Kate Bornstein

Through performance art pieces like Kate Bornstein Is a Queer and Pleasant Danger and The Opposite Sex is Neither, Kate Bornstein questions society’s understanding of gender as a binary. Bornstein earned a degree in theater from Brown University in 1969, worked as an actor, and became involved with the Church of Scientology, eventually rising to become a high-ranking lieutenant in Sea Org, the church’s naval force. After twelve years, ze left the organization when ze began struggling more publicly with gender issues, and as a result of the split was forced to cut off contact with hir daughter, still a church member. Ze transitioned from Albert to Kate and began using hir writing and performance art as a way to question gender while working as an activist for LGBTQ rights. In 1994 ze published her first book, Gender Outlaw: On Men, Women, and the Rest of Us. As of 2015 has published seven books, including Hello Cruel World: 101 Alternatives to Suicide for Teens, Freaks, and Other Outlaws in 2006 and hir memoir, A Queer and Pleasant Danger, in 2012. Despite struggles with leukemia and lung cancer, ze continues to perform and speak publicly, and blogs at http://katebornstein.typepad.com/.


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Kate Bornstein at Babeland in Seattle in 2010.

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Date of Birth

Neptune City, NJ
United States

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Kate Bornstein." (Viewed on April 20, 2021) <https://jwa.org/people/bornstein-kate>.


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