Beatriz Preciado – Testo Junkie

Testo Junkie book cover

Beatriz Preciado, Testo Junkie: Sex, Drugs and Biopolitics in the Pharmacopornographic Era, Feminist Press, New York, £16.99 (Amazon Kindle edition £6.47)

Testo Junkie addresses its theme – sex, drugs and biopolitics – in two ways. The first is autobiographical, Preciado’s account of her life as she takes testosterone, in the form of a gel applied to the skin. This she does without medical supervision, since she isn’t interested in transitioning, in going through what she sees as a medically defined process through which she rejects her female identity. So the doses of testosterone are low – not enough to cause “masculinisation” such as facial hair. This is an experiment, to test or play with her identity as a woman, to examine its boundaries. She is, in her phrase, a “gender hacker”. She writes:

I do not want the female gender that has been assigned to me at birth. Neither do I want the male gender that transsexual medicine can furnish and that the state will award me if I behave in the right way. I don’t want any of it.

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Audre Lorde – Zami: A New Spelling of My Name

zamiPublished in 1982, Zami is a memoir by Audre Lorde, the black feminist lesbian writer. Lorde died of cancer in 1992, having gained a position of great respect in the 1980s women’s movement for her writing about the overlapping issues of race, gender and sexuality which had formed the context for her own life. As I recall, while the word “intersectionality” wasn’t used back then, these were live issues – there existed a Gay Black Group and a Gay Lesbian Group which met at Gay’s the Word bookshop.

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