As the tagline for her memoir Kate Bornstein is a Queer and Pleasant Danger advertises, Bornstein’s life is “the true story of a nice Jewish boy who joins the Church of Scientology and leaves twelve years later to become the lovely lady she is today.” “Auntie Kate,” as her fans call her, is the author of seminal gender studies texts Gender Outlaw and My Gender Workbook (now in its second edition) and a performance artist and lecturer. Her material argues for an expansive definition of gender (or, as the full title of Gender Outlaw puts it, “men, women, and the rest of us”) and includes themes of harm reduction that stem from her personal struggles with suicidal ideation. She has distributed “Get out of Hell Free” cards along with a promise to – as she says in her It Gets Better video – “do your time for you.”
Bornstein was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2012. She underwent treatment and was ruled cancer-free. However, cancerous cells have since been discovered in a lymph node and at the time of this writing she is collecting donations to continue paying her medical bills.
(While Wikipedia’s page employs Bornstein’s name in lieu of third-person pronouns, her partner refers to her with female pronouns on Bornstein’s blog; due to her personal knowledge of the source, her account is considered authoritative.)