The LGBT community mourns the loss of Leslie Feinberg – trans activist, revolutionary and author of ‘Stone Butch Blues’.
Feinberg, who identified as “white, working class, secular Jewish, transgender lesbian” and preferred the use of the gender neutral “ze/hir” pronouns, died from of complications due to tick-borne infections, including chronic Lyme disease which ze has suffered from since the 1970s. Feinberg died in hir home in Syracuse, New York with hir widow Minnie Bruce Pratt by hir side. Hir last words were, “Remember me as a revolutionary communist.”
Feinberg rose to prominence in the early 90s with the release of hir novel Stone Butch Blues, which examines femme and butch culture in the 1960s through the coming of age story of Jess Goldberg, a butch teen who runs away from home and discovers the LGBT subculture. Initially gaining success underground, the book spread to mainstream and sold by the hundreds of thousands. It won numerous awards, including the Stonewall Book Award in 1994 and is widely regarded at one of the most outstanding pieces of LGBT literature.
During hir career, Feinberg penned five other novels.
Feinberg was also the first theorist to advance a Marxist concept of “transgender liberation.” Hir work heavily impacted popular culture, academic research, and political organising.
At the time of hir death, Feinberg was preparing to release the 20th anniversary edition of Stone Butch Blues.
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