Stone Butch Blues Sociology

1567 Words7 Pages

Community plays a very large role in Leslie Feinberg’s “Stone Butch Blues”. Jess, the main character of the novel struggles with her gender identity throughout the novel, trying to fit societal norms as well as the norms set within the butch/femme community. She also struggles with her sexuality, and finds both acceptance and denial within the gay community. Jess deals with hatred and pain from others throughout the novel. From the beginning she does not fit other people's ideal of what a girl should look like, and often faces the dreaded question “‘...’Are you a boy or a girl?’” (Stone Butch Blues, Feinberg p.10). In this essay I will be discussing the both negative and positive effects of the butch/femme community on the formation and maintenance …show more content…

As a child she is often asked what gender she is, because, before she hits puberty, she does not fit conventional standards. She is heavily bullied due to her appearance, and at one point is ambushed by boys and is stripped of her pants and her underwear. She finds that "The shame of being half-naked before them-the important half-took all the steam out of me." (Feinberg, p.12) Even as a young child, Jess realises the importance of her gender identity. In the end though, it is she who is punished, not the boys, by her parents. Jess recalls that "They were really angry when they saw me I never understood why. My father spanked me over and over again until my mother restrained his arm with a whisper and her hand." (Feinberg p.13) She does not understand why she is punished for something she has no control over. Jess does not find acceptance within her family. She is caught by her parents dressing up in her father's clothing, and instead of simply being reprimanded she is taken to the hospital where she is institutionalized due to her parents fear of accepting who she is. It isn’t until that Jess discovers Tifika’s, a gay bar in Niagara Falls, that she begins to feel acceptance. There is other people like her she finds. She sees …show more content…

Going by Jesse she begins a short relationship with a heterosexual woman and finds that it is dificult to keep up a ruse with a woman whom she knows would not accept her if she was to find out the truth. Though she appears as a man, and acts like one as well, she realises it is not who she really is. Unlike others, she did not want to transition for being a man trapped in a womans body but a lost person. Jess struggles with this idea that she doesn’t know who she is any more. Jess asks herself “But who was I now-woman or man? I fought long and hard to be included as a woman amoung woman, but I had always felt so excluded by my differences. I hadn;t just believed passing would hide me. I hoped it would allow the part of myself that didn’t seem like a woman. I didn’t get to explore being a he-she, though. I simply became a he- a man without a past.” (Feinberg

Open Document