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Gender Frontier, The Hardcover – 3 Dec 2009

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 168 pages
  • Publisher: KEHRER VERLAG; 1st Edition edition (3 Dec. 2009)
  • Language: English, German
  • ISBN-10: 3936636044
  • ISBN-13: 978-3936636048
  • Product Dimensions: 20.8 x 1.8 x 27.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,688,042 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
The Gender Frontier

This really is a beautiful book: a thoughtfully assembled collection of photographs from the lens of photographic artist Marietta Pathy Allen. Brief annotations explain the context of the images and there is additional narrative content from four leading voices in the transgender movement. It is a moving book to read - this is a book to engage with at an emotional level rather than an intellectual as the artist invites us to engage with the image, to move beyond the simplistic questioning of chromosomal sex and to explore within ourselves our relationship to the representation of gender; to our own identity even.

The book was produced in 2003 - an exciting time for transgender as it heralded a new era. An emerging generation of gender questioning individuals were starting to resist the medico-legal constraints of formal 'transsexualism', breaking the gender-binary and engaging in new ways of expressing gender, finding more diverse ways of communicating the inner self to finally live a more congruent life. In the subsequent years even greater diversity is becoming possible and I think part of my love of this book is my admiration for the people featured, courageous individuals who were there right at the beginning of a movement that makes it possible for those of us that follow to take the torch forward.

In the preface to the book, the author asks, "what changes and what remains the same when someone changes gender" - it's a reflexive point, more rhetorical in nature. The subsequent content illustrates that gender should never be constrained by the perception of genital arrangement - as a fabulous quote towards the end of the book illustrates, "Although it has been 17 years since Max transitioned, he has not had surgery....
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Format: Hardcover
This book is a must read if you are to understand the difficulties that plague the trans-gendered. It is a route to understanding and acceptance of fellow human beings
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 9 reviews
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
The Ecological Diversity of Gender 17 May 2004
By daniel shea - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Ever since the 1970's there has been a growing literature on the topic of gender, some of it of very high quality, some of it negligible. But Mariette Pathy Allen's new book, "The Gender Frontier"(Kehrer, 2004) stands out from all of the books that have preceded it in its immediate humanity, its depth of insight, its extraordinary drama, its excitement at the birth of a new human community, its emotional pathos and its uninhibited celebration of the lives of some of the most courageous people alive today, those who identify themselves as transgendered.
The story that Mariette tells us of the transgendered person who had her throat slit while a group of New York cab drivers stood by and laughed is not fiction. Nor is the story of Robert Eads, a female-to-male transsexual whose transition surgeon told him that a hysterectomy was unnecessary for his change to a man. When Robert contracted ovarian cancer, he was faced with the life-shattering irony that all that was left of his previous existence as a woman was killing him as a man. In a brazen mockery of the Hippocratic Oath, 20 doctors and three hospitals refused to treat him. When he finally found a doctor willing to treat him the cancer had progressed too far to be arrested. The doctors, it seems, were afraid that having "that kind of person" in their waiting rooms would scare away business.
Mariette is both a photographer whose work ranks as genuine, lasting art and a writer whose personal and intimate style, free of all the gender jargon, describes for us the daily lives of transgendered people with their families, their children, their hopes, their fears, their dreams, their aspirations and their vocations in life. Through her words and through the lens of her camera we see them as real people dealing with the exigencies of life just like the rest of us and not as the sordid, commercialized, pornographic freaks we all too often meet on the Internet and in the pages of XXXX magazines.
For this reason Mariette Pathy Allen will take her rightful place in the history of art, and of human liberation, as the original pioneer who brought the human universe of transgendered people to light and as an activist artist whose unflinching dedication to the truth has brought relief, happiness, dignity, self-esteem and psychological self-acceptance to thousands of transgendered persons.

