Marina Allal received her PhD in Romance and German Studies from the Albert Ludwigs University of Freiburg and the Sorbonne Nouvelle – Paris III in 2007. She has conducted research at universities in Germany, France, and Switzerland on the comparative construction of identities and alterities in modernity, on anti-Semitic and anti-feminist discourses in France, Germany, and Austria, on the memory of the Shoah and slavery, and on the history of translation and reception. Marina Allal has been a research associate at Freie Universität Berlin since 2010. In her current role, she is particularly concerned with diversity and anti-discrimination.
Bousculer les imaginaires et développer des alternatives…” On the Reception of Stone Butch Blues in France
Format: presentation (engl.)
In the land of Simone de Beauvoir and Olympe de Gouges, it may come as a surprise that Leslie Feinberg’s novel was only made available to a Francophone audience in a French translation in 2019. This translation is thanks to a collective of translators who, with the help of donations, were able to publish the work in French. Why was Stone Butch Blues translated into French so late, and why did it not find its way to a publisher sooner?
The reasons are many, with both the development of French feminism since the 1970s and the specificity of the literary field in France playing a central role. Among other things, the difficulties of the translators’ collective in translating from English into French testify to the lack of a traditional engagement with the latest queer works from the Anglo-Saxon world.
The fact that the writer Virginie Despentes has been reading the letter to Theresa from Stone Butch Blues on various stages in the feminist reading “Viril” since 2018 can be understood on the one hand as an act of rebellion against dominant currents in the literary field. On the other hand, it already marks a new beginning in the reception of Stone Butch Blues in France.
Laura Brightwell is a PhD Candidate in Gender, Feminist, & Women’s Studies at York University in Canada. She is writing her doctoral dissertation on how femmes use life writing to respond to queer and feminist stories about femininity. She is the recipient of a Doctoral Fellowship from The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, York University’s Provost Dissertation Scholarship, and three Ontario Graduate Scholarships.
Femme Life Writing: No Femininities Left Behind
Format: presentation (engl.)
This presentation takes solidarity across culturally abjected femininities as a new model for femme theory. Queer and femme theory has to-date defined queer as the antinormative, and the queer femme in contrast to straight femininity. Queer femininities thus become queer and feminist at the cost of stereotyping straight femininities as inherently normative. However, both queer and straight femininities often occupy the same culturally ‘unrespectable’ forms of femininity. I read life writing by Joan Nestle, Amber Hollibaugh, Minnie Bruce Pratt, Raechel Anne Jolie and other femmes to explore the extent to which femme identities can be informed by white trash femininities, deviant maternal femininities, sex worker’s experiences, and other forms of culturally abjected femininity.
Given the lack of much academic writing on femme, femme life writing is a crucial site for femme thought (Schwartz, 2018). Femmes have often framed their personal writing as a way of writing the kind of personal histories that are often excluded from published narratives (Allison, 1994; Coyote & Sharman, 2011; Hollibaugh, 2000; Nestle, 1992a, 2003; Schwarz, 1992), and as a way to provide other femmes a roadmap to femme identity (Coyote & Sharman, 2011; Lowrey, 2009b; Payne, 2002; Pratt, 2005). This presentation explores new directions for femme theory based on feminine solidarities.
Camellia Choudhuri is a final year postgraduate student of English Literature (MA) at St. Xavier’s College (Autonomous), Kolkata. Her research interests include lesbian poetics, female masculinities, and performance studies. She has earlier presented papers at the University of London Centre for Contemporary Women’s Writing, and at King’s College, London. You can find her on Twitter @CamChoudhuri.
“Two truths can exist in the same space”: Examining Joelle Taylor’s Butch Life-Writing in Performance
Format: presentation (engl.)
