Synopses & Reviews
"I was born male and now I've got medical and government documents that say I'm female — but I don't call myself a woman, and I know I'm not a man...."
Scientologist, husband and father, tranny, sailor, slave, playwright, dyke, gender outlaw — these are just a few words which have defined Kate Bornstein during her extraordinary life. For the first time, it all comes together in A Queer and Pleasant Danger, Kate Bornstein's stunningly original memoir that's set to change lives and enrapture readers.
Wickedly funny and disarmingly honest, this is Bornstein's most intimate book yet. With wisdom, wit, and an unwavering resolution to tell the truth ("I must not tell lies"), Bornstein shares her story: from a nice Jewish boy growing up in New Jersey to a strappingly handsome lieutenant of the Church of Scientology's Sea flagship vessel, and later to 1990s Seattle, where she becomes a rising star in the lesbian community. In between there are wives and lovers, heartbreak and triumph, bridges mended and broken, and a journey of self-discovery that will mesmerize readers.
"Bornstein (Gender Outlaws) is a former Scientology VIP and, for nearly 40 years, a man named Al. Before age five, Bornstein realized 'I wasn't a boy, and therefore must be a girl.' In college, he has sex with women, whom he loves, but also goes for men who make him feel like a girl. This tempest of confusions brings him to Denver, where he finds refuge in Scientology, learning that he's a gender-free being called a thetan. 'The battle of the sexes raged in my mind, day and night. Can you imagine a more appealing theology for someone like me?' For the next decade, Bornstein is blissfully happy with a wife and daughter, and at one point is outranked by only 50 other people in the entire organization. He writes that in 1982, he was excommunicated from Scientology after discovering some private information about L. Ron Hubbard. On his own, he starts therapy, concludes he's a transsexual, and after living for a year as a woman, changes his name and has reassignment surgery. In the right body, refusing to claim a gender and calling herself a lesbian transsexual, she struggles with rejection from the transsexual, transgender and lesbian communities, but likes the person she is becoming. Bornstein can be a challenging and confusing narrator at times, but is sympathetic in her universal struggle to be comfortable in her own skin and her attempt to come to peace with the paradox that is her life." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"A nervy, expansive memoir from a pioneering gender activist." Kirkus Reviews
"Bornstein is hilarious, honest, acerbic, and fearless in her writing....QAPD is at least three books in one, each of which is a page-turner." Religion Dispatches
"Kate Bornstein's journey from moon-eyed Scientologist to queer icon is harrowing, heartbreaking, and amazing. This narrative is surely not for the squeamish. And yet, in the story of a sea-dog named Al who became a trans goddess named Kate we see the messy, unsettling, inspiring struggle of a lady trying — and at last succeeding — to let her own soul be known. Disturbing and wondrous." Jennifer Finney Boylan, author of She's Not There and I'm Looking Through You
"Breathless, passionate, and deeply honest, A Queer and Pleasant Danger is a wonderful book. Read it and learn." Samuel R. Delany, author of Dhalgren
"To me, Kate Bornstein is like a mythological figure or a historical literary character such as Orlando or Candide who, by illustrating her struggles, shows the rest of us how to live. This book is destined to become a classic." Mx Justin Vivian Bond, author of Tango: My Childhood, Backwards and in High Heels
"A Queer and Pleasant Danger is a brave, funny, edgy, and enlightening new memoir. I loved it and learned from it. Kate Bornstein shares her fascinating journey — through gender, Scientology, and more — and it was a thrill to tag along on the ride. This book is unbelievably powerful and affecting. If Kate Bornstein didn't exist, we would have to invent her. But luckily for queers, straights, gender outlaws, and general readers, Bornstein is out and out there." Dan Savage, author, columnist, and architect of the It Gets Better Project
"Brave, emotionally authentic, and riveting." Bitch magazine
"A singular achievement and gift to the generations of queers who consider her our Auntie, and all those who will follow." Lambda Literary
"Disarmingly funny and a pleasure to read....I think everyone can gain something from Kate's honest, brave account." Feministing.com
"Kate Bornstein is brave. She is very, very brave. Her memoir, A Queer and Pleasant Danger, should be located in all three of the LGBT, self-help and biography sections of your local library and bookstores." Edge
"This memoir manages to be both wrenchingly transformative and luminously wondrous, a sumptuous literary combination." Pride Source
"A Queer and Pleasant Danger is not for the faint-hearted, for reasons that become fairly evident (see: sadomasochism), but is ultimately uplifting, hopeful, even joyous" Shelf Awareness
"This is a softer, sometimes sorrowful, side of the always-outspoken Kate Bornstein, and I loved it....A Queer and Pleasant Danger is a wildly wonderful read." Long Island Pulse Magazine
A stunningly original memoir of a nice Jewish boy who joined the Church of Scientology and left twelve years later, ultimately transitioning to a woman. A few years later, she stopped calling herself a woman and became famous as a gender outlaw.
Kate Bornstein — gender theorist, performance artist, author — is set to change lives with her compelling memoir. Wickedly funny and disarmingly honest, this is Bornstein's most intimate book yet, encompassing her early childhood and adolescence, college at Brown, a life in the theater, three marriages and fatherhood, the Scientology hierarchy, transsexual life, LGBTQ politics, and life on the road as a sought-after speaker.
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
About the Author
Kate Bornstein is a performance artist and playwright who has authored several award-winning books, including Gender Outlaw: On Men, Women, and The Rest of Us, My Gender Workbook, and Hello, Cruel World: 101 Alternatives to Suicide for Teens, Freaks, and Other Outlaws. She has earned two citations of honor from the New York City Council and garnered praise from civil rights groups around the globe. Kate lives in New York City with her girlfriend, three cats, two dogs, and a turtle.
Table of Contents
Prologue: The Kiss of Death
Chapter 1. Go
Chapter 2. The He-Man Woman-Hater’s Club
Chapter 3. What Sex Had to Do with It
Chapter 4. Size Matters
Chapter 5. A SciFi Writer, an Actor, and God Walk into a Bar
Chapter 6. There’s Nothing Funny about Any of This
Chapter 7. Where Have All the Flowers Gone?
Chapter 8. Love Was Never Free
Chapter 9. Beached
Chapter 10. Family Man
Chapter 11. All Good Things
Chapter 12. The Lost Boys
Chapter 13. Over the Borderline
Chapter 14. Stages of Life
Chapter 15. OK, Kid, This Is Where It Gets Complicated
Chapter 16. Girl
Epilogue: Hello, Sweetie
Some Notes on My Scientology Sources