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Kate Bornstein

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4 out of 5

Author, Playwright, Trans Trailblazer, Performance Artist & Gender Theorist

Author, Playwright, Trans Trailblazer, Performance Artist & Gender Theorist

Travels From Travels From:
New York, NY, USA
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Kate Bornstein Biography

Since 1989, trans trailblazer Kate Bornstein has — with humor and spunk — ushered us into a world of limitless possibility through a daring re-envisionment of the gender system as we know it. Bornstein identifies as nonbinary: not a man, and not a woman — and she’s been writing about nonbinary gender identity for nearly thirty years.

Bornstein was born Albert Bornstein in 1948, in Asbury Park, New Jersey. At an early age, he came to the conclusion that he wasn't a boy, and that she didn't want to grow up to be a man. To Albert, being a boy was all acting, and pretending to be a boy. In 1984, she began her hormonal, surgical, and social transition from male to female, which she completed in 1986 — she was a woman! In less than two years, she realized that being a woman was for her no more than acting and pretending... just like it had been for being a man. So in 1988, Bornstein gave up the idea of being a woman, and now she lives on the edge of paradox: she is not a man, and not a woman. She looks beyond the gender binary to see gender as both a conscious practice, and a playful journey.

Bornstein's work is taught in five languages, in over 300 high schools, colleges, and universities around the world. The titles of her books say a lot about who she is and how she views things: "Gender Outlaw: On Men, Women, and the Rest of Us;" "My New Gender Workbook: A Step-by-Step Guide to Achieving World Peace Through Gender Anarchy and Sex Positivity;" "Hello, Cruel World: 101 Alternatives to Suicide for Teens, Freaks, and Other Outlaws;" "A Queer and Pleasant Danger: The True Story of a Nice Jewish Boy Who Joins the Church of Scientology and Leaves Twelve Years Later to Become the Lovely Lady She Is Today."

Currently, you can see Bornstein onscreen as Joan, the church lady, in the film, Saturday Church. Bornstein is the subject of Sam Feder's award-winning documentary, “Kate Bornstein Is a Queer and Pleasant Danger.” Bornstein's work on suicide prevention, and her advocacy for marginalized and at-risk youth has earned her two citations of outstanding citizenship from the New York City Council.

Bornstein has been on the road lecturing and performing for over 25 years, at colleges, high schools, and anywhere people gather to talk about gender.

Kate Bornstein Speaking Topics

  • Navigating the Multiverse of Gender

    The history of all our notions of gender the very root of gender is sex: the commonly accepted idea that there is biological evidence of two and two only immutable sexes, and that this bio-binary determines the social order. Furthermore, the idea of two, and two only sexes is mirrored in, and championed by, virtually all of the world’s great religions. And that’s how it was for thousand as and thousands of years. It wasn’t until the early to mid nineteenth century that sex began what was to become a centuries long collision with gender, beginning with the early first wave feminists. They said No. No, I won’t be a woman the way you say I’ve got to be a woman. And from that point on, gender changed rapidly to the point where more and more people came to understand and embrace a more nuanced view of gender as a social construct that includes binary identified trans people, as well as the scientific fact that one may change from one sex to its opposite.

    The moment of transition from the twentieth to twenty-first century saw and explosion of ideas about gender. Gender fluidity, nonbinary gender, agender, and other forms of gender nonconformity began to make their ways into mainstream consciousness, practice, and acceptance. And this is the evolution of gender to this day. Kate Bornstein points out that this evolution of gender is not linear. People who live in the universe of binary sex share the world with people who live in one of several universes that embrace some form of binary gender, all of whom share today’s world with people who are living in an exploding number of nonbinary and other nonconforming universes. And so there is a great deal of strife, and gender based suffering as these universes collide.

    In this presentation, Kate unravels the tangle of the gender multiverse, and proposes a new theory of gender relativity in which the multiverse of gender might have a chance of a more accepting coexistence. The presentation is an hour long, followed by up to thirty minutes of Q and A.

Kate Bornstein Videos

  • Kate Bornstein '69 Breaks Down the Binary
    For thirty years legendary trans activist Kate Bornstein '69 has explored gender and challenged gender binaries. In April 2018, Bornstein ...
  • Ex-Scientology Leader and Trans Icon Kate Bornstein on What It ...
    Kate Bornstein once sailed around the globe as a captain in the sea organization of Scientology Church. She was later exiled and became an ...

Kate Bornstein Books

  • Gender Outlaw: On Men, Women And The Rest Of Us
    Gender Outlaw: On Men, Women And The Rest Of Us
  • My New Gender Workbook: A Step-by-step Guide To Achieving World Peace Through Gender Anarchy And Sex Positivity
    My New Gender Workbook: A Step-by-step Guide To Achieving World Peace Through Gender Anarchy And Sex Positivity
  • A Queer And Pleasant Danger
    A Queer And Pleasant Danger
  • Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation
    Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation

Speaker Lists Featuring Kate Bornstein

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  • What topics does Kate Bornstein speak about?

    Kate Bornstein is a keynote speaker and industry expert whose speaking topics include Activism, Authors, Culture, Diversity, Innovation, LGBTQ, Literary, Social Justice, Virtual Speakers.
  • Where does Kate Bornstein travel from?

    Kate Bornstein generally travels from New York, NY, USA, but can be booked for private corporate events, personal appearances, keynote speeches, or other performances. For more details, please contact an AAE Booking agent.
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    AAE Speakers Bureau has successfully booked keynote speakers like Kate Bornstein for clients worldwide since 2002. As a full-service speaker booking agency, we have access to virtually any speaker or celebrity in the world. Our agents are happy and able to submit an offer to the speaker or celebrity of your choice, letting you benefit from our reputation and long-standing relationships in the industry. Please click the Check Availability button above and complete the form on this page including the details of your event, or call our office at 1.800.698.2536, and one of our agents will assist you to book Kate Bornstein for your next private or corporate function.
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Kate Bornstein is a keynote speaker and industry expert who speaks on a wide range of topics such as Navigating the Multiverse of Gender. The estimated speaking fee range to book Kate Bornstein for your event is $5,000 - $10,000. Kate Bornstein generally travels from New York, NY, USA and can be booked for (private) corporate events, personal appearances, keynote speeches, or other performances. Similar motivational celebrity speakers are Kylar Broadus, Chris Mosier, Geena Rocero, Gavin Grimm and Jeffrey Marsh. Contact All American Speakers for ratings, reviews, videos and information on scheduling Kate Bornstein for an upcoming live or virtual event.

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