that guy in our women's studies class

That Guy in Our Women’s Studies Class – Book Review

Thank you to author Allan D. Hunter for providing me with a copy of That Guy in Our Women’s Studies Class in exchange for this honest review.

I previously reviewed Allan D. Hunter’s first memoir, GenderQueer: A Story From a Different Closet. This book is a follow up that focuses more on his status as “outsider” all the way from high school, to college, grad school, and beyond.

Before the term genderqueer was known Hunter wasn’t sure how to describe himself or find any similar individuals. They self-describe as a sissy femme. A straight, cis male that is female in behavioral nature. They are not trans, do not want to transition into becoming a female, they do not want to “pass” as a female. Nor are they gay or interested in drag.

Clearly, this is a different box to check when talking about the roles of gender and sexuality. Hunter was most interested in finding others that could relate to this meshing of gender roles and moved to New York to have the best shot at doing so.

Interested in feminism he enrolled in college as a women’s studies major. He stood out as the only male in any of his classes. Some women welcomed him as an enlightened male, others took objection with a perceived invasion of a woman’s safe place.

That Guy in Our Women’s Studies Class candidly discusses social issues beyond feminism as it also explores race and class struggles. Hunter is honest and open about his time spent homeless and “in the system.” He was also locked up in a psych ward for coming out as sissy just because people don’t understand that word.

No one could accuse Hunter of having an easy life. It’s enlightening to read someone’s account of dealing with these harsh circumstances. He describes many occasions in which he was not only ostracized but double ostracized as the disenfranchised group isolated him even further. The cis, straight women didn’t understand his feminism, the gays didn’t understand his sexual orientation, the trans people didn’t understand how he was sissy but not female.

For those who aren’t part of the LGBTQ community it will be upsetting to learn that there is a lot of infighting still going on today. Well, it’s upsetting to those of us in the community as well. Hunter experienced it through being genderqueer, I’ve faced it through being bisexual (why don’t you just pick a side?!), and many others experience it from other angles. Even outsider groups are not immune to judgement and discrimination.

Hunter provides interesting perspective on all of these issues through his unique position straddling many different cross sections of society. At the end of the nonfiction book he does admit that it may not be his place to be a voice for feminism, that maybe that should be left to a woman. I agree somewhat, it is a woman’s fight more than anyone else’s. However, if a man can’t be a voice for feminism their options are to be against it or silent, neither of which furthers the cause.

That Guy in Our Women’s Studies Class does veer off into some off topic territory but so is life. I can’t say that I approve of his anti-psychiatry stance, even after his account of forced intake. I’m diagnosed bipolar and psychiatry has literally saved my life. But I can fully understand how someone who was “treated” for something that is definitely not a mental illness could take this stance.

There are many institutions within society that need dramatic change: the psychiatric industry, how to help the homeless, how to provide better student aid, and how to guarantee rights for the LGBTQ community.

Hunter is a strong writer and the memoir is a surprisingly quick read. Both of his books are strongly recommended for anyone looking to branch out their reading list to more than just one closet.

5/5 students 👨‍🎓👨‍🎓👨‍🎓👨‍🎓👨‍🎓

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