During her difficult childhood, Esther Newton recalls that she “became an anti-girl, a girl refusenik, caught between genders,” and that her “child body was a strong and capable instrument stuffed into the word ‘girl.’” Later, in early adulthood, as she was on her way to becoming a trailblazing figure in gay and lesbian studies, she “had already chosen higher education over the strongest passion in my life, my love for women, because the two seemed incompatible.”
In My Butch Career 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 during a particularly intense time of homophobic persecution in the twentieth century.
“In My Butch Career Esther Newton takes her readers through her chaotic family history, the uncharted territory of coming to terms with an identity that is far outside the norms for her generation, and the transforming effects that new social movements had on her. Bringing personalities, scenes, conversations, and relationships to life, Newton has written a book that is powerful, gripping, and immensely readable.”
“Esther Newton's sharp insights into her developing consciousness are sometimes so precise and revealing that they take my breath away. Her wit gives her personal traumas in a hostile society universal meaning, making her pain and pleasure available to all, while her reflections on the interconnections of gender, sex, and feminism in love-making remain fresh. Capturing the multiple layers of identity and examining how social forces shape our lives, My Butch Career is absolutely unique in the way it explores women's desire as both personal and social. I know of no other memoir like it.”
(Elizabeth Lapovsky Kennedy)