Author note: This hybrid contribution includes two elements that are intended to be engaged in this order: first, a mediated performance (short film) and, second, a theoretical argument engaging the potential in gender reveal party fails. As such, this submission is multimodal. You are invited to engage the elements of the hybrid submission at your leisure, however.
Link to video: https://youtu.be/NyB90Ynd0Qg
Gender reveal party fails are a fine form of media genre. If you haven’t already done so, do yourself a favor and search for “gender reveal party fails” on any video-sharing platform (i.e., YouTube), hit play, and enjoy—whether in joy, awe, and/or disappointment. In this essay, I take seriously the implications of gender reveal party fails. I accomplish this through performance both on the page and on the mediated stage. On the page, here, I consider gender reveal party fails as ideological ruptures. The ideological formation to which I draw our attention is that of racialized cisheterosexism. I argue, the “success” of gender reveal parties relies on a normative understanding of gender as a progressive unfolding in racialized cisheterosexist terms. In turn, gender reveal party “fails” matter to the extent that they intervene in the performative sedimentation of racialized gender as a compulsory enactment. Conversely, on the stage, I embody trans monstrosity through a mediated performance adapted from the theatrical stage to the mediated stage in filmic form titled A Trans Monstrous Reflection (see Appendix for detailed script).1 Informed by Susan Stryker’s performative theorization of trans monstrosity (“My Words”), I meditate on the possibility of gender reveal party fails as affectively charged communicative enactments of trans rage resisting the performative sedimentation of racialized cisheterosexist gender interpellation. While the performance is intended as farce, the broader goal is to take seriously the potential in gender reveal party fails.
I use performance as both object and method of research. And when placed in conversation with rhetoric, I, like Bernadette Calafell, use performance to “push back methodologically against traditional approaches in rhetoric, hoping for more complex approaches to embodiment, resistance, and cultural nuances” (“Performance” 115). In this regard, I submit both the page and the mediated stage as concurrent engagements with “theory and practice, abstraction and embodiment” so as to better engage the potential in gender reveal party fails (Conquergood 153). The page provides the theoretical foundation from which the mediated staged performance emerges. On the page, I make two moves. First, I frame the “successful” gender reveal party as an ideological iteration of racialized cisheterosexism. Second, and in turn, I conceptualize of gender reveal party fails as a form of ideological rupture; the failure matters to the degree that it refuses to acquiesce to ideological expectations of racialized cisheterosexism as an uneventful sex/gender unfolding in mimetic binary terms. To begin, let us consider gender reveal parties as ideological iteration.
Gender Reveal Parties as Ideological Iteration
Gender reveal parties are a peculiar contemporary Western cultural phenomenon ritualizing non-trans embodiment. Their “invention” can be attributed to Jenna Karvunidis. In a 2019 Facebook status update, Karvunidis described the invention process: She wrote about her own gender reveal party on her now defunct blog High Gloss and Sauce in 2008. Subsequently, The Bump, a pregnancy and parenting magazine, amplified the blog post in an article resulting in a party idea gone viral. Since then, everyday people have sought innovative means to disclose the genitals of a fetus in grandiose cultural performances that are posted to social media. Interestingly, Karvunidis’s post was about more than origin stories. Indeed, she expressed “mixed feelings” about her “random contribution to the culture,” which has since “exploded into [something] crazy [sic] after that. Literally—guns firing, forest fires, more emphasis on gender than has ever been necessary for a baby.”
In the end, Karvunidis disclosed: “PLOT TWIST, the world’s first gender-reveal party baby is a girl who wears suits!” Karvunidis’s child, Bianca, posts content on Instagram (@bianca_k_actor) using the tag #girlsinsuits.2 While Karvunidis now asks “Who cares what gender the baby is?,” it is worth exploring the cultural mechanisms enabling the repetition of gender reveal parties as a normalized cultural performance. Indeed, while Karvunidis’s initial blog post reflected a small, local idea (and while she describes her role in the creation of the cultural performance as “random”), Stuart Hall reminds us, “Ideas only become effective if they do, in the end, connect with a particular constellation of social forces” (42). Gender reveal parties are the result of a viral blog post—the virality of which was/is predicated on an understanding of gender as a compulsory enactment informed and constrained by racialized cisheterosexism, an ideological stronghold pre-determining and, in turn, delimiting gender potentiality.
