Transgender activist Leslie Feinberg dies at age 65

Feinberg was born a woman but considered her gender expression to be male.
By Danielle Haynes  |  Nov. 17, 2014 at 7:26 PM
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SYRACUSE, N.Y., Nov. 17 (UPI) -- Leslie Feinberg, a transgender activist and author of Stone Butch Blues, died Saturday in New York. She was 65.

Feinberg died of complications from a variety of tick-borne diseases, including Lyme disease, babeisiosis and protomyxzoa rheumatica after decades of illness, her spouse of 22 years, Minnie Bruce Pratt, wrote in her obituary in The Advocate.

Feinberg, who was born in Kansas City, Mo., and raised in Buffalo, N.Y., where she founded the city's branch of the Workers World Party. She later lived in New York City and died at her home in Syracuse.

Feinberg was born a woman but considered her gender expression to be male.

In the obituary, Pratt wrote that Feinberg preferred to be referred to as "she or zie" and "her or hir."

"I care which pronoun is used, but people have been disrespectful to me with the wrong pronoun and respectful with the right one. It matters whether someone is using the pronoun as a bigot, or if they are trying to demonstrate respect," Feinberg said.

She wrote the book Stone Butch Blues about the complexities of gender in 1993. It sold hundreds of thousands of copies and was translated into seven languages.

I have "never been in search of a common umbrella identity, or even an umbrella term, that brings together people of oppressed sexes, gender expressions, and sexualities," Feinberg said in a statement before her death.

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