This study examines how Joelle Taylor’s “creative memoir” C+nto and Othered Poems (2021) exploits the subjective, spatial, and ephemeral dynamics of performance poetry to expand the scope of butch lesbian autobiography. Assessing a set of performances from 2018 to 2022, it delineates the unique possibilities that the hybrid form offers to her as a lesbian artist-archivist attempting to reconstruct London’s butch counterculture of the 1980s-90s. Reading Taylor’s poetry vis-à-vis Ann Cvetkovich’s theory of the “archive of feeling” and postfeminist approaches to performance art, I explore how she positions the gender non-conforming butch lesbian in relation to particular spaces to interrogate heteronormative regulatory discourses. A consideration of her reimagining of London and the fictitious “Maryville” dyke dive bar exposes the role of urban public spaces in actively shaping sexual subcultures and unique bonds of kinship. I further align the ideological mapping of these spaces with Taylor’s re-signification of the butch body as “battleground,” “protest,” “trespass,” “cemetery,” “backroom,” “haunted house,” and “uprising” in her fifteen-minute poetic sequence ‘C+nto’. By analysing the overlapping archival, performative, and cartographic tendencies in Taylor’s poetry, my research highlights the potentiality of “embodied” intermedial arts in aiding the documentation of marginalised queer histories.
Jade Crimson Rose Da Costa (they/them/she/her) is a gender nonbinary queer woman of colour PhD candidate at York University, Tkaronto, a community organizer, knowledge mobilizer, and educator across central Southern Ontario, and a creative writer and poet. Their research, teaching, organizing, and art converge on topics of race and racism, white supremacy, queer and trans belonging, feminism, sexual education, the sociology of health, and social justice. To learn more about her work, please visit their website at jadecrimson.com.
Erotic Pedagogy: Anti-Racist Sexual Education
Format: presentation (engl.)
In this presentation, I share the pedagogical insights I learned from launching Erotic Pedagogy: An Instagram page designed to help PK-12 teachers develop anti-racist approaches to sexual education (@eroticpedagogy). Funded by the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Inclusive Education institute at the University of British Columbia (SOCI UBC), Erotic Pedagogy features storytelling videos of myriad Queer and Trans Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (QTBIPOC) speaking to their experiences of gender, sexuality, and health. Combined, these stories offer a nuanced portrait of how QTBIPOC mature within a white cis-heteropatriarchal world. Through curating this complex portrait, I came to understand each storytelling video as a liminal fragment constituting a larger holistic sexual education framework that challenges the cosmological fracturing of QTBIPOC lifeworlds common to institutionalized narratives of sexual and gender development. As such, I consider Erotic Pedagogy not just a challenge to said narratives but a symptom of their fractured approached: QTBIPOC speak of gender, sexuality, and health in fragments because we have been taught to do so. With this, I argue that for current PK-12 sexual education lesson plans to be genuinely anti-racist, they have to actively reject the fracturing of QTBIPOC identities and represent a kaleidoscope of experience.
Desz Debreceni studied English Literature and Literary Translation in Utrecht, Münster and Düsseldorf and works as a freelance literary translator, editor, and waits tables at a restaurant. They want to re_translate the German version of Stone Butch Blues – because it’s time. They wrote their MA thesis on re_translating as activist practice, queering the German translation of Stone Butch Blues.
Re_translating as Activist Practice. Queering the German Translation of Stone Butch Blues
Format: presentation (engl.)
How figures re_translation as activist practice, especially in the tradition of feminist, queer and transgender translation theory, with its consciousness for power structures repeated in and through language? The Genderdebatte in the German-speaking context, concerning inclusive language, continues to gain implementation and controversy. How does this affect literary texts? Not only the translator’s active contribution, but also the policies of publishers, public discourse and market economy play a part in how works of fiction will be translated and made available. Re_translating as an activist practice can give us the tools to make use of the structural differences of English and German to make queer and trans experiences and subjectivities more visible and intelligible in translation.
I am demonstrating my thesis by re_translating passages from Leslie Feinberg’s debut novel Stone Butch Blues. The existing 1996 German translation has significantly misrepresented and softened the edges of this text, not only because of the different approaches to gender inclusive language then and now. I will present passages of my own re_translation, with an extended understanding of gender inclusive language use and compare them to the first edition and the German translation. Since the novel’s first publication in 1993, it has been revised twice (2003, 2014). I will shortly present and compare what has been changed, how this speaks to the inherently political quality of Feinberg’s work and elaborate how interventionist translation practices and gender inclusive language use can help to refashion the text in translation.
