An Open Letter to The Antioch Review

Dear Antioch Review,

In your May 5th statement regarding the essay, “The Sacred Androgen: The Transgender Debate” by Daniel Harris, you celebrate an admittedly “deeply offensive” essay for “stirring debate.” In doing so, you note that a “key Antiochian value” is to offer a forum for free expression, to encourage critical thought and dialogue. I could not agree with you more that free speech and support for LGBTQ human and civil rights are compatible.

Please consider, then, a proposal for an issue of the Antioch Review seeking to complicate the single-sided “debate” offered in your Winter 2016 issue. I am proposing a follow-up issue to be published in Winter 2017. That issue will feature the voices of trans folks and allies representing a spectrum of identities and a breadth of responses.

As you’ve been recently recognized (and perhaps funded) by the Ohio Arts Council and the Columbia School of Journalism, I’m taking you at your word, and I’m optimistic that you’ll welcome the opportunity to be true to your self-proclaimed appreciation of debate as well as to engage with members of the literary and trans communities who may not have paid attention to your magazine before.

To be clear, I propose a guest-edited issue to run approximately one year from now (Winter 2017). If the proposal is accepted, I and any other editors serving as an editorial collective will stand behind the published work, ensuring that it adheres to your guidelines in both vitality and “best of words.” We will work closely with you to ensure the high quality and literary merit of all published submissions. Such an issue will not be a vile attack, but rather an honest response, an offering of ideas that I am positive will complicate the conversation around trans choices and experiences.
Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns. I invite further discussion, and I look forward to your response.


Quince Mountain
editor, Killing the Buddha
BA, Philosophy (Medical Ethics), University of WI-Madison

MFA, Nonfiction Writing, University of Iowa

cc: Ohio Arts Council
cc: Antioch College
cc: Columbia School of Journalism


It has come to our attention that an article published in the Winter 2016 issue of the Antioch Review is stirring debate in our campus and alumni communities and within the broader transgender community. Daniel Harris’ views are his own and, based on the response of some readers, are deeply offensive to many transgender individuals and supporters. Antioch College does not condone or always agree with the ideas and viewpoints expressed in the Review. We do, however, have confidence in the Review’s editor and editorial process, and support a key Antiochian value—the free expression of ideas and opinions, even when they run counter to our own. As a college, we encourage our students, faculty, and the broader community to engage in critical thought and dialogue around important issues, including this one. We believe commitments to the ideals of free expression and support for LGBTQ human and civil rights are not incompatible.

KtB editor Quince Mountain lives in the Great Northwoods and is currently at work on a chronicle of belated manhood and unlikely self-help. You can hear about his sexploits as a teenage cowboy for Christ here.