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Thursday, 1 September 2011

Leslie Feinberg, transgender activist and writer

b. September 1, 1949
"Gender is the poetry each of us makes out of the language we are taught."

Leslie Feinberg is a leading transgender activist, speaker and writer. Feinberg is a national leader in the Workers World Party and a managing editor of Workers World newspaper.

Feinberg was born in Kansas City, Missouri, into a working-class family. In the 1960’s, she came of age in the gay bars of Buffalo, New York.

Now a surgically female-to-male transgender, Feinberg is an outspoken opponent of traditional Western concepts about how a “real man” or “real woman” should look and act. Feinberg supports the use of gender-neutral pronouns such as “ze” instead of he or she, and “hir” instead of him or her.

Feinberg is well-known for forging a strong bond between the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities, and other oppressed minorities. “Everyone who is under the gun of reaction and economic violence is a potential ally,” Feinberg says.

“Stone Butch Blues” (1993), Feinberg’s widely acclaimed first book, is a semi-autobiographical novel about a lesbian questioning her gender identity. It received an American Literary Association Award for Gay and Lesbian Literature and the Lambda Small Press Literary Award.

“Transgender Warriors: Making History from Joan of Arc to Ru Paul” (1996), Feinberg’s first nonfiction work, examines the structures of societies that welcome or are threatened by gender variance. The book was selected as one of The Publishing Triangle’s “100 Best Lesbian and Gay Nonfiction Books.”

“Trans Liberation: Beyond Pink or Blue” (1998), another nonfiction work, documents Feinberg’s near-death experience after being denied medical treatment for a heart problem. The doctor, after discovering his patient was transgender, turned hir away.

Drag King Dreams” (2006), Feinberg’s second novel, picks up where “Stone Butch Blues” left off, chronicling the issues of transgender life today.

In 2008, after Feinberg became disabled from a degenerative disease, the author began telling hir stories through photography. Feinberg was named one of the “15 Most Influential” in the battle for gay and lesbian rights by Curve Magazine. The celebrated author has delivered speeches at colleges, universities, conferences and Pride festivals across the country.

Feinberg is married to poet and activist Minnie Bruce Pratt.


Books by Leslie Feinberg

Books About Leslie Feinberg

Videos of Leslie Feinberg


Leslie Feinberg’s Social Networks

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