Rethinking Gender: An Illustrated Exploration

Regular price $ 24.95

by Louie Läuger

MIT Press

11/11/2022, paperback

SKU: 9780262047234


A lively, informative, and engaging guide to gender by an author-illustrator who helps readers understand the multiplicity of answers to "What even is gender?"

Queer, cisgender, transgender, nonbinary, androgynous, maverique, intergender, genderfluid. Louie and their cat (a.k.a. "Cat") take you on a journey through the world of gender--without claiming to have it all figured out or knowing the perfect definition for this widely complex subject. Gender is tricky to understand because it's a social construct intersecting with many other parts of our identity, including class, race, age, religion. For a long time, people thought of gender as binary: male/female, pirate/princess, sports/shopping. Now, we're starting to understand it's not that simple. That's what this book is about: figuring out what gender means, one human being at a time, and giving us new ways to let the world know who we are.

Boy, girl, either/or, neither/nor, everything in between: gender is a spectrum, and it's hard to know where you fit, especially when your position isn't necessarily fixed--and the spectrum keeps expanding. That's where Rethinking Gender can help: it gives you a toolbox for empathy, understanding, and self-exploration. Louie's journey includes a deep dive into the historical context of LGBTQIA+ rights activism and the evolution of gender discourse, politics, and laws--but it also explores these ideas through the diversity of expressions and experiences of people today.

In Rethinking Gender Louie offers a real-world take on what it means to be yourself, see yourself, and see someone else for who they are, too.

Questions explored in Rethinking Gender include:

  • What is cisgender? Dysphoria? Non-binary? Intersex? Intersectionality?
  • Are sex and gender biological? Cultural? Social? Personal?
  • What do race, religion, age, and education have to do with it?
  • How do we recognize stereotypes, and what can we do about them?
  • Do physical characteristics determine sex, and, if not, what does?
  • How common is it not to fit in the box checked M or F?
  • When is surgery or medical intervention called for, and who gets to decide?
  • How have ideas about gender changed over time?
  • What is gender identity, how do we know ours, and how do we talk to someone whose gender is different from our own?

Originally published as Gender-Kram: Illustrationen und Stimmen zu Geschlecht.


"Rethinking Gender is a simple, friendly introduction that demystifies gender with real-world illustrations from a wide range of people. A perfect book for anybody who wants to explore their own gender, or to explain gender to others." -- Meg-John Barker, author of Gender: A Graphic Guide

"Through conversational prose paired with whimsical, softly colored illustrations and journaling prompts, this primer... provides an interactive exploration of gender... Appearing as themself in illustrated form, Läuger, a White author and artist, eases into an in-depth discussion of gender with a personal introduction and gentle encouragement... Acknowledging and embracing the complexities of gender, the conclusion provides resources for further reading and suggests ways for readers to continue examining their biases... Empathetic and inviting." -- Kirkus Reviews

About the Author:

Louie Läuger (they/them) is an illustrator and author based in Germany. They studied media education and information design. Today they work in the intersection of feminism, illustration, and education.