Calafell’s astute observation that performance enables rhetorical scholars to “push back methodologically against traditional approaches in rhetoric, hoping for more complex approaches to embodiment, resistance, and cultural nuances” is insightful here (“Performance” 115). Notably, with regard to the question of motive or intent. Rhetorical scholars have long expressed interest in exploring a rhetor’s motive (e.g., Kenneth Burke). Conversely, performance approaches emphasize impact over intent. Indeed, from a performance perspective, the effect remains the same regardless of intent. For instance, LeMaster explores ideology as embodied rhetoric suggesting mundane cultural performances are pre-determined by that which came before (“Embracing”). In this regard, mundane communication is informed by performatively sedimented cultural scripts that reflect hegemonic ideologies. As such, a focus on intent erroneously absolves the individual from the collective performance of cultural hegemony of which we are all differently engaged. And, so, regardless of Karvunidis’s intent, gender reveal parties have gone viral taking on innovative forms that build on that which came before. Karvunidis, the author, is thusly insignificant, as is her intent, in the ongoing performance of gender reveal parties that merely remix performative cultural elements that came before. Those elements are made meaningful exclusively against a backdrop of racialized cisheterosexist ideologies.
That gender reveal parties are animated through virality suggests a need to look at digital rhetorics. Ridolfo and DeVoss advance “rhetorical velocity” as a means of theorizing rhetorical delivery coupled with an understanding of how texts work in mediated terrains. Rhetorical velocity can help us to make sense of the virality undergirding gender reveal parties. Rhetorical velocity draws the rhetorician’s attention to “the speed at which information composed to be recomposed travels” and thus focuses on the rhetor’s attention to “the working conditions of the third party and what type of text it would be useful (or not) to provide” (“Composing”). In short, rhetorical velocity gestures at intent—the rhetor’s intent in terms of crafting and delivering a text that can be “recomposed, redelivered, redistributed, etc., across physical and virtual networks and spaces” (“Composing”). However, and as we have established, a performance approach to rhetoric is interested in effect over intent. In this regard, that which is remixed (in this case, gender reveal parties as cultural performance) diverges from that which is constructed in mediated terrains for mediated repurposing. Still, gender reveal parties are cultural performances that remix elements of that which came before.
Undergirding each of these remixed enactments, however, are repetitions of racist cisheterosexist ideology. As such, the rhetorical message stays the same (nonconsensually disclosing genitals and suturing a racialized cisheterosexist map of meaning on to a fetus) while the performative mechanism by which the message is delivered changes. Said differently, rhetorical velocity draws our attention to the unique rhetorical means by which a genital disclosure occurs through the performative use of the colors pink and blue. However, what is less addressed are the ideological strongholds that possibilize the traction for the cultural performance at all. That is, hegemonic ideologies—in this case, racist cisheterosexism—are what enable the velocity by which gender reveal parties gain rhetorical traction through a mundane compulsory want to re-perform and document a racialized cisheterosexist ritual of sex/gender interpellation. And, in turn, while the rhetor may not intend a gender reveal fail, a failure provokes virality as a result of its unwillingness to easily acquiesce to racist cisheterosexism as a presumably uneventful unfolding of sex/gender intelligibility.
