How does Leslie Feinberg portray the battle against heteronormativity in Stone Butch Blues?

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Stone Butch Blues is a novel written by transgender activist Leslie Feinberg. The novel is part autobiographical, as it shares many of Feinberg's experiences as someone who does not abide by western societal expectations of gender.

The main character, Jess, grows up in a white, middle-class home that has very strict expectations of gender. Her family is always encouraging her to be "ladylike." The novel is a coming-of-age story that focuses on Jess's lifelong battle against heteronormativity. Heteronormativity is the societal construct that heterosexuality is normal and all other sexual identities are abnormal; it assumes that there are just two gender identities, and that they are directly related to biological sex.

Throughout the novel, Feinberg explains how Jess's butch identity isolates her from her family, limits her job possibilities, and exposes her to police violence. Jess struggles to find companionship, as her gender expression and identity impacts her personal relationships as well. She ultimately falls in love with her neighbor, a transgender woman, who understands Jess's battle with gender and society.

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