You've been born an alyha among the Mohave at the turn of the 20th century, and are neither man nor woman. Or: you're born a cisgender male in a patriarchal society. Or maybe you were born with an intersex condition. But you could also be a transgender Asian American woman who gets married, a working-class gender-expansive pansexual person or a white gay man with a disability.
How can these realities possibly be contained in a single experience? When organized into a fun, thoughtful and instructive "choose your own adventure"-style book!
In She He They Me, sociologist Robyn Ryle guides readers through more than a hundred different scenarios that show how gender and sex intersect with culture, race, class and disability. Readers can work their way through nearly endless permutations, "trying on" various identities and exploring how cultural contexts might interact with those identities.
The book's playful, non-linear, experimental form deliberately echoes the idea that gender can also be playful, non-linear and experimental. In the introduction, Ryle writes that one reason she wrote this book is because "seeing the world in new and different ways can be a little scary. But eventually, it's liberating and exciting... I wanted to share that scary and exciting adventure with people everywhere."
Those who view gender as binary, fixed and inherently tied to certain biological and cultural behaviors may find She He They Me surprising or uncomfortable, but that's why they should read it. If nothing else, it's an exercise in empathy--and only good can come from that. --Hannah Calkins, writer and editor in Washington, D.C.