I fell in love with Leslie because of hir voice, hir vision, and hir revolutionary optimism.
My adult life has been an exhilarating struggle to understand how to resist, militantly, the oppressive categories that the ruling status quo places on us, and how to live, triumphantly, the identities and complexities that we feel to be true for ourselves. As my life and Leslie’s flowed together, I gained immeasurably in my understanding of that struggle—in my understanding of how we live all our sexualities, sex identities, and gender expressions.
The stories in my book S/HE are about these complexities in our daily life—and many of them are also love tributes to Leslie. I could write a book about how much I love hir—and I have!" --Minnie Bruce Pratt (http://www.mbpratt.org/mylove.html)
Feinberg's 1993 first novel, Stone Butch Blues, won the Lambda Literary Award and the 1994 American Library Association Gay & Lesbian Book Award. While there are parallels to Feinberg's experiences as a working-class dyke, the work is not an autobiography.
Leslie Feinberg was a transgender lesbian and communist activist, speaker, and author. Feinberg's first novel Stone Butch Blues is widely considered a groundbreaking work. Feinberg's partner is the prominent lesbian poet-activist Minnie Bruce Pratt. Pratt is an U.S. educator, activist, and award-winning poet, essayist, and theorist. "In 1992 I met Leslie at hir slideshow/lecture in Washington, D.C. I fell in love with Leslie because of hir voice, hir vision, and hir revolutionary optimism."
Minnie Bruce Pratt and Leslie Feinberg -Jersey City, N.J, 1993/95, by Robert Giard
American photographer Robert Giard is renowned for his portraits of American poets and writers; his particular focus was on gay and lesbian writers. Some of his photographs of the American gay and lesbian literary community appear in his groundbreaking book Particular Voices: Portraits of Gay and Lesbian Writers, published by MIT Press in 1997. Giard’s stated mission was to define the literary history and cultural identity of gays and lesbians for the mainstream of American society, which perceived them as disparate, marginal individuals possessing neither. In all, he photographed more than 600 writers. (http://beinecke.library.yale.edu/digitallibrary/giard.html)Feinberg authored two nonfiction books, Trans Liberation: Beyond Pink or Blue and Transgender Warriors: Making History; the novel Drag King Dreams; and Rainbow Solidarity in Defense of Cuba - a compilation of 25 journalistic articles.
Feinberg was a member of the Workers World Party and a managing editor of Workers World newspaper.
Feinberg's writings on LGBT history, "Lavender & Red," frequently appeared in the Workers World newspaper. Feinberg was awarded an honorary doctorate from Starr King School for the Ministry for transgender and social justice work.
In the mid and late 1990s Feinberg was involved in Camp Trans.
Feinberg described herself as "an anti-racist white, working-class, secular Jewish, transgender, lesbian, female, revolutionary communist." Feinberg stated in a 2006 interview that her preferred pronouns varied depending on context:
For me, pronouns are always placed within context. I am female-bodied, I am a butch lesbian, a transgender lesbian - referring to me as "she/her" is appropriate, particularly in a non-trans setting in which referring to me as "he" would appear to resolve the social contradiction between my birth sex and gender expression and render my transgender expression invisible. I like the gender neutral pronoun "ze/hir" because it makes it impossible to hold on to gender/sex/sexuality assumptions about a person you're about to meet or you've just met. And in an all trans setting, referring to me as "he/him" honors my gender expression in the same way that referring to my sister drag queens as "she/her" does. - Leslie Feinberg, 2006Feinberg’s widow, Minnie Bruce Pratt, wrote in her statement regarding Feinberg’s death that Feinberg did not really care which pronouns a person used to address her: “She preferred to use the pronouns she/zie and her/hir for herself, but also said: ‘I care which pronoun is used, but people have been respectful to me with the wrong pronoun and disrespectful with the right one. It matters whether someone is using the pronoun as a bigot, or if they are trying to demonstrate respect.’" Feinberg's last words were reported to be, “Hasten the revolution! Remember me as a revolutionary communist.”
Feinberg's widow Minnie Bruce Pratt is a professor at Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York. Feinberg and Pratt married in New York and Massachusetts in 2011.