The rhetorics I study are ideological as they are embodied. Ideological in the sense that they are normative ideas made meaningful through historically-sedimented and uneven power relations that reflect those who hold and embody cultural power across intersecting lines of identity. That ideologies reflect the interests of the powerful, they are often understood as “common sense.” And, as Antonio Gramsci reminds us, “The relation between common sense and the upper level of philosophy is assured by ‘politics’” (332). Ideology thus reflects ongoing discursive tensions between varying power relations vying for cultural significance. Moreover, the rhetorics I study are embodied in the sense that ideology informs/constrains bodily comportment (LeMaster, “Embracing”); ideology is at once discursive and material. Peter McLaren clarifies, “Ideology is not realized solely through the discursive meditations of the sociocultural order but through the enfleshment of unequal relationships of power; it is manifested intercorporeally through the actualization of the flesh and embedded in incarnate experience” (153). The rhetoric to which I draw our attention is racialized cisheterosexism as embodied ideology. As I exhibit, despite the nuanced differentiations in form (i.e., the unique mechanism by which the genital disclosure occurs), the “successful” gender reveal party performs an iteration of racialized cisheterosexism in a broader ideological sense. Allow me to unpack this a bit further.
The gender reveal party cultural performance is predicated on a Western medicalized gaze. The gaze categorizes bodies based on a phallocentric model of reproductive potential. This phallocentric model further maps a non-trans spatio-temporal projection onto a fetus. Moreover, however, this gaze, and its accompanying phallocentric model, is rooted in Western imperialism and is, thus, a colonial iteration. María Lugones characterizes gender as a “colonial imposition” distinguishing Western (white) men from Western (white) women (“Toward” 748). Conversely, sex was used to (dehumanize and) distinguish non-European subjects (of color) based on reproductive—and in turn labor—potential and, in turn, to assess “worth” under white supremacist capitalism. Said more plainly, white supremacy undergirds binary gender (binaohan; Snorton). The gender reveal party, then, continues a legacy of bodily assessment projecting futurities of normative gender based on racialized cisheterosexist notions of bodily being and becoming; there is nothing new here. Gender reveal parties are an iteration of racialized cisheterosexist ideology with different ends and in a contemporary context.
I use racialized cisheterosexism to name the ideological stronghold undergirding the systemic organization of gender as a racialized hierarchy. In this hierarchy, white non-trans bodies enjoy a culture organized around their bodily wants, needs, desires, and comportment. This reductive framing is necessarily troubled across intersections of difference such that the able-bodied white non-trans subject enjoys far greater access to cultural privileges including the assumption of bodily safety, gainful employment, and/or ready access to sex and desire on one’s own terms. More than privilege, however, this hierarchy enables and encourages the domination of those bodies that fall outside of its normative intersectional grasp. Zeus Leonardo proposes a focus on “discourses of supremacy” that acknowledge white privilege, for instance, “but only as a function of whites’ actions” toward people of color as opposed to a “mysterious accumulation of unearned advantages” (150). Leonardo highlights that “privilege is the daily cognate of structural domination” (148). And in a culture informed by ideologies of racist cisheterosexism, white non-trans subjects are empowered to dominate racialized gender other(s/ness). One manifestation of this domination can be located in the denial of bodily autonomy, and the concomitant foreclosure of transness, in the cultural performance of gender reveal parties.
Thus far, we have explored the ways in which gender reveal parties emerge as a racialized cisheterosexist ideological iteration. What the party determines is less a gender identity and more a normative parameter for gender lived “right” through time and across space and in line with dictates of whiteness. Any resulting divergences emerge through a field of rhetorical (un)intelligibility, and are, as a result, constituted as monstrous. Said differently, this subsection theorizes the becoming of trans monstrosity informing my performance. Conversely, in the next subsection, we consider gender reveal party fails as performative ruptures in the saliency of racist cisheterosexist ideology and explore the potentiality in monstrous becomings.
Gender Reveal Party Fails as Ideological Rupture
In her groundbreaking essay, Susan Stryker challenges disembodied, de-materialized interrogations of gender through “an unstated cisnormative bias” in queer theory (“More Words” 40). In her original essay, Stryker writes: “I want to lay claim to the dark power of my monstrous identity without using it as a weapon against others or being wounded by it myself. I will say this as bluntly as I know how: I am a transsexual, and therefore I am a monster” (“My Words” 240). Stryker’s performative theorization (page and stage) draws our attention to the cultural constitution of transness as monstrous; here, Stryker embraces that monstrous rendering. In more specific terms, Stryker’s theorization emerges in dialogue with the monster in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Stryker draws a parallel between her own subjectivity as a transsexual woman and that of Shelley’s monster. Where the two subjects diverge is in their drive toward humanization.
