Stone Butch Blues By Feinberg Analysis

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Unity is only possible when we celebrate our differences. Societal labels concerning gender and sex segregate even those who face similar discrimination. Stone Butch Blues, written by activist Leslie Feinberg, tells of Jess Goldberg who is characterized by the 1960 era by a powerful simple question: “what are you?” (Feinberg 12) Nobody, not even herself, has a clear answer. Jess is a butch female to her friends, but either a disgraceful female or respected male to coworkers and family. She is a calming force to those close to her while a disruption to society because of her sexuality and gender. In the hands of society, her identity is fluid, regardless of her strong masculine features and admiration for women. Although Jess’s circle of drag…show more content…
Before Jess passed as Jesse, she considers the implication of identifying as a he/she in her dreams. “I didn’t feel like a woman or a man, and I liked how I was different” (Feinberg 153). Her subconscious reveals her discomfort to conforming to a binary label; however, she is not given a chance to explore its possibility between the assaults and rapes from police and strangers who aggressively push for the binary. After passing with male hormones, Jess confronts the reality of a he/she identity and its position in the lesbian revolution and binary world. Her choice to become an activist demonstrates her attempt for inclusion outside of the binary. “But couldn’t we get together and try to figure it out? […] Isn’t there a way we could help fight each other’s battle so that we’re not always alone?” (Feinberg 324) In her speech at the gay demonstration, she rallies for unity with the pronoun “we” as an attempt to include identifications from gay to drag queen and lesbian to butch and femme. By including this hopeful ending, Feinberg is not discrediting Jess’s experiences but using her memories as a tool to bond with those who have dealt with similar abuse. Amid the individual struggles of their past, there is hope to unify against damaging classifications and humane rights. Stone Butch Blues is a haunting butch narrative with horrific abuse from law enforcement, medicine, and society. Feinberg narrates Jess as a life full of struggle, but ends with a comment about change. By illustrating Jess’s common day tortures of living with a restrictive binary culture, Feinberg advocates for unity and change amid societal
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