of gender and sexuality. It would be ideal for someone with little to no pri ...more
Jun 20, 2020 rated it liked it
good overview but i had some issues with it. i was irritated by his use of humor at times. being written by a cis straight male, you also felt that at times. i haven't done much research but his use of the trans* (asterisk) distracted me away from the inclusivity he was trying to advocate for and it appears that the arguments for not using it are more valid than his for using. again being written by a cis male, he shouldn't be the one to decide if that should be the universal usage or not. but t ...more
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.)
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.
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.

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.
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.
Ashley Fritz
Jul 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
While this is definitely for beginners and sometimes the language is too irreverent - it's great for its take on social justice and equity, as well as giving actual practical advice for confronting the things you know are not okay, and helping find works to articulate why you're bothered. I enjoyed myself reading it and will continue to use it to educate others.
Alexis Crawford
May 24, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a really great primer to gender and sexuality that is accessible for people of any experience with the topic. However, I would love to see future editions co-authored by someone who is not a straight, white, cisgender male. I truly appreciate Sam’s efforts here and would love to see him use his privilege to better elevate the voices of marginalized individuals in this book.
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.
Tracy Willcott
Jun 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not a vacation easy-read but rather an MUST for anyone. Sam deals with difficult, ever-changing topics with kindness and humour; helps navigate a path of understanding gender better and realizing our on biases and privileges.
monique lake
Dec 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Must read!

Thank you for creating such an informative book to help me better understand my own dissonance with the way I was raised and to understand how deeply this impacts all of society!
Clara S. Melongena
Apr 05, 2020 rated it liked it
It's a good guide to start immersing yourself in the world of the genre, but, as I have been checking, there are ideas that don't fit completely. Nor am I convinced by the vision from which the author treats feminism.
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.
Dec 16, 2017 rated it did not like it
Total nonsense. Killerman is a very confused person giving bad advice to more confused persons.
Barbara Guerrero
Nov 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Eye opening, and really fun.
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.
« previous 1 3 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Queer: A Graphic History
  • The Birth of the Pill: How Four Crusaders Reinvented Sex and Launched a Revolution
  • Whose Story Is This? Old Conflicts, New Chapters
  • Clap When You Land
  • Racecraft: The Soul of Inequality in American Life
  • Eight Flavors: The Untold Story of American Cuisine
  • Help Thanks Wow: The Three Essential Prayers
  • Thinking Like a Lawyer: A Framework for Teaching Critical Thinking to All Students
  • The Quite Nice and Fairly Accurate Good Omens Script Book
  • Autism in Heels: The Untold Story of a Female Life on the Spectrum
  • El signo de los cuatro para estudiantes de español. Libro de Lectura Nivel A2. Principiantes: The sign of the four for spanish learners. Spanish Reader ... (Read in Spanish nº 9)
  • Race After Technology: Abolitionist Tools for the New Jim Code
  • White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism
  • The Rise of Kyoshi (The Kyoshi Novels, #1)
  • So You Want to Talk About Race
  • Talk Thai: The Adventures of Buddhist Boy
  • We Want to Do More Than Survive: Abolitionist Teaching and the Pursuit of Educational Freedom
  • The Cheapskate Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of Americans Living Happily Below Their Means
See similar books…
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

News & Interviews

There's something great about a paperback book: They're perfect book club choices, you can throw them in your bag and go, and they've been out in...
54 likes · 16 comments
“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.” 16 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…