Sabine Fuchs is a freelance literary and cultural scholar, author, and translator living in Hamburg. She is the editor of the anthologies Femme/Butch. Dynamics of Gender and Desire (Berlin 2020) and Femme! radical – queer – feminine (Berlin 2009) and is currently revising the Femme! book for an expanded new edition in fall 2023. As part of this new edition, funded by the Federal Magnus Hirschfeld Foundation, an extensive bibliography on femme literature and research, as well as a genealogy of the concept of ‘femme’ as a non-binary transgender identity, is currently being created.
“Starry Journey. A reminiscence of Leslie Feinberg, in gratitude”.
Format: presentation (german)
“Sternenklare Reise” is an autobiographical essay about the outstanding importance of Leslie Feinberg’s work for the queer/trans*/femme/butch community. In it, I recount my personal encounters with Leslie Feinberg in the 1990s in Hamburg and Bremen in the context of two readings of Stone Butch Blues, embedded in the women’s/lesbian political background and conditions of the queer/trans feminist struggles of the time. The importance of queer literature, especially for young queer people and those with a working class background, is also addressed.
Born in Munich, Nike Hartmond will begin her studies in stage and costume design at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna in 2020 and will transfer to the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna in 2021. During her studies, she already created several stage works of her own, for example at the HfMT Hamburg Kluge Else or at P14 at the Volksbühne Berlin red herrings, angels and clones. At P14 Nike 2023 directs and writes the theater text for We’re teens, we’re cute. Nike also works as a visual artist and writes.
Fred Heinemann first studied architecture, then language arts, and works on the themes of body, space, and language in an installation, performance, and writing capacity. Fred researches and films for the Centre for Documentary Architecture. Published text in: Das Narr, Bella Triste, Landpartie, Glitter and various photography magazines. Exhibition contributions most recently: The Forest for Home, Aesthetics of the Lemon, Super Heavy Long Vehicle, The Matter of Data.
Bubbles or: companions
Format: performative reading/ photo love story (german)
The work on this project began with a meeting at a gas station. One of us had taken a copy of Stone Butch Blues to the meeting rather by chance, but the book accompanied our conversations from then on.
The resulting photo-love-story is the result of an examination of questions about pronouns, witnessing the queerness of another person, companionship, and the advantages and disadvantages of bubbles. In terms of both content and implementation, we wanted to offer ourselves, as well as the people playing, a space in which to explore their own queerness or possible forms of it.
View the full photo-love-story here.
Jojo Hofmann (no pronouns | they/them) is studying in the Master’s program Cultural Poetics of Literature and Media at the University of Münster and wrote her Bachelor’s thesis on the topic: “Between Community and Violence – Gay and Lesbian Bars as Spaces of Ambivalence in Leslie Feinberg’s Stone Butch Blues (1993)”. Jojo Hofmann works in the Gender Research Network at WWU’s Mittelbau and is in charge of the project to make gender studies more visible and accessible in teaching. Jojo Hofmann also works in political youth education. https://twitter.com/Sumatrine
Understanding Queertopia: An intersectional consideration of the space of the gay and lesbian bar in Stone Butch Blues.
Format: presentation (deutsch)
Stone Butch Blues will be used as an example to illustrate the extent to which intersectional methods of analysis are needed to look beyond cis-heteronormative traditional approaches to analysis that are only sensitive to racism and classism to a limited extent, and what openings in theory and analytical practice we encounter in the process. In doing so, the lecture aims to show how, through an intersectional lens of analysis, transgressions of boundaries, strategies of appropriation of space and defense, and strategies of self-empowerment become visible in the context of queer struggles. Jess’s spatial movements and Jess’s numerous experiences of violence, discrimination, and exclusion are the starting point for this.
