Rejecting the Rules of Gender and Conformity
Nobody Passes is a collection of essays that confronts and challenges the very notion of belonging. By examining the perilous intersections of identity, categorization and community, contributors challenge societal mores and countercultural norms. From activism to academia, immigration to appropriation to cruising for sex, hip-hop to disability culture to trans communities, this anthology challenges standards of authenticity and destroys notions of acceptability.
"Unlike most anthologies, which are haunted by spotty quality, Nobody Passes is blessed with one engaging essay after another... Nobody Passes could be titled Everybody Passes, as nearly every contributor describes passing as something they are not -- persons of color passing as white, queers passing his straight, disabled passing as able-bodied, casual religious passing as devout, straights passing as queer. Don't pass up these compelling biographical explorations."
"Smart, sassy, and long overdue, this collection of essays by Mattilda and hur badass posse of evil geniuses gleefully demolishes the smug propriety that lurks within most contemporary debates about gender and diversity. What a breath of fresh air!"
- Susan Stryker, transgender activist, historian, and filmmaker
"Providing tons of those increasingly rare moments when you realize you are actually ingesting fresh ideas, Mattilda's collection of essays... deals with notions of passing -- as American, able-bodied, gay, straight, man, woman, neither and other identities -- and it's a must-read for anyone interested in the ever-growing permutations of 'queer.'"
–Time Out New York
“The Nobody Passes anthology boasts a diverse crew of contributors… Many of the essays resemble candid conversations as authors discuss complicated negotiations of identity and community, making the book more enlightening than many others of its ilk. Frustration with competing identities is a recurring theme; as one contributor puts it, ‘The problem with being everything is that it mostly gets me a whole lot of nothing.’ The volume offers no easy solutions (there undoubtedly aren’t any), but it does put these long-overdue conversations within the mainstream’s reach.”
"An excellent new anthology, Nobody Passes brings the contradictions of our complex identities to the fore in 27 essays that explore class, race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity and national origin... Nobody Passes pokes at the core of personal identity, reminding us that personal authenticity is integral to human liberation. It further attempts to envision a world -- however utopian -- in which there is no need for passing."
"Nobody Passes is a fascinating example of how feminism and gender studies can support radically new identities that develop at the speed of life -- or it may be part of the end of identity politics as known so far."
–Naomi Zack, author of Inclusive Feminism: A Third Wave Theory of Women's Commonality
"In this beautiful, surprising collection, Mattilda brings together the smartly told, diverse stories of social refuseniks. The result is a provocative critique of the act of passing, and a lively, challenging, often moving account of the pleasures and pains of not passing. Nobody Passes kicks ass. It will mess you right up."
–Joshua Gamson, author of The Fabulous Sylvester
"Nobody Passes... dares to ask: Can we fight for the rights of those whose lives and experiences don't fit our exoticizing paradigms, whose professions are not morally redeeming?... Nobody Passes is a set of complex analyses and an essential book for anyone seeking new frameworks for progressive politics. The writers eschew tired and familiar concepts of identity and belonging. These essays provide an important corrective to the pallid and politically correct narratives that pass, as it were, for social justice."
–Windy City Times
"These essays, in all of their militant heterogeneity--with all of their ease and rage at being on margins--chart some of the most important ground on which the desire for a new society is finding expression. They show rebels that we are far from alone in feeling such desire."
–David Roediger, author of Working Toward Whiteness: How America's Immigrants Became White