Help Gender Icon Kate Bornstein Kick Cancer!

The below is from Kate’s friend Laura, who’s set up Kate Bornstein’s Campaign.

Kate Bornstein is an icon of gender theory, an advocate who fights against suicide, a fabulous writer, and basically one of the most notable people on the planet. Her friends and fans are pitching in to support her in getting the cancer treatments (and money to cover associated expenses) she needs. Please help if you can! — Dr. Carol Queen

Kate Bornstein has cancer. The good news, direct from the team of skilled doctors on her case, is that the cancer is curable. However, the treatment plan that gives Kate the best chance of beating cancer is incredibly expensive. Kate has spent the past thirty years helping the rest of us Stay Alive — now it’s our turn to give back.  Let’s HELP KATE BORNSTEIN BEAT CANCER AND STAY ALIVE!

This August, Kate was diagnosed with lung cancer. She underwent surgery, after which extensive testing led her doctors to believe that the cancer was gone. However, in February, Kate’s doctors discovered that this was not, in fact, the case. The cancer was back. Since receiving this news, Kate has seen numerous talented physicians and other medical professionals. The consensus is that Kate’s cancer IS CURABLE. However, Kate’s treatment plan is more complicated than most because she has suffered from another kind of cancer — CLL, or Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia — for over fifteen years. Kate will undergo chemotherapy and radiation treatment. She will eat according to strict nutritional diet plan and she will take a large number of supplements that will strengthen her body’s ability to handle the chemo and radiation.

This is the treatment plan is Kate’s best— and only— chance at survival. However, it is also exceptionally expensive. While Kate does have health insurance, she must pay the very high deductible  make high monthly insurance payments, and make co-payments for doctor visits and prescriptions. Also, Kate has to travel to the hospitals that are best suited to administer her unique treatment plan. Right now, this means going to Chicago five times over the next two months for chemotherapy. In the coming months, she may also have to travel to San Diego and Texas for additional treatment. Luckily, Kate will undergo radiation therapy in New York City, where she lives, but because of her weak immune system, she will have to take cabs to and from the hospital five days per week for at least two months. Additionally, insurance does not cover the high cost of the supplements that her doctor insists are an integral part of her treatment plan.

Kate Bornstein’s Campaign

During the course of her treatment, Kate’s immune system will be seriously compromised, she will be exhausted, and she will experience periods of extreme nausea. As a result, her doctors have insisted that Kate take a hiatus from work-related travel, speaking engagements, performances, and even writing. For the next eight to ten months, Kate will be undergoing treatment and recovering from cancer, so she will not be able to work. This means that Kate will have no way to pay for rent, utilities, food, pet care, or any other normal expense. So, not only does Kate have to worry about paying her medical bills, she also has to worry about paying her basic living expenses.

This is where we come in. Kate’s work — her books, lectures, performances, apps, and online presence — has helped countless people choose life instead of suicide. Kate’s efforts have literally saved thousands of lives.  Now, it’s time for all of us to save the life of just one person: Kate Bornstein. Through our donations, each of us has the power to give Kate our thanks, to be there for her in this difficult time, and to help her save her life.

Please join me in donating whatever you can to help Kate beat cancer and STAY ALIVE. — Laura Vogel

Kate Bornstein’s Campaign

[This part was posted a day after the campaign was launched]


One day. $43,891. 1,048 people.

Kate, Barbara, and I are so incredibly thankful and humbled by this incredible support. People have donated, spread the word, and offered tangible help. We are all blown away by how fast this sum has grown, and by how many people have stepped up to stand by Kate’s side as she goes through this difficult process of healing.

People have been asking me why I organized this campaign with Barbara, so I wanted to answer that question. Kate, or Auntie Kate as so many of us affectionately call her, has helped so many people surmount the trappings of social pressure, bullying, and oppression that so often lead to suicide. Kate has helped thousands of people choose to “stay alive,” as she puts it. So, when she told me that she wouldn’t be able to follow the treatment plan that her doctors said was her best — and only — hope for beating cancer, it broke my heart. I was sad, confused, and outraged. And then I remembered: we can fix this problem; we can make Kate’s treatment plan financially possible.

We are a strong community of powerful people who can choose to make something happen. I knew that if we gave our community the opportunity to choose to help Kate, who has helped so many of us, we would make that choice thousands of times over.

And we have.

We are just over one day into this campaign and we have already raised almost 50% of our goal. We can do this. We can Help Kate Stay Alive.

Thank you for joining me in supporting Kate during this difficult time of healing. I feel lucky to be a part of this fundraising effort, and even luckier to have all 1,048 of you standing with me towards this goal.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

And please, keep sharing the link to this project: Kate Bornstein’s Campaign

Dr. Carol Queen

Carol Queen has a PhD in sexology; she calls herself a "cultural sexologist" because her earlier academic degree is in sociology: while she addresses individual issues and couple's sexual concerns, her overarching interest is in cultural issues (gender, shame, access to education, etc.). Queen has worked at Good Vibrations, the woman-founded sexuality company based in San Francisco that turned 35 years old in 2012, since 1990. Her current position is Staff Sexologist and Good Vibrations Historian; her roles include representing the company to the press and the public; overseeing educational programming for staff and others; and scripting/hosting a line of sex education videos, the Pleasure-Ed series, for GV’s sister company Good Releasing. She also curates the company's Antique Vibrator Museum. She is also the founding director of the Center for Sex & Culture, a non-profit sex ed and arts center San Francisco, and is a frequent lecturer at colleges, universities, and community-based organizations. Her dozen books include a Lambda Literary Award winner, PoMoSexuals, and Real Live Nude Girl: Chronicles of Sex-Positive Culture, which are used as texts in some college classes. She blogs at the Good Vibes Magazine and at SFGate's City Brights bloggers page and contributes to the Boston Dig. For more about her at

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