Dear Minnie Bruce Pratt (and The Advocate):
As I identified with Leslie, with her history as a butch lesbian, I was saddened to hear of her final passing. Am sure I echo the thoughts of many transgendered queers that as long as Leslie was on the planet we all felt a little safer. Safer to be sure that attitudes and discrimination towards people like Leslie, and the rest of us, who dare to cross gender boundaries,won't hold.
Minnie Bruce - I wish you had spoken in her obituary more about your stunning relationship--a relationship between a lesbian feminist poet and the woman-man she loved. That would have been one for the record too, to hear how you a feminist, loved her--like a man, like a woman? Is there a difference? And what is that difference? My woman partner of 25 years would like to know, I imagine. I would like to know?
The Advocate’s post-script, that they had supposed Leslie would like to be called by the masculine "he" so they had done so in past reporting, reads like a statement from a different generation. A generation that can't grasp that one can be a woman and man at the same time. That of a generation of editors who can't imagine that Leslie was proud of her female-identified "butch" status of woman. Perhaps someday binders full of editor-people will claim what is truly a gay heritage -- that we are the people who walk between the genders. As opposed to the people who said we were "like them" only because that was the only way to get our rights.
Hurrah for Leslie and the women and men who dare to live openly who they are regardless of assumptions by those who understand less. I know I speak for thousands who recognized her courage. She was a model for us all.
Jeanne Cordova, author, activist, and trans gendered butch