Leslie Feinberg: Stone Butch Blues (Paperback, 2004, Alyson Publications) 4 stars

Stone Butch Blues is a historical fiction novel written by Leslie Feinberg about life as …

love, community, and the terrors of queer hatred

5 stars

i knew long before i read this that it would be important to me.

from a historical perspective, it shines a light on the realities of being a lesbian in the 60s and 70s. of being transmasculine and searching for terminology and self-understanding in a culture that didn't even marginally recognize gender outside the binary. or sexuality outside the hetero. it shines a light on surviving abusive parents. on finding community without the internet. of navigating complex queer subcultures. and hatred in its many forms, up to and including bar raids, arrests, and unspeakable abuses by cops.

it also illuminates and speaks to the beauty of love and friendship and comradeship within those queer communities. the intricacies in how butches and femmes and transfemmes interacted. i was able to see myself in the warmth and emotionality and fierce bravery in the face of fear and violence expressed by the femmes and that will stick with me forever.

the narrative also details the struggles of unions through economic upturns and downturns. the constant fight for unity against unsafe work conditions and dangerously low pay.

stone butch blues is a brilliant, intense work of art that carries the weight of history in its pages. it's important reading for anyone interested in queer history, queer present, and queer futures.