Leslie Feinberg

American transgender activist and author (1949-2014)

Leslie Feinberg (September 1, 1949 – November 15, 2014) was an American butch lesbian, transgender activist, communist and author.


Transgender WarriorsEdit

  • “I saw a devilish thing,” Spanish colonialist Alvar Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca wrote in the sixteenth century: “Sinful, heinous, perverted, nefarious, abominable, unnatural, disgusting, lewd" - the language used by the colonizers to describe the acceptance of sex/gender diversity, and of same-sex love most accurately described the viewer, not the viewed. And these sensational reports about Two-Spirit people were used to further "justify" genocide, the theft of Native land and resources, and destruction of their cultures and religions. (p. 22)
  • What was responsible for the imposition of the present-day rigid sex/gender system in North America? It is not correct to simply blame patriarchy, Chrystos stressed to me. "The real word is 'colonization' and what it has done to the world. Patriarchy is a tool of colonization and exploitation of people and their lands."

Stone Butch BluesEdit

Leslie Feinberg, Stone Butch Blues, 20th Anniversary Author Edition, 2014 [digital edition]

  • Dear Theresa, I’m lying on my bed tonight missing you, my eyes all swollen, hot tears running down my face. There's a fierce summer lightning storm raging outside. Tonight I walked down streets looking for you in every woman’s face, as I have each night of this lonely exile. I’m afraid I’ll never see your laughing, teasing eyes again.
    • p. 1
  • I was looking at her while she was talking, thinking to myself that I’m a stranger in this woman’s eyes. She’s looking at me but she doesn't see me. Then she finally said how she hates this society for what it’s done to “women like me” who hate themselves so much they have to look and act like men. I felt myself getting flushed and my face twitched a little and I started telling her, all cool and calm, about how women like me existed since the dawn of time, before there was oppression, and how those societies respected them, and she got her very interested expression on — and besides it was time to leave.
    • p. 1
  • I was real proud that in all those years I never hit another butch woman. See, I loved them too, and I understood their pain and their shame because I was so much like them. I loved the lines etched in their faces and hands and the curves of their work-weary shoulders. Sometimes I looked in the mirror and wondered what I would look like when I was their age. Now I know! In their own way, they loved me too. They protected me because they knew I wasn’t a “Saturday-night butch.” The weekend butches were scared of me because I was a stone he-she. If only they had known how powerless I really felt inside! But the older butches, they knew the whole road that lay ahead of me and they wished I didn’t have to go down it because it hurt so much. When I came into the bar in drag, kind of hunched over, they told me, “Be proud of what you are,” and then they adjusted my tie sort of like you did. I was like them; they knew I didn’t have a choice. So I never fought them with my fists. We clapped each other on the back in the bars and watched each other’s backs at the factory.
    • pp. 2-3
  • [at the gay bar] If the music stopped and it was the cops at the door, someone plugged the music back in and we switched dance partners. Us in our suits and ties paired off with our drag queen sisters in their dresses and pumps. Hard to remember that it was illegal then for two women or two men to sway to music together. When the music ended, the butches bowed, our femme partners curtsied, and we returned to our seats, our lovers, and our drinks to await our fates.
    • p. 3
  • In that one moment I knew you really did understand how I felt in life. Choking on anger, feeling so powerless, unable to protect myself or those I loved most, yet fighting back again and again, unwilling to give up. I didn’t have the words to tell you this then. I just said, “It’ll be OK, it’ll be alright.”
    • p. 5

External linksEdit

  Encyclopedic article on Leslie Feinberg on Wikipedia