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Baltimore book review of Stone Butch Blues by Leslie Feinberg

Stone Butch Blues Cover
Stone Butch Blues Cover

Stone Butch Blues by Leslie Feinberg


A lot of people misunderstand the inner turmoil and outer struggles that most of the LBGTQ community goes through. Yeah sure, they think of how difficult it must be to not be able to embrace who they truly are; how other people must judge them. But if we get right down to it, we really don't know what its like to feel uncomfortable with our entire being. To feel wrong in our own skin. Yes, we might wish we had a smaller nose, skinnier thighs, fuller lips, etc... But to feel as though you were born in the wrong gender, the wrong body, is an altogether different animal.

Not all, but many butch women struggle with this turmoil. (I am not intentionally leaving out the effeminate gay males either, but this book deals directly with the butch female perspective) Every transgender struggles with this. So you were born with the parts that make you a male or female but your mind, spirit, and heart doesn't connect with it. Think of it like this. What if one day you woke up and you were the opposite sex. Sure, for the first few days it might be fun to try out another body, but imagine it never going away, your stuck in this new body for life. A typical woman would not enjoy being a man for long. They wouldn't like the extra hair, having to shave their face, not putting on make up, or wearing dresses and jewelry. They don't particularly like the male way of doing things. Usually so rough and testosterone filled. Not their cup of tea, and they would probably do whatever they could to try and change back into a female.

This is a struggle the trans community deals with every day. What if you didn't completely hate your body but you didn't like all the expectations that you have to live up to because you are one gender or another. This is the struggle butch women and effeminate males live with every day. It's not easy, it's not something that people should just close their eyes to.

This book obviously evokes a lot of strong emotions. It's about a women named Jess Goldberg. It follows her through her life, showing you the inner and outer struggles she goes through. It deals with some brutal issues: rape, discrimination, transgender politics, police brutality, trying to find self acceptance, and worst of all love.

What is good about the book is the shift of perspective you might get on this particular issue. Reading this book will give you a technicolor vision to a subject that maybe you had only seen in monochromatic tones. Sorry for the ambiguousness of that statement but it's really the only way to describe it.

What is not so great about the book is that it is so brutal, that you almost cannot believe it. You can believe that a lot of the things that happened to Jess must have happened to a great many people back in the day, (and probably still going on quite a bit, present day) but the amount of horrid things that happened to her has to have been over embellished a bit. It is hard to believe there are that many cruel and despicable people in the world.

Who should read this book? Everyone 18 and up. Unfortunately it is extremely hard to get ahold of a copy. If you really want to get a more thorough understanding of what life is/was like for our beautiful LGBTQ people, then you cannot afford to miss this one.