In Frankenstein, atypical corporeality renders the monster as “monstrous.” As such, ocularcentric standards for human corporeality disallow the monster from being recognized as “human.” In turn, the monster acquires the capacity for speech and, through aural means, challenges ocularcentric criteria for that which defines “human,” regardless of corporeality. Conversely, the trans subject can—presuming said trans subject has ready access to the necessary material and administrative means as well as the desire to—pass cisheteronormative criteria for embodiment and, in turn, be granted “human” status (read: granted cisheteronormative privilege and the capacity to dominate trans subjects who do not pass cisheteronormative criteria). In turn, the trans subject who passes cisheteronormative criteria must use aural means to assert their monstrosity—I am a transsexual, and therefore I am a monster—less they get eclipsed into the fold of cisheteronormativity.
At the same time, however, to presume transness as the sole means by which one is rendered monstrous reveals the classed whiteness undergirding Stryker’s theorization (Roen).3 Indeed, white supremacy interpellates gender in human/non-human terms based on affiliation/alignment with whiteness. Like Calafell, I am concerned with the ways in which “difference, or Otherness, gets constructed as monstrosity” (Monstrosity 4). Though, identity is always intersectional and “intersectionalities inform monstrosities” (Calafell, Monstrosity 5). Highlighting the ways race has always undergirded images of the Frankenstein monster, Elizabeth Young traces the metaphor of the black Frankenstein arguing the metaphor both challenges and reinforces “structures of race and masculinity in U.S. culture” (10). Young writes, “The origins of the Frankenstein monster’s body in the dismemberment of corpses prefigures the violation of black men’s bodies in white America” (178). More to the point, and in a US context in particular, dismembered (black) body parts—as a result of lynching—are what constitute the Frankenstein monster as always and already black in the white imagination. To extend the analysis, Young describes the sequence closing James Whale’s iconic 1931 film adaptation, Frankenstein, where the monster flees from a “crowd of angry townspeople, whose pursuit of him is represented with the visual markers—barking dogs, fiery torches, angry shouts—of a lynch mob” (177). Whale extends the lynch mob imagery in his 1935 Bride of Frankenstein, where the monster’s blackness is doubly marked in juxtaposition to his (white) Bride, and, as a result, is forced to continue fleeing white terror. In short, monstrosity, like human status, is constituted at the intersections of difference.
In a recent essay, I develop Stryker’s work in analytic terms suggesting a co-constitutive process of “becoming monstrous” and its resulting affect “monstrous becomings” (LeMaster, “Transing”). Becoming monstrous highlights and analyzes the material conditions under racist cisheterosexism that give rise to monstrous renderings of difference. In tracing the racist cisheterosexist ideology undergirding gender reveal parties, we perform this becoming monstrous labor in the prior subsection. That is, such tracing illuminates the discursive field in which a failure is made meaningful. In turn, monstrous becomings take serious affective responses to those material conditions. Monstrous becomings see potential in mundane enactments of raging out and against racist cisheterosexist ideology. Quoting Stryker, monstrous becomings explore the “emotional response to conditions in which it becomes imperative to take up, for the sake of one’s own continued survival as a subject” (“My Words” 249). This can include “the affects that enable one to fight back or the affects that sustain a family of choice,” for instance (LeMaster, “Transing” 102). And for our purposes, we explore gender reveal party fails as monstrous becomings that rupture the ideological saliency of racialized cisheterosexism or the ideological means by which transness is rendered monstrous at all.
