Kate Bornstein is an American queer theorist, author, and performer. She identifies as nonbinary and goes by she/her pronouns.
Early life and the Church of Scientology
Bornstein was born March 15, 1948 and assigned male at birth in Neptune City, New Jersey. She studied at Brown University and graduated in 1969 before joining the Church of Scientology. She was originally draw to the church because of its emphasis on people being limitless souls, as opposed to physical beings. As Bornstein said in an interview in May of 2012, "They said I was not my body." Bornstein was a high-ranking member of the Church of Scientology's elite Sea Org for twelve years before being excommunicated. Her daughter is still a member of the church, so she and her grandchildren are forbidden from communicating with Bornstein.
In her memoir, A Queer and Pleasant Danger, Bornstein wrote "I don't call myself a woman, and I know I'm not a man." After leaving the Church of Scientology, she settled in San Francisco and had gender confirmation surgery in 1986. She is married to her partner, Barbara Carrellas and they live together in New York City. Bornstein was diagnosed with lung cancer in August of 2012 and has also suffered from Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia for nearly 20 years.
- Gender Outlaw: On Men, Women, and the Rest of Us
- My New Gender Workbook: A Step-by-Step Guide to Achieving World Peace Through Gender Anarchy and Sex Positivity.
- Hello, Cruel World: 101 Alternatives to Suicide for Teens, Freaks, and Other Outlaws
- A Queer and Pleasant Danger: 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
- “I have this idea that every time we discover that the names we're being called are somehow keeping us less than free, we need to come up with new names for ourselves, and that the names we give ourselves must no longer reflect a fear of being labeled outsiders, must no longer bind us to a system that would rather see us dead.” -Kate Bornstein, Hello Cruel World: 101 Alternative to Suicide for Teens, Freaks, and Other Outlaws
- “There's no such thing as hurting someone for their own good. There's only hurting someone for your own good.” -Kate Bornstein, A Queer and Pleasant Danger: 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
- Bornstein, Kate. A Queer and Pleasant Danger: a Memoir. Beacon Press, 2012.
- Pasulka, Nicole. “‘A Queer and Pleasant Danger’: Kate Bornstein, Trans Scientology Survivor.”
- Mother Jones, 25 June 2017.Morgan, Glennisha. “Kate Bornstein, Transgender Activist And Theorist, Receives Support For Cancer Fundraiser.” The Huffington Post, TheHuffingtonPost.com, 22 Mar. 2013.
- Rachel Kramer Bussel in Arts & Entertainment on Jun 22, 2006 6:35 am. “Kate Bornstein, Author, Hello, Cruel World: 101 Alternatives to Suicide for Teens, Freaks & Other Outlaws.” Gothamist, 22 June 2006.