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Social Science Gay Studies


Autobiographical Notes on Sexuality, Gender & Identity

by (author) Terry Goldie

Arsenal Pulp Press
Initial publish date
May 2008
Gay Studies
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    May 2008
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Evocative of writers Patrick Califia-Rice and Kate Bornstein, whose best works explore gender and sexuality through personal memoir, queersexlife is a frank and intimate collection of responses to theories of queer sexuality and identity as viewed through the author's own experiences. By turns insightful and elegant, Terry Goldie delves into contemporary subject matter both fraught and explicit, revealing subtle, fluid truths about human sexuality and desire: drag queens, feminism, cross-cultural sex, bisexuality, gay youth, and the concept of being "out," among others. Goldie explores this diverse terrain with a perceptive and provocative eye as he attempts to understand the complex issues of sexuality and gender from within--and as a result, to understand himself. The result expands and deepens our understanding of the parameters and ramifications not only of queer sexuality, but human sexuality in general, in terms that are both beautiful and unapologetic. queersexlife is a book for LGBTQ studies and general readers alike.

About the author

Terry Goldie is the author of the memoir queersexlife (Arsenal Pulp Press) and the editor of the anthology In a Queer Country: Gay & Lesbian Studies in the Canadian Context (Arsenal Pulp Press). His other books include Pink Snow: Homotextual Possibilities in Canadian Fiction (Broadview 2003), and Fear and Temptation: The Image of the Indigene in Canadian, Australian and New Zealand Literatures (McGill-Queen`s, 1989). He is a professor of English at York University in Toronto, where he teaches Canadian and postcolonial literature with particular interest in gay studies and literary theory.

Terry Goldie's profile page

Editorial Reviews

Terry Goldie's work is an important contribution to queer theory because it fills a need that is often missing in many theoretical works: a deeper knowledge of the writer. Besides Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, very few theoretical writers insert autobiographical information into their works, and I didn't really notice this void until reading queersexlife. Whether sharing information about his childhood, photos of himself in drag, or his preference for anal passivity, Goldie lets the reader into his life with the sincere purpose of bring theory to life.... I hope that Goldie's text is as influential to the queer studies community as it was to me personally and that other theorists follow suit.
-Feminist Review

Feminist Review

I was delighted to come across queersexlife, a iconoclastic mix of theory and autobiography by York University professor Terry Goldie. In a chapter ironically titled "There is No Such Thing as a Bisexual," Goldie examines his long and fraught attempt to define himself and almost slips the surly bonds of identity altogether.
-Toronto Star

Toronto Star

In this book Terry Goldie outs himself, theory, and art, not to render them more transparent, but to question what "we" are looking for in them. In queersexlife, memoir meets theory, meets sex, meets race, meets gay, meets masculinity, meets femininity, meets gender, implicating our desires and pleasures and then shining the light back on readers' own queer sex lives. In this age of homonormativity and its disciplinary practices, Goldie requires us to think the messy pleasures of queer politics and practices again and again. Hurray for him!
-RINALDO WALCOTT, Associate Professor, Centre for Media and Culture in Education, University of Toronto


queersexlife addresses a new way to make sense of theories of sexual desire: through one's own experiences. This series of cleverly titled essays is a compelling collection, chronicling Terry Goldie's journey to understanding himself.


Is bisexuality an identity? Does the penis always rule? How does the desiring anus work? Why do we still bother with sexual orientation? Is identity useful when it comes to the sexual? These and other contemporary concerns in Critical Sexuality Studies provide the focus for queersexlife. If you like your theory complex, rich and built from the "bottom" up, you'll like Goldie's gentle, wry and persuasive approach. Most importantly, he reminds us that without objectification there can be no desire, but without subjectification there can be no pleasure.
-GARY W. DOWSETT, PhD, La Trobe University, Melbourne

Gary W. Dowsett

Goldie blows "normative" thinking out of the water by immersing us in dinge queens, drag queens, intersex, and anal sex--taking the "personal memoir" approach to academia to a whole new level.... The words contained in this instant classic (and perhaps soon-to-be-seminal work) are for those willing to shed their heterosexual conditioning for a moment and delve into the dense and ever-evolving subculture that challenges the status quo at every turn.
-EDGE New York

EDGE New York

Unlike bestselling gay memoirs like Aiden Shaw's My Undoing and Augusten Burroughs' Running with Scissors, Goldie's queersexlife places snippets of autobiography within a larger context: a vast web of sociology, feminism, psychoanalysis, literary theory, and historical research.
-Xtra! West and Xtra!

Xtra! West

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