THAT GUY in our Women’s Studies Class, by Allan D. Hunter
At long last, the rights of LGBTQ people are fairly widely accepted in our culture. Within this group, the newest focus has been on transgender folks, “transgender” often being used as an umbrella term to refer to all types of people who do not conform to the old definitions and limitations of sex and gender, as assigned at birth. The general public struggles to understand the various issues involved with sex and gender, the greatest confusion seeming to be around non-binary and gender-fluid folks, who defy not only birth definitions but also the either/or definitions of sex and gender. But there are more varieties of sex and gender diversity, and there is almost no focus on people like the author of this book, who identifies as a heterosexual male with female gender characteristics, choosing the term “Sissy” to describe himself.
Everyone who wants to walk in the shoes of this courageous, intelligent sissy activist will enjoy his two-part autobiography, “GenderQueer: A Story from a Different Closet” and “That Guy in our Women’s Studies Class.” The first describes growing up in Los Alamos, New Mexico, where he struggled with being different and identifying what that meant, with no role models like himself, nor people to discuss his struggle with. The second describes his ongoing intellectual, social and academic search during college, where he enters a Women’s Studies program and struggles to be accepted in as a heterosexual male who has found that the people with whom he identifies most strongly are “radical feminists.”
In addition to the joy of following the personal history and growth of this brave author, those interested in feminist history and woman’s studies will find this book enlightening, as it includes a wealth of material for future reading. Allan’s parents do not understand him and quit supporting him in his attempt to pursue his academic goals. When he writes about his gender identification, college officials decide he needs mental health help, and he is put in a mental institution. When he gets out of the institution, he faces homelessness, and shares his personal experiences with the drug culture and other challenges he encounters on the streets, as well as in mental institutions. He also gives us insights into how universities sometimes respond to students with strong opinions and outlooks that are outside the mainstream.
After reading Allan Hunter’s two autobiographical books, I’m eager to read more about the sissy identification, qualities, challenges, and outlooks, as well as being introduced to the sissy male movement. Hunter is open about his personal experiences, and his dream is to do research which will enable him to find others like himself, people who identify as female, yet are comfortable with their male bodies and their heterosexuality, so are outsiders to the gay culture, but also outside the majority, cis-gender culture. There is room for everyone, and each person’s identity and outlook add to the beautiful diversity of our society. We look forward to Hunter continuing to help us understand the unique beauty, skills and challenges faced by the many sissy males in our society!
Mim Chapman, PhD.
Author, Sex-educator and Relationship Coach
Santa Fe, NM