The cover of the book.

The Apartheid of Sex - A Manifesto on the Freedom of Gender

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Is the categorization of people from the moment of birth as either male of female a form of sexual segregation as pernicious as racial apartheid? In this bold and provocative manifesto, Martine Rothblatt cites current academic opinion and research to argue that the answer is yes - and that the time is right for a new sexual revolution.

In the Apartheid of Sex, Rothblatt makes a case for the adoption of a new sexual model that accommodates every possible shade of gender identity. It reveals that traditional male and female roles are dictated neither by genetics, genitals, nor reproductive biology, but rather by social attitudes that originated in early patriachal cultures and that have been institutionalized in modern law. In the name of the countless people of unique gender who continue to suffer on the procrustean bed of sexual duality, Rothblatt calls for a new acceptance of human sexuality in all its prismatic variety.

About the Author

Martine Rothblatt

Martine Rothblatt is the Vice-Chair of the Bioethics Subcommitee of the International Bar Association, and a major participant in global legal discussions on the Human Genome Project. An attorney and entrepreneur, she is responsible for several of the most innovative projects in the satellite communications industry. She and her family live in Washington, D.C.

Book Reviews and Comments

"Rothblatt provides a host of research data and social analysis, making this book compelling, persuasive, and even visionary. It is a mind-boggling challenge to visualize a world in which humanity is not divided down the middle by gender, but thrilling to imagine. The Apartheid of Sex dares to assert something that seems obvious in this day and age — could anyone be considered strictly "male" or "female"? — but which few people are willing to seriously consider. The writing is clear and accessible, and the book takes an admirably unabashed revolutionary tone, even invoking Nelson Mandela when emphasizing the need for "gender pioneers" who aren't afraid to challenge the status quo. Perhaps someday Rothblatt will be considered just such a pioneer." Los Angeles Reader Monthly Book Supplement, March 1995.

"In her concise book, she presents the case for gender freedom in common- sense terms, making the limitations of gender quite obvious and showing that the definition of "man" or "woman" does not depend on the type of sexual organs a person possesses. It's fascinating, provocative stuff." — Atlanta's Etcetera Magazine, March 10, 1995

"An important step toward liberating ourselves from the fetters imposed by simplistic assumptions about what it means to be female or male. A ray of hope in these days of gathering bigotry in matters of gender, sexuality and family life." — Dr. Ruth Hubbard, Professor Emerita of Biology at Harvard University and author of The Politics of Women's Biology.

"An earnest but sometimes facile assault on the legal separation of people by gender, Rothblatt's manifesto synthesizes numerous "trans-gender" arguments - from biologists, social scientists and historians - that expose the limitations of a sexist 'apartheid' of gender." — Publishers Weekly. January 16, 1995

"'Gender freedom is the ultimate sexual revolution,' says D.C. - based attorney and entrepreneur Martine A. Rothblatt, author of The Apartheid of Sex: A Manifesto on the Freedom of Gender (Crown). In Rothblatt's opinion, genital differences do not determine an individual's sexual identity. One's sex is as irrelevant as one's skin tone - and any social or legal division of society based on physical characteristics amounts to apartheid." — Washington City Paper. February 17, 1995

"Every so often someone comes along with a vision that cuts like a knife through some fallacy which, after the cutting, lies exposed for all to regard in wonder why they didn't see it for themselves." — Tapestry Journal. Spring, 1995

"The Apartheid of Sex is a groundbreaking book. Rothblatt makes a reasoned call to dismantle a two-sex system. She would replace it with one of multiple sexes and sexuality. Both her biological and her sociological analyses are sound. Read this book and you will glimpse a possible future in which people place themselves on a continuum of sex and gender. Some will find this vision threatening, but others will experience it as liberating and exhilarating." — Anne Fausto-Sterling, Professor of Medical Science, Brown University, and author of Myths of Gender

"While 'mainstream' feminists (both male and female) talk a lot about tearing down sexual barriers, Rothblatt really means it. She proposes to take the feminist revolution to its logical conclusion, to a destination that would upset many Americans, but that may be our best hope for eliminating sexism from national life. This provocative treatise (The Apartheid of Sex: A Manifesto on the Freedom of Gender, Crown Publishers, 1995) may eventually take its place on the shelf beside the classic feminist works of Betty Friedan, Gloria Steinem, Germain Greer and others." — The San Francisco Examiner, February 24, 1995

"In short, Rothblatt says, the time has come to view sex the same way that most social scientists and biologists view race: as a concept with little if any empirical value. There are, say, no strictly black or white races, only gradations in skin color that have no well- accepted links to inherent behavioral or intellectual differences. Likewise, Rothblatt says, there aren't two sexes, just subtle differences in body type and behavior that we traditionally describe as more or less male or female, though such differences are rarely linked to one's genetic sex."

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