To reiterate an earlier point, ideology’s saliency is determined by its capacity to order and organize culture(s). Often understood as “common sense,” ideology is pervasive, though not static. Hall adds, “These associations [between ideology and the organization of life lived] are not given for all time. But they are difficult to break because the ideological terrain of this particular social formation [for our purposes, racist cisheterosexism] has been so powerfully structured in that way by its previous history” (41-42). As a result, thinking and imagining outside of racist cisheterosexist ideology is tough. Lugones proposes a decolonial feminism that reads the social world “from the cosmologies that inform it, rather than beginning with a gendered reading of cosmologies informing, constituting perception, motility, embodiment, and relation” (“Methodological” 79). In turn, I seek to read gender reveal party fails as monstrous becomings that fail to complete the discursive circuits animating the historicities informing racist cisheterosexist ideology.4
As a communication scholar, I am moved by Karen Barad’s query: “What are we to make of a communication that has neither sender nor recipient until transmission has already occurred?” (398). I believe Barad’s quantum-theorization of communication query is realized in the performance of gender reveal party fails. Specifically, in the GASP of surprise (sometimes a scream in horror, sometimes misogynist disgust at the sight of pink) in response to a “failure” in the presumed uneventfulness of racialized (non-trans) gender becoming. In this framework, the fail elicits an affective response that communicates ideology as embodied despite lacking an agential interlocutor. Indeed, the fail communicates at the level of embodied ideology such that the actors—party attendees, everyday folks—are responding to a rupture in normative conceptualizations of gender saliency in racist cisheterosexist terms that merely affirms their own sense of (racist cisheterosexist) gender as an unquestioned “fact,” as common sense.
Jack Halberstam theorizes failure as a queer art “activated through the function of negation rather than in the mode of positivity” (110) where “the queer subject stands between heterosexual optimism and its realization” (106). That is, as in failing to appease the optimism driving racialized cisheteronormativity as an uneventful unfolding of sex/gender intelligibility. For Halberstam, queer failure refuses to “acquiesce to dominant logics of power and discipline and [is thus understood] as a form of critique” (88). As a form of critique, queer failure highlights the structural constrains that pre-determine and distinguish winners from losers. And in a cisheteropatriarchal capitalist structure founded on white supremacy, the “successful” gender reveal party succeeds at securing familial and nation stability through the projection of patrilineal inheritance rights and practices. José Esteban Muñoz characterizes queer failure as an embodied and mundane “mode of escape” from the “dominant order and its systemic violence” (172). In this regard, queer failure is constitutive of minoritarian subjectivity. However, and to be clear, queer failure does not highlight the subject as a failure sans culture; rather, queer failure implicates the ways in which culture has “failed to make room for and to affirm non-normative embodiment, identification, and subjectivity” effectively producing the effect of a failing subject who merely fails imposed normative criteria (LeMaster, “Pedagogies” 86). The gender reveal party fail, so understood, refuses racist cisheterosexist interpellation and thus performs an ideological rupture. In this regard, the dis-ease the gender reveal party fail provokes marks a trans monstrous becoming of potentiality that refuses racist cisheterosexist interpellation if but only for a moment.
In my mediated performance, A Trans Monstrous Reflection, a trans monster prepares for a gender reveal party. To accomplish this, the trans monster decorates a box in which they place rainbow-colored balloons. Throughout the performance, the trans monster unpacks Stryker’s theorization of trans monstrosity and, in turn, explores the potential in trans rage. In so doing, the trans monster volleys between setting the gender reveal party up for disaster and enacting rage against a racist and cisheterosexist structure exhibiting both the means by which one becomes monstrous (e.g., through the repetition of gender performance rituals expressed through the preparing of a gender reveal party) and the resulting monstrous becomings that are realized in embodied affective responses to racist cisheterosexist materiality (e.g., destruction of the scene through a failure). As we near the end of the performance, the trans monster secures the box, ensuring the rainbow-colored balloons are enclosed. As the trans monster does this they disclose that they are preparing for the party by designing its failure. Indeed, the trans monster clarifies: “a gender reveal party fail isn’t happenstance. Rather, the fail reflects an intentional energetic force of rage generated by trans monsters everywhere working to unravel the very foundation of an arbitrary and hegemonic compulsory gender performance predicated on racist cisheterosexism.” The film closes with a tight shot on the completed gender reveal box. The shot widens and fades to black.