Using Foucault’s concept of heterotopia, the structure and constitution of queer spaces are examined more closely using the example of the gay and lesbian bars in Stone Butch Blues – Along the question of whether queer spaces are not always heterotopias and what specifically constitutes them. The various space-constituting mechanisms of inclusion and exclusion are analyzed. The thesis is pursued to what extent one can speak of a queer matrix in queer heterotopias, which enables subversive gendering practices that are opposed to those of the heterosexual matrix of normal space. The boundaries of this heterotopia are also approached from an intersectional perspective: Even queer heterotopias are not free of racism, classism, as well as transphobia, and in Stone Butch Blues, too, characters are therefore excluded from the bars.
k kater (pronouns: he/they/none) is femme/butch in love, influenced and transformed by Feinberg’s lyrics, especially “Stone Butch Blues.” kater (white, nonbinary, crip) is activist and artistically revolving around queer and trans politics – specifically utopian corporealities, queer femininity, and circlusion.
Every 4th Wednesday his radio show, fiction for fairies + cyborgs, runs from 10pm on Hamburg’s Freie Sender Kombinat (FSK): 93, 0 Antenne 101,4 Kabel.
put your hands in my lungs: femme/butch miniatures
Format: audio piece (german)
An intimate audio piece – a persistent femme/butch desire.
(CN/content note: this audio piece is explicitly about sexual content).
Here’s the audio file (mp3, in German language).
In fragmentary fictions the space of an in-between is explored. A relatedness carefully circled with words to keep it open.
Femme/butch identifications and dynamics are understood here as narratives, as lived fairy tales, spun into a collective queer memory and archive. (see Fox 2020)
Quotes, literary experiences, personal memories interweave to form a text/listening collage. In the process, concepts of and experiences with stoneness (Fuchs/ Cvetkovich), circlusion (Adamczak), utopian corporeality (Foucault/ Preciado), and the “right to opacity” (Glissant) are variously linked.
“Classic” femme/butch narratives from the 20th (& early 21st) century, especially by Leslie Feinberg and Minie Bruce Pratt, extend their tentacles into the present, mingling with present desire, no longer separable. An incessant chirping, whispering, writing to each other. Finding something like “authenticity” and belonging in stylizations. A becoming with/through prostheses and tools. Body retelling and retelling. Transforming language and narratives until they can be fucked differently. Experiencing, touching through identifications. Held, unleashing coarseness. Heavy quaking. Becoming tender and awake and thin-skinned to the space within and between us. Perceiving deeper and deeper the non-identical, the resistant, the twitchy, the unspeakable, the opaque. To love.
belonging – queer politics of space and constellations (inspired by Leslie Feinberg). An audio piece.
Format: audio (german)
Politics and strategies of taking space and of belonging and “ways of relating” (Adamczak 2017) have a special meaning and urgency for marginalized people.
In my audio piece, condensations of queer belonging in Leslie Feinberg’s work are connected to experiences of belonging in queer zones currently in the German-speaking world. For this purpose, places, constellations and narratives are put in relation to each other. I use personal narratives to make trans/queer strategies and affectations tangible through the times. This audio essay is interwoven in many voices with my complixs, Rosh Zeeba (https://www.roshzeeba.com/), Xenia Ende (https://www.xeniaende.com/), and Trailor Sparks.
It is about belonging and recognition within queer and trans communities. Places of retreat as protection against discrimination and violence. Diversely charged and designed room(s) of one’s own. A temporality that explodes ableist norms and cis/patriarchal narratives about life courses. Into all of this reaches the longing for queer kinship – political solidarity as well as elective kinship, “more than family, mongrel” (Feinberg: “Drag King Dreams”).
Leslie Feinberg’s work and person also represent a projection point for queer belonging. By creating sites of longing in fictional worlds, by opening up possibilities of identification through activism and writing, Feinberg unleashes a revolutionary hope – for queer, diasporic embodiment and connection, for touch and transformation.
Ylva Emel Karlsson, the swedish translator for Stone Butch Blues. Poet and activist based in Malmö, Sweden, whose practice centers around queer crip life and language, transformative justice and prison abolition.
Format: discussion (engl.)
