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Today is Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Feinberg Redraws the Geography of the Sexes

Standing square-shouldered and styling a solid black suit and crew-cut, Leslie Feinberg expressed his beliefs on sex, lifestyle, and politics on Wednesday evening.

There was only one thing that wasn't immediately revealed by the speaker: that he was born a woman.

A well-known author and activist for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender rights, Feinberg has traveled across the globe and is a leader in the Worker's World Party.

"We have to redraw the sex and gender map," he said. "This isn't the 'Father Knows Best' 1950s."

Among many of the issues touched upon during the lecture, Feinberg stressed that a liberation for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered people needs to take place. Before any type of reform, Feinberg told the audience that their demands need to be unified and clear.

"I think it's possible to bring the world to a better place," he said.

For Ciann Russell, the lecture was a surreal experience, he said. Russell, born a woman, struggled through life questioning his sexuality in a community in which lesbians were hated. Taking stand at the microphone in the middle of the aisle, Russell's voice wavered as he told Feinberg, "Your books have changed my life."

Feinberg gives the "impetus to be courageous," Russell said.

Before Feinberg took the podium, the IMU second-floor ballroom echoed with the chants of the high-kicking Radical Cheerleaders. With such slogans as "Gender, gender it's a liquid thing," and "Be inclusive, be be inclusive," the small cheering squad set the tone for the evening's lecture as the audience roared.

Feinberg's first novel, *Stone Butch Blues*, published in 1993, has been translated into Chinese, Dutch, and German. The novel won the prestigious American Library Association Lesbian/Gay Book Award in 1994 and also won the 1994 LAMBDA Literary Award.

*Transgender Warriors: Making History from Joan of Arc to Ru Paul* is the first analysis of transgendered oppression and its history; it also has been recognized highly in the gay community, winning the 1996 Firecracker Alternative Book Award for Nonfiction.

Appearing on numerous television and radio programs, Feinberg is not only involved in gay activism but also is a trade unionist and socialist. He works to defend the oppressed women, nationalities, disabled, and working class of the world.

As the lecture drew to an end, many admirers flooded the stage to greet the activist. Many walked away with tears and emotion, embracing each other in their arms.

One onlooker said, "I just want to thank you for your existence."

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