The box that closes the film is inspired by the gender reveal box featured in a gender reval party fail video uploaded to YouTube by Mojahed Jobran (“Gender Reveal”).5 The couple, who eagerly anticipates pink or blue balloons in Jobran’s video, opens the box only to find rainbow-colored balloons ascending. Someone has pranked them (the trans monster?). And their disappointment reveals the potential in a gender reveal that fails (to easily acquiesce to racialized cisheterosexist ideology). To consider the gender reveal party fail as ideological rupture is to imbue the moment with communicative meaning that works against the common sense ordering racialized cisheterosexism as an uneventful cultural enactment. In the end, the gender reveal party fail is anything but inconsequential. Rather, it holds within it the potential to intervene in the performative sedimentation of racist cisheterosexism. Though, it can be difficult to discern such when we refuse to decenter the saliency of racialized gender normativity. And to this, the trans monster would rather fail at the outset than acquiesce to a cultural order designed to fail its non-normative subjects. With that, I invite you to join me in a performance of trans monstrosity.
- The first iteration of this performance was staged at the Empty Space theatre at Arizona State University and featured in the Encyclopedia Show during the fall semester of 2018. A second iteration of the performance was staged at University of New Mexico as part of the Department of Communication and Journalism’s spring 2019 colloquium series on Queer/Trans Studies. A third and final public iteration of the performance was staged at the 2019 meeting of the National Communication Association as part of a Critical/Cultural Communication Studies performance panel titled Performing Cultural Monstrosity as Embodied Means of Survival.
- Karvunidis manages Bianca’s account. While teasing the implications are outside of the scope of this paper, I think it important to note Karvunidis’s personal Instagram account is set to private while Bianca’s is public.
- Stryker later acknowledges her early monstrous work “inadvertently perpetuated the racist trope of imaging blackness as the unmarked and unacknowledged condition on which the existence of whiteness depends” (“More Words” 42).
- My intent is not to make light of the very violent effects many of these fails have enacted but to draw our attention to the potential in failure as a mark of discursive resistance to racist cisheterosexist ideology. Indeed, it is key to note, for instance, that some of these fails have resulted in environmental destruction (e.g., Dennis Dickey, an off-duty US Border Patrol agent, started a 47,000-acre wildfire; see Farzan) and bodily harm (e.g., broken limbs, getting hit with sports balls, untrained and unregulated detonation of explosives).
- This video (the cardboard box, specifically) served as the inspiration for this trans monstrous reflection on gender reveal party fails as ideological ruptures.
- [from Script] All vocal performances and sound editing by Lore/tta LeMaster. Each character is a morphed variation of LeMaster’s voice. Note on “SUSAN STRYKER”: This vocal performance is not of/by Susan Stryker. Rather, it is a performed excerpt from her essay “My Words to Victor Frankenstein above the Village of Chamounix: Performing Transgender Rage” published in a 1994 issue of the journal GLQ: A Journal in Lesbian and Gay Studies.
- [from Script] Opening sequence soundtrack credit: Tin Bowls from Outer Space by Daniel Birch, licensed under Creative Commons: By AttributionNonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0).
- [from Script] Scissor cutting sound effect credit: Cutting with Scissors by Rodzuz, licensed under Creative Commons: CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0) Public Domain Dedication. This sound effect is used intermittently throughout the film.
- [from Script] Primary soundtrack incorporates elements from: Non-linear by Simon Mathewson, licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States (CC BY-NCSA 3.0 US); Dizhetal by Ṩtrannye Ẏagodi, licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 US); and Resound by Julie Licata, licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-SA 3.0).
- [from Script] Added suspenseful soundscape credit: The Bridge (Horror I) by David Hilowitz, licensed under Creative Commons: By AttributionNonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0).
- [from Script] Choir soundscape elements credit: Machinamentum Interruptus by Gavin Gamboa, licensed under Creative Commons: By AttributionNonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 US).
- [from Script] Gamboa, Machinamentum Interruptus.
- [from Script] Closing sequence soundtrack credit: Birch, Tin Bowls from Outer Space.
Appendix: Detailed Script
- Barad, Karen. “Transmaterialities: Trans*/Matter/Realities and Queer Political Imaginings.” GLQ, vol. 21, no. 2-3, 2015, pp. 387-422.
