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Munroe Bergdorf signs historic six-figure book deal for a gender manifesto ‘for all of us’

Vic Parsons July 17, 2020
Munroe Bergdorf signs historic six-figure book deal with Bloomsbury

Munroe Bergdorf. (Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)

Munroe Bergdorf has signed a landmark six-figure contract with Bloomsbury for her debut book, Transitional.

The Black trans model and activist’s book, billed as a manifesto on gender, was bought by Bloomsbury after a bidding war between 11 publishers. It will be published in 2021.

Bergdorf will draw on her own life experience to explore six themes throughout the book: adolescence, sexuality, gender, relationships, identity and race.

She told The Guardian that she envisages the book as “a manifesto for how I see society changing for the better, bringing us all closer”.

The trans experience, Bergdorf said, is “thought of by a lot of people as this far-off idea that isn’t that relatable”.

“I wanted to drive home the fact that we all transition in one way or another,” she continued. “None of us stays the same. We’re all on a journey, and a transition with regards to gender is just one of many we all experience as human beings.”

Transitional will look at the history of gender, particularly in cultures that recognised more than two genders before the colonial era wiped them out.

“I’ve gone into the depths of where gender came from, because it hasn’t always existed in [the way] we think about gender today,” said Bergdorf. “What it’s like to be a cisgender woman today is not what it was in the middle ages, or the 1950s, or even the 1980s.”

Bergdorf, who was recently rehired by L’Oréal as a diversity consultant in the wake of a controversial “speaking out is worth it” post the beauty brand shared – having fired Bergdorf in 2017 for speaking about white supremacy – is fast becoming the most famous trans person in the UK.

But this has often been, like with the L’Oréal fiasco, for reasons outside of her control.

Last month, Tory peer Baroness Nicholson called Munroe Bergdorf a “weird creature” and shared transphobic abuse about the model – when Bergdorf posted about this on Instagram, she admitted she’d never heard of Nicholson before.

“I’m looking forward to sharing a piece of work where people can actually read what I’m about firsthand, instead of seeing me when I pop up in the papers every now and again,” Bergdorf said.

“If I can change people’s minds about how they view people who aren’t like them, and how they view human difference, than that is a job done.”

And Bergdorf has been one of many prominent LGBT+ figures who has criticised fellow Bloomsbury author JK Rowling for her recent bout of anti-trans statements.

“It’s such a shame, especially with these gender critical feminists like JK Rowling and Baroness Nicholson,” Munroe Bergdorf said.

“I think if they actually sat down with me and communicated in a respectful way instead of posting things about our community that are detrimental to the mental health, physical wellbeing and emotional wellbeing of trans people, they would see that trans people want what’s best for cisgender women, too.

“One group of society’s rights isn’t to the detriment of anybody else’s – equal rights are equal rights. It means equality, it doesn’t mean less for some, and more for others.”

More: baroness nicholson, Bloomsbury, Colonialism, gender, gender critical feminism, JK Rowling, munroe bergdorf, trans rights, transitional

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