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Life Isn't Binary: On Being Both, Beyond, and In-Between

4.35  ·  Rating details ·  66 ratings  ·  12 reviews

'Barker and Iantaffi have written the book we all need for this moment in time.' - CN Lester

Much of society's thinking operates in a highly rigid and binary manner; something is good or bad, right or wrong, a success or a failure, and so on. Challenging this limited way of thinking, this ground-breaking book looks at how non-binary methods of thought can be applied to all

Kindle Edition, 240 pages
Published May 21st 2019 by Jessica Kingsley Publishers
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 ·  66 ratings  ·  12 reviews

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Start your review of Life Isn't Binary: On Being Both, Beyond, and In-Between
Cast aside flat black and white binaries.
See textured landscapes of many colours.
Be kind.

(Source of background.)

Labels (seem to) make life easier, and binary ones even more so.
We fall into using them, unthinkingly and often unquestioningly.
But there are way more grey areas than black and white ones.
Binaries constrain. Even two-dimensional spectrums do.
And they rarely reflect the world as it is.

This book starts with the obvious topics of sexualities (beyond gay/straight) and genders (beyond
Aug 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: glbt
I predict this book will be a landmark in LGBT studies, in particular in bisexuality and transgender studies. When I finished this book, I felt much as I did 27 years ago, when I discovered and read Bi Any Other Name: Bisexuals Speak Out—I felt seen, and more than that I knew there were other people like me, communities I could belong to, and a multilayered identity that I shared with many others. It was life-changing. In the same way, Life Isn't Binary has the potential to change lives. It will ...more
Aug 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cpd, non-fiction
Occasionally you read a book that's a life-changer and Meg-John Barker and Alex Iantaffi's latest book Life Isn't Binary: On Being Both, Beyond and In-Between was just that for me. It's a brilliant look at how binary thinking (i.e. there's only two options and usually one is seen as being better than the other) is unhelpful in lots of areas of life.

The non-binary authors focus chapters on how thinking about gender and sexuality in less binary ways can open up new possibilities, and their clear
Oct 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An amazing book -- I checked it out from the library and bought my own copy because I knew I'd want to refer to it again and again. It's a life-changer, that's for sure.
Fred Langridge
Sep 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, queer, trans
An interesting exploration of binaries and why they're not really binaries (broadly divided into sexualities, gender, relationships, bodies, emotions and thinking), with lots of encouragement towards reflecting on one's own experience.
This book explores the concept of Binary and the way certain things are seen as good or bad, right or wrong and how this affects and influences many areas of our lives. Broken down into 6 sections; Sexualities, Genders, Relationships, Bodies, Emotions, Thinking, some of the ideas are more familiar to anyone who has read around gender or sexuality or relationship diversity. Examine binary patterns in the way we consider Bodies, Emotions, Thinking are perhaps slightly newer explorations.
The ideas
May 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What an amazing perspective on the world! I loved Alex and Meg-John’s first book, How to Understand Your Gender, because it is so accessible wherever you are in your gender journey and in supporting others on theirs.

I am really privileged to have been able to read the new book pre-release. In Life Isn’t Binary, I felt like they were talking right to me, I’d love it on Audible because it feels like an open conversation. The book opens discussing areas I was expecting like gender and sexuality,
Holly Way
Aug 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really enjoyed this. The authors seem more interested in *getting* you to think than telling you *what* to think which I personally appreciate.
Anita Cassidy
May 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Engaging, insightful and warm, this wonderful book by Meg John Barker and Alex Iantaffi encourages us all to think and feel beyond the binaries of good and bad and to really learn to embrace nuance, complexity and the multiplicity of all individuals and experiences. Highly recommend!
Jun 18, 2019 marked it as blog-recs  ·  review of another edition
Included in a blog post and resource list at
Jun 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Affirming, empowering, kind and enabling. Also great fun and knowledge in abundance.
Overall, a really thought provoking book. Some of the beginning was familiar, but I really enjoyed the extension beyond sexuality and gender. Sometimes it got a bit cerebral, but very fascinating. I found the bit at the end about political "debates" and how binaries contribute to the toxic mess we have today very insightful and relevant.

A few little nit picky things:

-I found the pauses annoying and made it harder to get into a flow of reading where I could get into the text based on my reading
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