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I've read tens, if not a hundred, of thousands of books. But there has only been one author that I could truly say made my story come alive. And that is Leslie Feinberg and hir book Stone Butch Blues

"I didn't want to be different. I longed to be everything grownups wanted, so they would love me. I followed all their rules, tried my best to please. But there was something about me that made them knit their eyebrows and frown. No one ever offered a name for what was wrong with me. That's what made me afraid it was really bad. I only came to recognize its melody through this constant refrain: 'Is that a boy or a girl?'"
leslie feinberg rallys the troops

Leslie Fienberg is an author, labor activist, historian, and gender activist. I'm amazed at the list of accomplishments considering the parallels to my own life especially considering it was Feinberg's groundbreaking that made my own life easier to grasp.

Currently Feinberg is struggling with the symptoms of Lyme Disease. And is working on another text based on the challenges in dealing with a condition that medical professionals are just now starting to recognize.

Political organizer, grassroots historian, and writer Leslie Feinberg is a pioneer of transgender activism and culture. Long a part of the struggle for queer liberation, Feinberg openly identifies as transgendered and has been outspoken about "hir" experiences living outside of the gender binary.

Feinberg is perhaps best known as the author of the widely acclaimed novel Stone Butch Blues (Firebrand Books, 1993). In response to the common assumption that the novel is semi-autobiographical, ze has stated that the book is a work of fiction. Ze has gone on to explain that ze chose to write from a first-person point of view in light of the limitations using third-person pronouns would have imposed upon the narrative....

...In addition to Stone Butch Blues, Feinberg has published two nonfiction books: Transgender Warriors: Making History from Joan of Arc to RuPaul (Beacon Press, 1996), which won a Firecracker Alternative Book Award for Nonfiction in 1996, and Trans Liberation: Beyond Pink or Blue (Beacon, 1998).

Here is Feinberg being arrested in 2012:

Leslie Feinberg arrested

Leslie Feinberg, celebrated transgender author and inspiration to thousands of young queer individuals including myself, was arrested June 4 after protesting the prison sentence handed down to Chrishuan "CeCe" McDonald, a transgender woman of color. Feinberg marched with hundreds of other protesters but was the only person detained by the police. Zhe (Feinberg prefers the pronouns "zhe" and "hir" to "he," "she," "him," and "her") is being held on charges of property damage.

Supporters of McDonald, including Minneapolis City Council Member Cam Gordon, accuse the justice system of prejudice based on gender identity, despite the transgender woman's guilty plea. McDonald evidently pulled out a pair of scissors and defended herself against a man sporting a Swastika and spewing racial and gendered slurs. The man died in hospital due to a wound in his chest.

Originally posted to Remembering LGBT History on Thu Oct 17, 2013 at 09:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by TransAction, History for Kossacks, and Invisible People.

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