- binaohan, b. decolonizing trans/gender 101. Biyuti Publishing, 2014.
- Calafell, Bernadette Marie. Monstrosity, Performance, and Race in Contemporary Culture. Peter Lang, 2015.
- —. “Performance: Keeping Rhetoric Honest.” Text and Performance Quarterly, vol. 34, no. 1, 2014, pp. 115-117.
- Conquergood, Dwight. “Performance Studies: Interventions and Radical Research.” The Drama Review, vol. 46, no. 2, 2002, pp. 145-156.
- Farzan, Antonia Noori. “A Border Patrol Agent threw a Gender-reveal Party. He Ended up Starting a 47,000-acre Wildfire.” The Washington Post, 1 Oct. 2018. Accessed 1 Aug. 2019.
- Gramsci, Antonio. The Gramsci Reader: Selected Writings 1916-1935, edited by David Forgacs, New York University Press, 2000.
- Halberstam, Jack. The Queer Art of Failure. Duke University Press, 2011.
- Hall, Stuart. “The Problem of Ideology: Marxism without Guarantees.” Journal of Communication Inquiry, vol. 10, no. 2, 1986, pp. 28-44.
- Jobran, Mojahed. “Gender Reveal Party Fail.” YouTube, uploaded by Mojahed Jobran, 13 Nov. 2016.
- LeMaster, Lore/tta. “Embracing Failure: Improvisational Performance as Critical Intercultural Praxis.” Liminalities, vol. 14, no. 4, 2018. Accessed 20 Jan. 2020.
- —. “Pedagogies of Failure: Queer Communication Pedagogy as Anti-Normative.” Critical Intercultural Communication Pedagogy, edited by Ahmet Atay and Satoshi Toyosaki, Lexington Press, 2018, pp. 81-96.
- —. “Transing Dystopia: Constituting Trans Monstrosity, Performing Trans Rage in Torrey Peters’ Infect Your Friends and Loved Ones.” The Popular Culture Studies Journal, vol. 6, no. 2-3, 2018, pp. 96-117.
- Leonardo, Zeus. “The Color of Supremacy: Beyond the Discourse of ‘White Privilege.’” Educational Philosophy and Theory, vol. 36, no. 2, 2004, pp. 137-152.
- Lugones, María. “Methodological Notes toward a Decolonial Feminism.” Decolonizing Epistemologies: Latina/o Theology and Philosophy, edited by Ada Mara Isasi-Daz and Eduardo Mendieta, Fordham, 2011, pp. 68-86.
- —.“Toward a Decolonial Feminism.” Hypatia, vol. 25, no. 4, 2010, pp. 742-759.
- McLaren, Peter. “Schooling the Postmodern Body: Critical Pedagogy and the Politics of Enfleshment.” Postmodernism, Feminism, and Cultural Politics, edited by Henry A. Giroux, The State University of New York Press, 1991, pp. 144-173.
- Muñoz, José Esteban, Cruising Utopia: The Then and There of Queer Futurity. New York University Press, 2009.
- Ridolfo, Jim and Dànielle Nicole DeVoss. “Composing for Recomposition: Rhetorical Velocity and Delivery.” Kairos, vol. 13, no. 2, 2009. Accessed 20 Jan 2020.
- Roen, Katrina. “Transgender Theory and Embodiment: The Risk of Racial Marginalisation.” Journal of Gender Studies, vol. 10, no. 3, 2001, pp. 253-263.
- Snorton, C. Riley. Black on Both Sides: A Racial History of Trans Identity. University of Minnesota Press, 2017.
- Stryker, Susan. “More Words about ‘My Words to Victor Frankenstein.’” GLQ, vol. 25, no. 1, 2019, pp. 39-44.
- —. “My Words to Victor Frankenstein above the Village of Chamounix: Performing Transgender Rage.” GLQ, vol. 1, no. 3, 1994, pp. 237-254.
- Young, Elizabeth. Black Frankenstein: The Making of an American Metaphor. New York University Press, 2008.