What Makes a Woman?
When I started this project, I figured this would be an easy question to answer. If someone self-identified as a woman, then that was good enough for me, because after all, who is a better person to make that determination?
But then I ran across a story in Fantasy that I had read in draft on the OWW and the name of the author was gender ambiguous so I checked the bio (as one does when not reading fiction by men) and came across:
Ze identifies as queer and genderqueer and would sometimes describe zir gender as “pirate princess” and other times as “faerie boy”.
which pretty well sat me back on my ass, because, of course, I was treating gender as a binary when it isn’t as simple as that. So I had a good think about that because and remained pretty well stumped. It’s not like I can go “You said you were 51% female so I’ve decided I can read your story for the project” because I’m sure that’s just as offensive as me attempting to determine someone’s gender.
For the sake of expediency, I’ve decided that if someone indicates that they consider themselves genderqueer and they refer to themselves with female pronouns, then if I were thinking of reading them for the project, I would. Male or indeterminate pronouns, I won’t. It’s a presumptuous choice, but I thought it was better than just trying to take the easy route.
But any genderqueer authors who feel they qualify under the broad heading of “A year of reading women” and would like to be included please do comment or email to that effect. I’m only reading professionally published works, and some genres (particularly romance) are a really hard sell, so I may not do so.