U IS FOR USA
I have not read anything so close to what I want to accomplish with my novel than Stone Butch Blues. It’s like I live alone in the world, and there was one single person who seemed to understand it all, but I will never meet hir. I missed zie by a few years: Leslie Feinberg died three months after I moved to the US. How I wish I could have hugged hir and said thank you.
Stone Butch Blues, to me, is the greatest, most important queer novel in the world, because it does not only offer an insular experience of difference. It has everything: class, race, privilege, poverty, the complexities of being stuck in the binary (way before gender fluid was even a term), the way minorities split into factions. It’s often claustrophobic, because the protagonist, Jess, spends a lot of the time alone, not being able to find either people who understand or a place to belong. And this is perhaps why Jess grasps at humanity with such hunger, that each of her interactions with others is a transformative experience. ⠀
Leslie Feinberg was a revolutionary, and zie was way ahead of hir time, and even ours. And this novel is a testament to what being human is all about: just existing in this world, trying to fit into molds, and to be happy somewhere, somehow.
Stone Butch Blues by Leslie Feinberg
Published by Firebrand Books in 2019