Letting the characters speak for themselves and honoring Feinberg’s translation agreement. Ylva Emel, swedish translator, discusses with the two other panelists: How does the transness and fluidity of the characters translate into different languages? How do we as translators and publicists stay true to Feinberg’s wishes and terms? How do we situate the text when the agreement says “no introductions”? The book is non-profit. What methods have publishing houses applied to cohere with this anti-capitalist stance?
Translating Translanguage – A Workshop
Format: workshop (engl.)
Come join the translation continuum!
Stone Butch Blues has already been translated into over ten different languages and keeps getting retranslated. In this workshop all participants are invited to translate a part of the books first chapter to one of their languages. Join a friend, a new acquaintance, form a group or work by yourself. Discuss different terms and make hard choices! We end by putting our works together into a collection of the book’s different and parallel tongues.
Writer-activist Minnie Bruce Pratt’s ten books of poetry and creative nonfiction include Crime Against Nature, chosen for Lamont Poetry Selection of the Academy of American Poets, the American Library Association Gay and Lesbian Book Award for Literature, and as a New York Times Notable Book. With poets Chrystos and Audre Lorde, she received the Lillian Hellman-Dashiell Hammett Award from the Fund for Free Expression, for “writers who have been victimized by political persecution … as targets of right-wing and fundamentalist forces.” She received a Lambda Literary Award for The Dirt She Ate: Selected and New Poems, and the Publishing Triangle’s Audre Lorde Award for Lesbian Poetry for Inside the Money Machine. With activists Barbara Smith and Elly Bulkin, she co-authored Yours in Struggle: Three Feminist Perspectives on Anti-Semitism and Racism. Pratt, a managing editor of Workers World/Mundo Obrero newspaper, lives in Alabama and central New York.
More Information on her work is available at www.minniebrucepratt.net.
Format: poetry reading and conversation (engl.)
Minnie Bruce Pratt will read from selected poetry and prose and talk about queer living, loving, and fighting for solidarity and liberation against a system that privileges the few and marginalizes the other.
Note: The reading is scheduled for Friday, May, 5th, 6-7pm. If you want to attend the reading alone (without the conference), please register here.
Hani חאני Esther Indictor Portner (they/them) is a Trans* Jewish disabled flamboyant historian, herbalist, artist, community scientist, and tour guide. Their knowledge of herbalism and the uses of edible plants and mushrooms in the neighborhoods where the horrors of the Shoah were enacted connects the current people living where atrocities were committed to the ghosts that still live in the petals of the flower of the tree that has been there for a century. They research Trans Jewish stories surrounding the Hirschfeld Institute, and plant memorial mushroom gardens to honor their lives.
Jewish QT Futures
Format: workshop (engl.)
Leslie Feinberg’s Jewish identity is often downplayed/overlooked even though it was an important part of hir identity and life, activism, and community. Zie did come from a larger movement of Jewish lesbians and that community is so important to acknowledge and understand in the context of hir work and perspectives. Hir revolutionary ideals and work lend themselves to revolutionary imaginations of queer and trans futures, which this workshop will explore in discussions using creative group dreaming and envisioning structures, spaces, and times that feel right, beautiful, and just.
As a Jewish person I want to center conversations and exchanges with other Jewish people involved in the conference. There are not enough spaces to embrace and celebrate being Jewish and Queer and Trans and this space of exchange is what this workshop is about. Allies and co-conspirators are also welcome, but the focus is on Queer and Transgender Jews.
Discussion will include our personal experiences as queer Jews in academia, Feinberg’s biography and life as a Jewish queer activist, context around themes of antisemitism in queer and leftist communities, and textual analysis of how Feinberg wrote about their Jewish identity.
Mischa Regenbrecht (ser/es) is a health care worker and nurse, and has added a degree in nursing science to his training. That is now finally finished. Ser has recently continued to work in the hospital, and then switched to the open senior work. It has been politically active in the queer scene for a few years. Mischa is white, not disabled, and trans.
Lesbians with support needs in everyday life
Format: presentation (german)
This lecture presents the results of my master thesis in nursing science. For this thesis
I interviewed eight lesbians with support needs and analyzed the interviews using grounded theory methods. The findings offer insight into factors that influence lesbians with support needs in shaping their care.
