Thumbnail book cover for Gender & Sexuality For Beginners. A rainbow backdrop and hand-drawn eyes with variations of gender symbols.

A critical examination of the sex-gender system and the evolution of gender roles

This is a book for everyone: useful, smart, opinionated, surprising… Even more important, and this is not something I get to say very often: If a copy of it were to land in the right pair of hands, this is a book that could save a life.

The Stranger

Taught on curriculum at more than a dozen universities, G&SFB was anthologized in Gay City Volume 6: UpClose Personal.

“…a beautifully written and accessible exploration of a variety of gender-related topics.


A challenging and engaging page-turner, this book could change the way Americans perceive gender, orientation, and the practices that promote heteronormativity. With precision and lucidity, Garbacik manages an impressive feat: she presents readers with an accessible history of the evolvement of our society’s basic tenets surrounding gender and sexuality. What’s more, she turns many widely held assumptions directly on their head, leaving us with the disquieting sense that, when it comes to understanding the differences between men and women, we may have been misled.” 

Dr. Belisa Vranich, author, clinical psychologist, founder of The Breathing Class™

An articulate tour through diverse histories, addressing both popular and obscure texts from across the world, and in a variety of general and academic disciplines…accompanied by level-headed analyses by Garbacik.” 

Publishers Weekly

A genuinely subversive book that, better than most post-modern philosophers, undermines efforts to push, stamp, file, and index people into rigid categories, no matter the personal cost.” 

The Front Page Online
An arm proudly holds up a sign which reads, “The personal is political.”Hand-drawn ink illustration by Jeffrey Lewis, as seen in Gender and Sexuality For Beginners by Jaimee Garbacik.

Questioning biological definitions of gender and the sexes as forms of compulsory identification, Gender & Sexuality For Beginners critically examines the meaning and perpetuation of the gender construct in historical and contemporary contexts. It interweaves neurobiology, psychology, feminist, queer, and trans theory, as well as historical gay and lesbian activism, to offer new perspectives on gender inequality and to ultimately point to the ways in which the inadequate sex-gender system oppresses us all. Gender & Sexuality For Beginners illuminates how the evolution of gender roles and definitions of sexual orientation in American society are neither as objective nor as “natural” as we are often led to believe.

Supplemental Resource Guide

Hate flipping to the back of the book every time you want to know where a quote came from or who performed a particular study? My publisher created a downloadable Gender & Sexuality For Beginners Supplemental Reference Guide with my end notes, bibliography, and additional resources for an easier reading and teaching experience!

Buy the Book

You can get a copy online from Powell’s, Elliott Bay Book Co., B&N, IndieBound, or directly from Red Wheel/Weiser, AK Press, or Microcosm Publishing. Ask in person at your favorite local independent bookstore! Or check if your local library stocks the For Beginners series.

A high-contrast black and white portrait shows Jeffrey Lewis sitting in a city scene with a tree and fences. He is wearing jeans, a black shirt, black hat, and smiling subtly.