My Butch Career - A Memoir Book
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In My Butch Career Esther Newton tells the compelling, disarming, and at times sexy story of her struggle to write, teach, and find love, all while coming to terms with her identity.
Newton recounts a series of traumas and conflicts, from being molested as a child to her failed attempts to live a "normal," straight life in high school and college. She discusses being denied tenure at Queens College and nearly again so at SUNY Purchase.
With humour and grace, she describes her introduction to middle-class gay life and her love affairs. By age forty, where Newton's narrative ends, she began to achieve personal and scholarly stability in the company of the first politicised generation of out lesbian and gay scholars with whom she helped create gender and sexuality studies.
Affecting and immediate, My Butch Career is a story of a gender outlaw in the making, an invaluable account of a beloved and influential figure in LGBT history, and a powerful reminder of only how recently it has been possible to be an openly queer academic.
"My Butch Career is an arrival story.... All anthropologists, students as well as educators, should read this because it calls attention to what has changed and shows the importance of LGBT/queer social movements and networks of non-normative communities."
Anika Keinz "Journal of the Royal Anthropological Quarterly
"Disarming and compelling. . . . My Butch Career is the humorous and graceful story of a gender outlaw in the making, blazing the trail in queer academia."
"The most captivating part of the book sees Newton circulating through second-wave feminist and lesbian circles in New York and Paris, where the debates, social hierarchies, and tangled affairs she encounters bring her to a late coming of age. In the eighties, her scholarship, once ignored, achieves recognition with the rise of gender and sexuality studies. The book is a thoughtful examination of how personal experiences spur intellectual progress."
The New Yorker"
"My Butch Career is an important narrative of liberation that contributes singularly to the growing body of collective LGBTQ history. It covers the first forty-one years of the writer's life, a time frame that calls out for a sequel. Newton concludes her memoir with a tribute to the queer writers who have preceded her. With this work, she has secured her place in that pantheon."
Anne Charles "Lambda Literary Review"
"My Butch Career joins a distinguished list of lesbian herstories. . .. It is for readers interested in the psychological and cultural challenges for an individual who identifies as a butch lesbian, as well as readers who are interested in lesbian herstory within the greater context of the gay rights movement."
Cassandra Langer "Gay & Lesbian Review