They want to be as independent as possible for as long as possible, to have to use as little help as possible
need to use assistance, and to have independent control over their own lives for as long as possible.
At the same time, they sometimes have bad experiences with certain actors of the
health care system. As a result, they lack trust in professional support and doctors.
doctors. Finally, they want to be seen holistically.
In order to deal with these formative factors, they make themselves capable of acting on different levels (social and private). If this is successful, they have the impression that they can maintain their independence and perceive illness (or need for support) as something that can be integrated into life.
The results can be placed in an intersectional context. They seem to apply not only to lesbians, but also to other marginalized groups with support needs. Strategies are presented with which lesbians with support needs can be supported in their ability to act, both from the scene and from the state.
El/len Reid-Buckley is a sociologist and writer based in Limerick, Ireland. They are currently completing a PhD in Sociology at the University of Limerick where they are researching bisexualities in post-marriage equality Ireland. Their work is broadly focused on genders and sexualities, with a particular interest in queer theory, trans studies, and sexual geography. Their work has been published by The Sociological Review, LSE Review of Books, and RTÉ. They have a number of forthcoming publications including a book chapter in Queering Desire: Lesbians, Gender, and Subjectivity (Dr. Roisin Ryan-Flood and Dr. Amy Tooth-Murphy, eds.).
Looking for the Bisexual Butch
Format: presentation (engl.)
‘Butch’ is difficult term to define, yet the common thread throughout the literature is that it is linked to lesbian identities and cultures. ‘Butch’ has been an important category of personal identification and community participation across time and space. What is curious in the common conceptualisations of ‘butchness’ is that bisexualities are rarely present. Work which considers bisexualities and butch/femme identities has repeatedly found that bisexual+ women are more likely to identify as femme and present as feminine. Thus, the questions must be asked: Can one be bisexual and butch? And if yes, what does a bisexual butch look like? Taking a queer autoethnographic approach, this paper explores the lack of discursive and visual representations of the ‘bisexual butch’ within contemporary cultures. It theorises the ‘bisexual butch’ as an identity structured by tensions of presence and absence. It also explores the debates surrounding insider/outsider research. Overall, this research aims to highlight the fruitfulness of theorising the ‘bisexual butch’; not only for bisexual+ theorising and gender-sexuality research projects, but also in developing a public sociology of gender and sexuality that is informative, empathetic, and vulnerable.
Jonah Reimann is an undergraduate student at Freie Universität Berlin studying History and
Philosophy. In addition to their studies, they work as a coordination assistant within the DFG-funded
research network Queere Zeitgeschichten im deutschsprachigen Europa and volunteer at
Stone Butch Blues & TikTok
Format: talk & video content (engl.)
My talk will draw a bridge between Stone Butch Blues and the social media video platform TikTok, drawing on text passages and video content respectively, as giving a general overview of butch representation on the app. While the impact TikTok has on young people has been well established, the explicitly queer and lesbian communities have yet to be introduced into scholarly research on the queer, explicitly lesbian, community in the 21st century.
The contribution will aim to be a hybrid of scholarly and personal engagement with Stone Butch
Blues and lesbian identity, drawing on academic resources from queer history, critical internet studies and critical media studies. As a non-binary butch born right at the start of the 21st century, my connection to Feinberg and lesbianism is one intrinsically tied to the internet. Fan communities and social media defined and accompanied me on my journey of defining my own butch and queer identity. Drawing on this experience, I will use personal reflection to guide the audience through my talk, concluding with an outlook on the possibilities and challenges of connecting a classic text such as Stone Butch Blues with a medium like TikTok.
Anja*Oliver Schneider (they/he) is a queer, non-binary trans masculine educator, writer, and academic. Born and raised in Germany, they lived and studied in different parts of the U.S. and graduated with a M.A. in American Studies in 2021 at Goethe University, Frankfurt. Oliver’s academic research explores the intersections of lesbian and trans communities, and their creative work focuses on themes of transness, queerness, chronic pain, and femme/butch desire. Anja wants to create accessible, trans-centered spaces that question existing structures and celebrate diverse experiences.
