August 20

Dear Leslie,

I will write you.

Why? Because my copy of Stone Butch Blues hasn’t even arrived yet, it’s still in Franklin, MA, but the first chapter I read online stilled my heart. For five minutes, I was completely engaged. Present in a way I’m normally not. I need the rest of the words and not from a book that has to return to the library. Although, you should know my library doesn’t even have a copy. One of the best library systems in the United States and no Stone Butch Blues. I imagine someone snuck it out just for the hope and validation its pages would provide or the comfort of having it on their shelves; copies aren’t easy to come by these days. I hope your loved ones are able to provide a PDF online (here, eventually) because I know what you have to say is important and it should be accessible to all those who want it.

I’m not just writing you because of your work as a transgender warrior, or because you were/are butch, transgender, lesbian, she/zie & her/hir, but because your activism wasn’t constrained by ignorance/apathy toward white privilege and supremacy. I’m not saying this very well, but you engaged in anti-racist, anti-imperialist, anti-capitalist work, and I admire that. Too often white LGBTQ+ activists are blinded to their white privilege(s) and are too proud to entertain the possibility(reality) they hurt people of color by not recognizing and addressing their privilege. I don’t wish to put you on a pedestal as perfect, Leslie, but you give me someone to look up to. I thank you for that. I wish I had explored your work sooner. I didn’t think it was relevant to me or I was simply deterred by “Blues,” but I’m making up for it now.

Stone Butch Blues will arrive shortly. I reserved Transgender Warriors at the library and I will soon read Drag King Dreams, too.

As I ponder gender, sexuality, race, class, and nation in my own life, I will learn more about you and your work.

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