Sunday, January 16, 2011

"While a hostile relative rewrites my life: 'Who is, and is not, my family'"

Earlier this month Leslie Feinberg, author of the beloved novel Stone Butch Blues and other works of fiction and non-fiction, pioneer of the transgender liberation movement, and, by the way, a comrade of mine for 30 years, issued a statement headed "While a hostile relative rewrites my life: 'Who is, and is not, my family.'"

Here are the opening paragraphs.

"In autumn 2010, Knopf published a 'transgender' themed young adult novel. The author, Catherine Ryan Hyde, is an estranged relative of mine.

"The analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of Hyde’s young adult fiction novel will come from those who are living the identities, and oppressions to which she has applied her imagination.

"However, as part of the media coverage and publicity tour for the release of the young adult novel, Hyde claims much of her expertise and authority for writing her 'transgender'-themed young adult novel as based on my life and identity.

"The author is a relative with an axe to grind. When she claims me as kin in order to counter-narrate my life, I am forced to get up out of a sick bed in order to respond in writing.

"Since I became acutely ill in October 2007, it has been very hard for me to write, or to speak. So it is opportunistic and unconscionable that a hostile relative would take this opportunity to re-tell my life in a way that changes my sex, mis-describes my gender expression, and closets my sexuality. Hyde also attempts to silence me politically as a revolutionary, reasserts the dominant legal control of the biological family, and ignores and disrespects my chosen family."

To read the entire statement, please click on this link.

Update: Please see Leslie's additional comment, headed "Free to narrate novels, but not to counter-narrate my actual life in publicity tours," which you can find here on the Lambda Literary Foundation website in the comments section below LLF's posting of Leslie's original statement.