Keynote: Julia Serano

Trans* Pride Seattle is proud to announce our Keynote Speaker. Author, spoken word artist, and activist Julia Serano.

© 2009 Margaux Ayn Schaffer

Julia Serano is a true Renaissance woman: a writer, performer, activist, musician and biologist. She is best known for her book Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity (Seal Press), a collection of personal essays that reveal how misogyny frames popular assumptions about femininity, and shapes many of the myths and misconceptions people have about transsexual women. Since its publication in 2007, Whipping Girl has garnered rave reviews and has been used as teaching materials in gender studies, queer/LGBTQ studies, psychology and human sexuality courses in colleges and graduate schools across North America. She is currently finishing up work her second full-length book, a collection of essays centered on how to make feminist and queer/LGBTQ movements more genuinely inclusive.

Julia’s other writings have appeared in numerous anthologies (including Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power and A World Without RapeTransfeminist Perspectives: in and beyond Transgender and Gender StudiesGender Outlaws: The Next Generation, and Word Warriors: 30 Leaders in the Women’s Spoken Word Movement), and in feminist, queer, and pop culture magazines and websites (such as Bitch,, Out, Ms. Magazine blog,, and make/shift). Her articles and essays tackle a broad range of topics, including feminism, queer/LGBTQ and trans activism, sexism, sexualization, media stereotypes, psychiatric depictions of gender and sexual minorities, the “nature versus nurture” debate, bisexuality, femininity and femme politics.

Julia is also an accomplished spoken word artist. She is a slam poetry champion (having qualified for finals and/or semifinals in Berkeley, San Francisco, and San Jose in the past) and has performed spoken word at a variety of high profile events, including Toronto Pride, San Francisco Pride Main Stage, The San Francisco Dyke March, Ladyfest Bay Area, and The National Queer Arts Festival.

As a musician, Julia was the lyricist-guitarist-vocalist for the noise-pop trio Bitesize. During their heyday, Bitesize released two critically acclaimed CDs, toured up and down the West Coast, and received college radio airplay nationwide. Julia is currently working on a compilation of her previously unreleased recordings.

Julia is also an event curator. She single-handedly organized the performance series GenderEnders from 2003-06, as well as the 2007 National Queer Arts Festival show The The “Penis” Issue: Trans and Intersex Women Speak Their Minds. Currently, she is one of three co-curators for the recurring spoken word event Girl Talk: A Trans and Cis Woman Dialogue (2009-present).

In addition to all this, Julia has a PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics from Columbia University, and spent 17 years as a researcher at UC Berkeley in the fields of genetics, developmental biology, and evolution. Her understanding of biology, along with her life experiences as a trans woman, give her a unique perspective on gender and sexism that challenges many commonly held beliefs.

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