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How to Understand Your Gender: A Practical Guide for Exploring Who You Are
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How to Understand Your Gender: A Practical Guide for Exploring Who You Are

4.31  ·  Rating details ·  77 ratings  ·  24 reviews
'For anyone who's ever wished they had a smart, kind, friend with whom they could calmly and safely discuss gender issues: this most excellent book is that kind of friend'. - Kate Bornstein, author of Gender Outlaw


Have you ever questioned your own gender identity? Do you know somebody who is transgender or who identifies as non-binary? Do you ever feel confused when people
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Paperback, 284 pages
Published September 21st 2017 by Jessica Kingsley Publishers
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4.31  · 
Rating details
 ·  77 ratings  ·  24 reviews


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Asher
I took a really long time with this book, I wanted to be able to make sure that I paced myself and could really absorb what was being laid out by the authors of How to Understand Your Gender. I am thrilled that a book like this exists. I'm thrilled as a genderqueer/non-binary person, and I am over the moon to see it as a librarian. I feel like this title should be an essential piece of any library collection.

Iantaffi and Barker are both mental health professionals who are trans-identified. They
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K
Feb 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
YES! It would have taken me just one day to read, but the book kept imploring me to "slow down!" and reflect on all of the ideas in periodic break pages. I appreciated that the book has an awareness about it around how much of a Gender 101 this will be for those of us who have been thinking about these issues for awhile. The new insights, which are spread out all over the place, are beautifully balanced with narratives from other people on how they experience gender, sex, and sexuality. Also, so ...more
Marianthi
This book should be required reading by anyone who breathes. Amazing.
Krystal
Jun 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I could not be more impressed by this incredible #ownvoices resource, which embodies the kind of accountability that I have always envisioned as possible from white folx. These writers begin by acknowledging indigenous elders, crediting their understanding of intersectionality to black feminist trailblazers, Kimberlee Crenshaw, Patricia Hill Collins, and bell hooks, and by the end, they have undoubtedly achieved the goal of writing the book they wish they had while growing up!
Sharon
Nov 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is a good beginner's guide. In addition to explaining a lot of introductory concepts, it includes frequent reflection points, written activities, and mindfulness reminders. I have some doubts about the ways that cis experiences of gender were incorporated, but both of the authors of the book are trans therapists so I assume it's a reasonable approach.
Fred Langridge
Feb 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
I zoomed through this in a day. A great resource; I wish it had been around twenty years ago!
Siobhan
Jun 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
How To Understand Your Gender is a guide to gender diversity and living with gender that is aimed at anyone who could be interested in reading it—people questioning their own gender, those who want to read more about gender to support people around them, or anyone who is curious in some way or another about aspects of gender and its diversity in the twenty-first century. The book is a general guide which contains discussions of biology and psychology, practical exercises, definitions of various ...more
Eli
Aug 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: literally anyone
Imagine you have two friends who are incredibly knowledgeable about a particular area of life experience. And one day they happen by with a thermos of tea and proceed to sit on your couch and engage you in a remarkable conversation about that area of their expertise. It's both a deep and a far-ranging discussion which confirms some things you've suspected while also challenging your assumptions and toppling your preconceptions in in all sorts of fascinating ways. There are activities. Some of th ...more
Emma
Jul 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is great for everyone, whether they are questioning their gender, have a trans or non-binary friend or simply want to learn more. It is written in a friendly and accessible tone by authors who are both academics and trans/non-binary. It is very interactive, if you want it to be, and there are plenty of reminders to breathe and take some time out if the book raises upsetting thoughts and feelings. There are also lots of suggestions for further reading and different resources available- ...more
Virginia
Excellent introduction to gender seen as not binary. Accessible language. Full of food for thought and pointers to exercises to reflect on one's own experience of gender. Also good to learn more about how to support others who don't fit the norm. I will definitely re-read and recommend this book!
Jim
Dec 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The gender binary is toxic.

It should be obvious by now that the gender binary is a total construct. The idea of trying to force these hyper-masculine and hyper-feminine roles and ideologies on people based on biological sex is ludicrous if you think about it.

On top of that, what is masculine and what is feminine is also a construct.

This whole system needs to be deconstructed.

It seems kind of silly. And arbitrary.

Ok, so maybe this stuff has been obvious to a lot of people, but as a straight
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Margot
Aug 29, 2018 rated it did not like it
I stopped on the 30th page. This is supposed to be a self help book and to spend 30 pages being told that you have to do everything according to the people who are determining how they are to be treated is a bit much. First off, it's assumed that everyone with gender issues is perfectly right getting an operation and they shouldn't have to go through the typical psychological determination that they might not be together enough to dress appropriately in order to get a trans operation. Frankly, h ...more
Kristine
Sep 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: amazon-reviewed
How to Understand Your Gender by Alex Iantaffi & Meg-John Barker is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in late September.

Iantaffi and Barker are kind and considerate towards readers who may balk, feel overwhelmed, be emotive, resistant, or fully embrace the fluid tenets of gender. They also offer a personal background of being assigned a gender at birth and how it has become a socially reconstructed concept with its definitions elastic and changing dynamically all the time (though conversely
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Jules Bertaut
Oct 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: queer, nonfiction
The title pretty much describes what this book is about. It's not exactly a workbook but it's got activities and reflection ideas and stuff. Actually, I think this would be a great book for cis folks to read and do the activities and stuff, because they're generally not forced to think about their gender and stuff the way trans folks are, and doing so would be a good experience for them.

This book nicely covers non-binary stuff and intersectionality and other things that sometimes get left out o
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Clare
Jan 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Accessible and clear. As a therapist - I think this is a great support for anyone exploring issues related to gender. It's intelligently and compassionately written with grounding and regulating activities scattered throughout to help people feeling overwhelmed. As someone who identifies as a cis woman, this book really got me thinking about intersectionality, gender roles and expressions and my own experience of them.
Adrian Lee Reid
Nov 07, 2018 rated it it was ok
This book does not make you question what gender is. It describes gender as some complex biopsychosocial interaction, but does not actually explain what it is. It then shows examples of people living their lives as masculine women and feminine men, but then kind of extremely implies that your gender is how you present??? This book is just hypocritical and I don’t like it. Didn’t answer any of my questions about gender.
Sam
Feb 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Very thought-provoking, the style took a while to get used to but it'll definitely be getting a re-read (with added doing the exercises).

Definitely take it slow (even with the "breath" reminders) but well worth it.
MJ
One of the authors, Alex Iantaffi, was kind enough to send me a free copy of the book! I loved it. Full review to come.
Ruth Todd
Nov 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Easy read, very informative

This book is a great introduction to gender and non-binary identifications. It's an easy read and has exercises to help guide your thoughts.
Maxwell
Oct 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Very clear and understandable explanations of topics surrounding gender. Worth reading whether you're just starting to look at your gender critically, or if you've made some headway.
Jessie B.
Very helpful
Wes
Jan 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Such a great book. Easy to read - it feels like having a conversation with the authors with great academically backed sources and additional resources for deeper dives. I’ve bought extras to give to friends too!
Stacy
rated it really liked it
Jun 18, 2018
Elliott
rated it it was amazing
Feb 21, 2019
Anna Morgan
rated it it was amazing
Jun 16, 2018
Miranda White
rated it it was amazing
Nov 14, 2018
Erin
rated it liked it
Jan 17, 2018
Val
rated it really liked it
Feb 24, 2018
S
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Oct 17, 2018
Claudia Luca
rated it it was amazing
Jun 21, 2018
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