Among professional photographers Mariette is the only one I know of who has dared to document and defend and demonstrate the inherent human beauty of a group of people that to date has been shamefully shunned and hysterically persecuted by society at large. She is not only a superb photographer and an engaging writer, she is also a woman who has been brave enough to go in harm's way for the sake of understanding, tolerance, acceptance and a more truly diverse and human society.
"The Gender Frontier" is a truly beautiful, inspirational book in every sense of those words. It is a "keeper" that everyone should have in their library. Please go buy it. Then feel yourself challenged and transformed as you proceed from one page to the next, from one story to the next. And when you arrive at the end you will have come to realize that we human beings are far more fascinating and complex and mysterious and wonderful then we thought we were when we unthinkingly imprisoned our own minds in the claustrophobic confines of the traditional binary concept of gender.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Art & Activism 25 July 2004
By Veronica Vera - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Without Mariette Pathy Allen's art and activism, the transgender movement would not be the vital force that it is today. It's that simple. If you care enough about the provocative subject of gender to have found your way to this page, this book belongs in your library. Enjoy!

Veronica Vera

Miss Vera's Academy
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
moving photography and personal histories 21 Oct. 2005
By just some - Published on
Format: Hardcover
this book avoids being sensationalistic and instead shows a very real portrait of what different transgendered lives and experiences look like. the histories of the subjects are particularly moving and personal. i'd recomend this book for anyone interested in gender studies or portrait photography. if, however, you're looking for a sesational and exploitative book of "trannies" than you might want to pass this one up.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
A Different Shade of Grey 30 April 2004
By Delia Wolfe - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Mariette Pathy Allen's book "The Gender Frontier" is her second into the realm of gender fluidity. Her first book, "Transformations," published in 1989, revealed a sometimes startling array of crossdressers as playful, social anomalies.
Her new book witnesses the dynamics of gender-variance as a `new culture' coming of age. What may have begun as playful quirkiness has become a deep and powerful sociopolitical and cultural movement. Here are outspoken, resolute and well organized voices, loudly and collectively shouting the inequities of an uninformed and often callous society. These "gender-warriors," often disenfranchised and marginalized, span a far greater spectrum than her previous work - males to females, females to male, androgynes, and queer youth.
Allen's photographs shed in an almost painterly way, light and perspective on a world devoid of gender stereotypes. Only those who live within that world can reveal its mysteries. One must look deeply to extract the message. These are not casual snapshots of confused and pathetic persons in search of acceptance and understanding. Here are glimpses into the lives of dynamic persons who, by their very existence, reflect real evolution and social change. She moves among this gender netherworld community easily without judgment or hesitation, capturing through her lens dynamic moments in time, a chronicler for a new age. It is her ease of manner which allows her to witness her subjects throughout their `process of becoming.' And within that safe haven, and through a camera lens, they allow their most guarded selves to be revealed unabashed - without disapproval or condescending eye. What may easily be missed is the vastness of depth and strength of emerging cultural change hidden, dismissed or ignored completely by mainstream society.
Some are soft and intimate portraits; calm, serene and confident. There are couples, families, parents. They are, as all of us, sometimes strained, jubilant, and stoic. Activists offer up gritty, defiant demonstrations on the street as they remember the dead - those murdered by an ignorant and fearful society because of they flouted the binary definition of male and female.
The accompanying essays by activist leaders like Jamison Green and Riki Wilchins speak to the fundamental, political rights of individuals, their strong voices ringing brightly. Robert Eads, his body ravaged by cancer, speaks with calm clarity of his journey and his fate. Still others offer personal narratives, sharing tale and tenor, their poignant and provocative moments of loss and rebirth.
The gift Mariette Allen's book brings is the opportunity to share her observations of what, to many, may seem fundamentally without question...our gender. And for those of us who dare to ask that question, there are no real and certain answers. There may be, however, a life that is daring, courageous, and far less ordinary.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Truly wonderful..... 7 July 2004
By Renee Simousek - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I feel Mariette Pathy Allen has made a real difference in the way non gender variant people view gender variant people. She has recorded something wonderful in her book "Gender Frontiers". This book captures the hues and shadows of the humanity of gender variant people. Her book depicts the joy and struggle of being alive with a difference most of humanity is either unaware of or skeptical about. Gender Frontier is a truly an amazing work created by an amazing person. A must read for all those who are gender variant or know someone who is.
-Renee Simousek
Madison Area Transgender Association
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