Stone Butch Blues
Front cover of 2004 Alyson Books paperback edition
|Media type||Print (hardcover and paperback)|
|LC Class||PS3556.E427 S7 1993|
Stone Butch Blues is a novel written by transgender activist Leslie Feinberg. Jess Goldberg, the main character, is aware from a young age that she is different from other girls. She hates wearing dresses, and often received the question - "Are you a boy or a girl?" - from strangers.
The contempt of her parents and the hatred of most of her classmates became so oppressive that she ran away from home shortly before her sixteenth birthday. She finds a new family in the coworkers in the factories where she works, and the butches and femmes (lesbians who behave in traditionally feminine ways) who frequent the gay bars of Buffalo, New York.
Throughout her life Jess is plagued with the feeling of not fitting in. Even when she is allowed to dress in men's clothing, the rules about how to be a butch don't always fit. Jess hides underneath a "stone butch" persona, which does not really protect her from trauma and often distances her from intimacy.
Jess learns that she can take male hormones and "pass" as a man. She feels this is the only way she will stop being targeted as an outsider. But "becoming" a man alienates her from the lesbian community and forces her to live a lie in front of everyone else. In the end, Jess decides to stop taking hormones and learns to be comfortable in her own skin, regardless of what anyone else thinks. At the end of the book, she becomes an activist, and speaks up for the rights and dignity that every human being deserves.
The novel was published by FireBrand Press in 1993. It was picked up by Alyson Books in 2003. In early 2013, Feinberg announced on her Tumblr page that the book would be permanently out of print, but made to order copies would be available by request on her website. Additionally, free PDFs of the text would be available in May 2013.