For more information on the guide Non-Binary. An Introduction, inquiries for public appearances or gender and sexuality workshops, accessible Yoga, and more: www.am-schneider.com
“Who was I now—woman or man? That question could never be answered as long as those were the only choices.” Stone Butch Blues as exemplary of the intersection between lesbian and trans* experiences
Format: presentation (engl.)
This talk will be based on two chapters of my MA Thesis titled “‘I Defend My Right to Be Complex.’ A Cultural Literary Exploration of Gender Non-Normativity in Lesbian Communities from the 1900s until Today” (2021, Goethe-Universität Frankfurt).
Oftentimes, Stone Butch Blues is read as either a lesbian or a trans narrative. However, I argue that the novel is exemplary of the complex meeting point of both. By referring to selected scenes from the book in which characters explore, expand, or struggle with their identities, I will show that Jess and other characters experience gender and sexuality in non-normative ways and that this is also influenced by factors like race and class. Ultimately, I hope my talk will offer a more nuanced understanding of the interconnection of lesbian and trans realities in Stone Butch Blues, particularly in a femme/butch context.
Format: poetry reading (engl.)
Oliver’s writing explores transness, queerness, femme/butch desire, and different forms of marginalization, often through free-form poetry and poetics. Past trans*queer writing and activism like Leslie Feinberg’s are the ancestral mycelium at the foundation of Oliver’s writing, so that Oliver’s poetry is never just contemporary but always also in a field of tension spiraling back and forth between past, present, and future. The pieces presented at the conference hope to celebrate Stone Butch Blues by being in conversation with selected topics from Feinberg’s novel in a way that both pays homage to Feinberg’s work and dares to go beyond it.
Anngret Schultze (she/her) is a performance artist, cultural scientist and creative collaborator. In her artistic work and research she dedicates herself to the body as a simultaneous carrier and saboteur of power relations. Decolonial unlearning, queer failure and critical softness are always starting points for aesthetic listening and forming. In the field of audiodescription she combines accessibility and artistic poetry. She currently lives and works in Hamburg. Instagram
To Me, My Gender Is and Always Has Been Something Highly Relational
Format: audio lecture-performance (german)
In the audio piece “To me, my gender is and always has been something highly relational.” Anngret Schultze poetically deals with her own biography and her oscillation between queerfemme/softboy presentation, with gender euphoria in the context of drag or wearing this one pair of blue Adidas pants, enjoying bright red lipstick, unshaven legs and glitter on the face. Stone Butch Blues becomes a resonating space for personal experiences, questioning labels like butch and femme, conversations with queer friends and their masculinities/femininities. The result is a sensual, poetic and very personal contribution to the conference “30 Years of Stone Butch Blues – Memories and Perspectives”. It is recommended to listen to the contribution via headphones.
Clara Rosa Schwarz is a doctoral candidate at the University of Freiburg researching queer friendships and queer experiences of the pandemic. Clara Rosa holds a scholarship from the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung. They have an MSc in Gender (Sexuality) from the London School of Economics and a BA in Sociology from Goethe University in Frankfurt.
Feinberg’s Femmes: How Femmes Care in Stone Butch Blues
Format: presentation (engl.)
This paper will explore the role of femmes in Leslie Feinberg’s Stone Butch Blues and in particular their practices of care and solidarity. Discussing the femme characters and their relationships to the protagonist Jess as well as to their femme friends, I seek to illustrate the power that lies in femme-ininity and demonstrate the centrality of femmes and femme care for the development of the narrative. I will conceptualise femme care on several sequences of the novel and show how Feinberg’s femmes generate strength through vulnerability. Following from a body of (femme) literature on vulnerability, care, and trauma, I argue that femme incorporates sensibility and vulnerability and has the potential to transform how we understand care, displacing it from the heterosexually feminine private sphere into a public, but not masculine, sphere. Femme care has the potential to disrupt the public/private, male/female, carer/cared-for binaries and as such is a central driver of the queer narrative of Stone Butch Blues.
