Issues of gender and sexuality have become such debated topics over the generations. In the book Stone Butch Blues, Leslie Feinberg engages in the discussion about gays, lesbians, transgenders, and heterosexuals. Leslie examines the challenges facing them such as harassment from the police, religious discrimination of lesbians and gays, harassment at workplaces which at times includes loss of employment, and exclusion from the society, mentioning but a few and all because of their sexuality. In her book, Feinberg explores the issues affecting transgenders in the society as they struggle to lead a normal life free of controversies.
There is the issue of whether butches can supplant men’s legitimate position in the society especially in households. There are two contrasting views to this statement. On one hand, traditionally, the transgenders have never assumed the authority held by men in the society and on the other hand, there is the issue that arises in a situation comprising of families composed of two transgenders.
In such vicinity, one finds that that it is quite hard to determine the figurative authority unless there is some sort of agreement. Leslie’s book argues that it is quite impossible for a woman possessing male sexual organs to fully function to act as man in relation to men’s way of thinking and behavioral patterns. Transgenders can therefore never assume the role of men in the society. In Feinberg’s book, the butch females are illustrated as trying to manipulate men so as to solidify their unity as transgenders but their manipulation does not go far. In relation to the world of gays, the author states that most gays are actually transgenders. Feinberg states that lesbians have a tradition of resisting the male dominancy by use of their looks and fashion trends.
They also use these elements to reveal their sexuality to other women. The protagonist in the book is called Jess, and despite having to struggle with split personalities of being both a man and a woman (Feinberg 32), she achieves much success in life mostly because of her attractiveness. Both men and women admired her and this gives her some sort of dominance over them. Her dress code also made her look classy. The book elaborates several escapades that occur in Greenwich Village especially in the local bars where Jess has had several experiences as a butch female including the admiration she got from the lesbians. The lesbians were considered immature and inferior to the transgenders due to the fact that they never accepted their place in the society and pretended to be men in the society.
This is best illustrated by Jess, who after learning to control herself and getting over her oligarchy and fear, she is illustrated as commanding great respect from the gays and heterosexuals. She fights to assume her own identity as a heterosexual and does not approve being referred to as a lesbian (Feinberg 151).
Gender and sexual debates can never reach a reasonable solution as many debaters can only agree to disagree that transgenders are now a part of the community.
Despite Leslie discussing the gays and butch females as well as the challenges facing them, it is evident from the book that transgenders are showing more solidarity within the community. However, transgenders cannot live as men, each one of them does have significance within the society. As more transgenders are born into the society, the debates continue in light of establishing their role within the society.
Feinberg, Leslie. Stone butch blues: a novel.
Los Angeles, CA: Alyson Books, 2003.