Arts & Culture | Rekindle

How Leslie Feinberg Became the Parent I Needed During My Transition

“I needed preparation, not protection. I needed to see myself as a part of history.”

I first heard of Leslie Feinberg’s semi-autobiographical novel Stone Butch Blues as an undergrad, after coming out as a lesbian, an announcement I would later retract. Stripping away the rationalizations that had enabled me to remain closeted to myself regarding my fluid sexuality forced me to look at my gender, and the fluidity I found there, too, confused and terrified me. In order to read the story of Jess Goldberg, the narrator of Stone Butch Blues, I had to overcome my fear of a kind of death— the death of my desire to be normal—at which point I would start becoming myself. Weird is something I’ve always been called, for varying reasons, and I’ve often interpreted it to mean unwanted.