Feinberg died on November 15, 2014, of complications due to tick-borne infections, including chronic Lyme disease, which she suffered from since the 1970s.
I was pretty young when I read Stone Butch Blues by Leslie Feinberg, maybe 20, and it was one of the first books I read that really challenged the way I thought about gender and identity. The novel is a book about just getting through life, too, about facing challenges and fighting to make the world a better place. --Kate McMurray
Stone Butch Blues by Leslie Feinberg is arrestingly plainspoken, deeply felt, passionate, heartbreaking, and yet profoundly consoling and hopeful. This book is also proof that not every novel now has to come out of a workshop or from someone with an MFA in Creative Writing. One shudders to think how a workshop might have sapped Feinberg's vision and passion. But we need not worry: s/he had the good sense to avoid it, and hir novel is better for it. --David PrattMinnie Bruce Pratt (b. September 12, 1946 in Selma, Alabama) is an U.S. educator, activist, and award-winning poet, essayist, and theorist.
Pratt was born in Selma, Alabama, grew up in Centreville, Alabama and graduated with an honors B.A. from the University of Alabama (1968) and a Ph.D. in English literature from the University of North Carolina (1979).
She is a Professor of Writing and Women’s Studies at Syracuse University where she was invited to help develop the university’s first Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender Study Program.
She emerged out of the women’s liberation movement in the 1970s and 1980s and has written extensively about race, class, gender and sexual theory. Pratt, along with lesbian writers Chrystos and Audre Lorde, received a Lillian Hellman-Dashiell Hammett award from the Fund for Free Expression to writers "who have been victimized by political persecution." Pratt, Chrystos and Lorde were chosen because their experience as "a target of right-wing and fundamentalist forces during the recent attacks on the National Endowment for the Arts."
Her political affiliations include the International Action Center, the National Women's Fightback Network, and the National Writers Union. She is a contributing editor to Workers World newspaper.
Pratt's partner is author and activist Leslie Feinberg.
Minnie Bruce Pratt, 1991, by Robert Giard (http://beinecke.library.yale.edu/dl_crosscollex/brbldl_getrec.asp?fld=img&id=1123988)
American photographer Robert Giard is renowned for his portraits of American poets and writers; his particular focus was on gay and lesbian writers. Some of his photographs of the American gay and lesbian literary community appear in his groundbreaking book Particular Voices: Portraits of Gay and Lesbian Writers, published by MIT Press in 1997. Giard’s stated mission was to define the literary history and cultural identity of gays and lesbians for the mainstream of American society, which perceived them as disparate, marginal individuals possessing neither. In all, he photographed more than 600 writers. (http://beinecke.library.yale.edu/digitallibrary/giard.html)
Stone Butch Blues: A Novel by Leslie Feinberg
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Alyson Books (April 1, 2004)
Amazon: Stone Butch Blues: A Novel
Published in 1993, this brave, original novel is considered to be the finest account ever written of the complexities of a transgendered existence.
Woman or man? That’s the question that rages like a storm around Jess Goldberg, clouding her life and her identity. Growing up differently gendered in a blue--collar town in the 1950’s, coming out as a butch in the bars and factories of the prefeminist ’60s, deciding to pass as a man in order to survive when she is left without work or a community in the early ’70s. This powerful, provocative and deeply moving novel sees Jess coming full circle, she learns to accept the complexities of being a transgendered person in a world demanding simple explanations: a he-she emerging whole, weathering the turbulence.
Leslie Feinberg is also the author of Trans Liberation, Trans Gender Warriors and Transgender Liberation, and is a noted activist and speaker on transgender issues.
S/He by Minnie Bruce Pratt
Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: Alyson Books (March 1, 2005)
This brave memoir chronicles Pratt’s struggle to overcome the repressive traditions of Southern womanhood and live her life honestly. It chronicles her youth, her marriage, her eventual decision to come out as a lesbian, and her life with transgendered activist and author Leslie Feinberg.
Minnie Bruce Pratt is the author of We Say We Love Each Other, Rebellion, Crime Against Nature, Walking Back Up Depot Street, and The Dirt We Ate.
More Particular Voices at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Ramblings/Particular Voices
More Real Life Romances at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Ramblings/Real Life Romance
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