Lorenz Weinberg (he or they) studied history with a focus on women’s and gender history, queer history, and sexuality history in Berlin and Vienna, is a PhD student at the FMI of the FU Berlin and a scholarship holder of the Heinrich Böll Foundation. He is doing his PhD on “Feminist Sex Wars and Butch/Fem(me) Culture. Discourses of sexuality as sites of negotiation of lesbian_queer conceptions of identity in German-speaking lesbian movements of the 1970s-90s.” Lorenz Weinberg is interested in the entanglements of sexual practices and gender identities, lesbian_trans*_queer movement history and its sources, and genderqueer figures and sexuality in history. Lorenz Weinberg is a member of the DFG Network Queer Contemporary Histories in German-Speaking Europe.
Of daddy’s wives, gender role play, saucy dads and ladies. Fem(me)/Butch in the
Sexuality Discussions of German-Language Lesbian Movement Contexts of the 1970s-1990s.
Format: presentation (german)
When I first read Stone Butch Blues, it triggered in me a desire to explore butch/fem(me) history and the sex wars that have stuck with me to this day. I am now all the happier to be able to pursue this interest in interferences of butch/fem(me) culture and sexuality debates as part of my dissertation project. Against this background, I would like to present parts of my research in the lecture. Thereby, I will deal with discussions about lesbian_queer sexuality within feminist contexts of the 1970s-90s in German-speaking countries. The question will be explored to what extent discourses of sexuality functioned as sites of negotiation of lesbian_queer conceptions of gender. I am interested in arguments about gendered bodies, sexual practices, and the entanglements of gender and desire. I focus on fem(me)/butch culture, which I take to be paradigmatic for linking lesbian and trans*queer histories, and which lends itself as an illustrative example for viewing gender history as queer sexuality history. In the lecture, parts of the source analysis will be presented and, along selected passages from the lesbian magazines UKZ, Austern, and Ihrsinn, it will be shown how fem(me)/butch discourses appeared in debates about sexuality and, conversely, what status sexuality had in the engagement with fem(me)/butch in lesbian movement contexts.
Agility is a bedroom music project, writing tool, and spirit animal all in one. Driven by queer voids in family trees and an ongoing fascination with the archive, Agility is also an experiment by Hannah Zipfel; H. is currently working at Queer History Month Berlin, among others, and writing a dissertation in the project “Gegenwartsästhetik. Categories for an Art and Culture in Alienation” on aesthetic categories such as weirdness and cuteness.
Growing Sideways. An écriture of the queer child
Format: Lecture-Performance (german with englisch subtitles)
Writing about queer childhood can prove to be a tricky project – not only because examining one’s own childhood (or worse, adolescence) often comes with a certain awkwardness per se, but because looking at queer childhood (a term that will be outlined in more detail in the essay) can evoke a temporal paradox. Kathryn Bond Stockton describes this operation as a “backward birth,” due to a lack of self-representation in childhood:
“Such child, who already feels queer (different, odd, out-of-sync, or for example attracted to same-sex peers) whatever its conscious grasp of itself, has not been able to present itself and has been intensely unavailable to itself in the present tenses. Certain linguistic markers for its queerness arrive only after it exits its childhood, after it is shown not to fit certain heteronormative rules of society” (Kathryn Bond Stockton: The Queer Child, or Growing Sideways in the Twentieth Century).
As a meditation on speculative queer temporality, nostalgia, and queer memoir writing, the article also addresses the question of who is even (co-)meant when we speak of “childhood.” For in Stone Butch Blues, too, a lack of representation is primarily supported by a rigid, binary heteronorm and its accesses (“Is that a boy or a girl?”).
Conceived as an audio-visual séance – and dedicated to all he-shes great and small – Agility interweaves soundscapes with memories from personal archives and inspiring academic and literary texts. In the process, practices that adopt a linearity of “straight ways of growing up” in favor of “growing sideways” are brought into view.
Headphones are recommended. There will be English subtitles.