Interesting discussion on non-binary genders

January 31, 2014 § 3 Comments

I’ve been a bit too busy with my professional life (which has drama enough of its own to keep me occupied) to have followed this in “real time,” but apparently there was this article on Tor.com that led to some reactions from writers and another blogger (and I know there had to have been other, related discussions elsewhere, but I am just following a link from my blogroll due to lack of time).  Their points are best read (or in one case, perhaps laughed at?) in full, so I won’t bother to recapitulate them here.  What instead I will do is ask a couple of questions that are unvoiced, at least directly, in most of this.

What are some of the “genre” books that focus on non-binary genders?  (From what I understand, it is not just Western European/American understanding of transsexuality, but also different roles/customs in non-Western societies)?  I know Le Guin’s The Left Hand of Darkness (there should be a sort of Godwin’s Law written about how in the course of any discussion of “progressive” cultural/sexual issues, the probability approaches one of someone citing this book, but I digress) was mentioned, but other works are there?

Secondly, would it be more or less likely that non-SF/F books will have characters that do not fit into binary (male/female) gender roles?  I am thinking of Booker Prize-nominated Jeet Thayil’s Narcopolis in particular, but I feel like there have been others that I have read in which the issue of gender is not as clear-cut.

Any suggestions?  I am much less interested in arguing the issue of non-binary gender (the linked articles alone suffice for that) as I am in learning of titles in which there are characters that are not traditional male/female in gender.

§ 3 Responses to Interesting discussion on non-binary genders

  • Paul says:

    Carter's The Passion of New Eve?

  • James says:

    I spent way too much time on the back and forth yesterday and then realized that my time would be better served actually reading books featuring non-binary gender. I was tempted to ask for some recommendations, but no one ever answers me, so I went looking for some myself.

    That led me to page after page of these same fucking arguments.

    I'll keep an eye on the comments here. Hopefully more turn up.

  • Larry Nolen says:

    I'll try to look through my shelves later to see what comes up. I do agree there needs to be more listing of alternatives rather than just exhortations to do something. The latter is rather too vague, alas.

    And yes, The Passion of New Eve would be a perfect example.

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