Leslie Feinberg (1949-2012)
Identifying as an anti-racist white, working-class, secular Jewish, transgender, lesbian, female, revolutionary communist, today Leslie Feinberg was an active advocate and prolific author through all her/hir life.
Writing two novels and four books of essays on revolution and identity, Feinberg’s most famous work, the novel Stone Butch Blues, is excerpted below. Feinberg writes on the inside cover of the twentieth anniversary edition:
I want to let you know that Stone Butch Blues is an anti-oppression/s novel.
As a result, it contains scenes of rape and other violence.
None of this violence is gratuitous or salacious.
Feinberg reportedly used a variety of pronouns—he/him, she/her, and ze/hir—and it is my decision to refer to Leslie by what her/hir longtime partner Minnie Bruce Pratt wrote on her/hir website:
“In a statement at the end of hir life, Leslie said zie/she had “never been in search of a common umbrella identity, or even an umbrella term, that brings together people of oppressed sexes, gender expressions, and sexualities” and added that she/zie believed in the right of self-determination for oppressed individuals, communities, groups, and nations.
Leslie preferred to use the pronouns she/zie and her/hir for hirself, 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.””