Kate Bornstein’s Unusual Journey

It is with absolute pleasure that I get to kick off the blog tour for Kate Bornstein’s new book A Queer and Pleasant Danger because, well, she’s Kate, for starters, and the grand dame of the radical trans set.

Besides, who else could subtitle a book The True Story of a Nice Jewish Boy Who Joins the Church of Scientology and Leaves 12 Years Later to Become the Lovely Lady She Is Today?

We were lucky enough to have Kate read us a chapter – the one on her expulsion from Scientology – a few years ago on a drive from Appleton, WI – where I’d convinced her to come speak at Lawrence University – to the big queer midwest college conference in Madison, WI, where she was the keynote speaker. Sometimes it’s striking what kinds of things you remember, things that maybe no one else would, but anyone – anyone and their favorite aunt – would definitely remember eating Taco Bell with Kate Bornstein in a car on a Wisconsin interstate while she reads to you from her as-yet-unpublished memoir.

I think anyone who reads this will remember it much the same way: you’ll remember imagining who she was then because it will make you aware of who you are now & who you have been in a way that the immediacy of any pop song couldn’t.

The Village Voice did an amazing write up, so I won’t go into every detail of this wonderful book, but I can say: it crackles with Kate-ness, which I now think of as a state of being more than anything else, a kind of awesome mix of camp, integrity, ego and empathy. Just do go out & get one and read it.