My Butch Career: A Memoir


Error message

  • Unable to create CTools CSS cache directory. Check the permissions on your files directory.
  • Unable to create CTools CSS cache directory. Check the permissions on your files directory.
book cover
Esther Newton, Term Professor of Women's Studies and American Culture, University of Michigan; and Professor of Anthropology and Kempner Distinguished Professor Emerita at Purchase College, SUNY
Participants : 

Introduction by David Halperin, W. H. Auden Distinguished University Professor of the History and Theory of Sexuality, Professor of English Language and Literature, Women’s Studies, and Classical Studies


  • Clare Croft, Associate Professor of Dance
  • Gayle Rubin, Associate Professor of Anthropology and Women's Studies
Event Date: 
November 2, 2018
Event Time: 
2:00pm to 4:00pm
2239 Lane Hall
Event Accessibility : 
Ramp and elevator access at the E. Washington Street entrance (by loading dock). Accessible restrooms on south end of Lane Hall, on each floor of the building. Gender neutral restroom on first floor.
Event Tags: 
book cover

Join LGQRI in celebrating Esther Newton’s forthcoming memoir. 

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.

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.


Esther Newton, one of the pioneers of gay and lesbian studies, is formerly Term Professor of Women's Studies at the University of Michigan and Professor of Anthropology at Purchase College, State University of New York. She is the author of several books, including Margaret Mead Made Me Gay: Personal Essays, Public Ideas and Cherry Grove, Fire Island: Sixty Years in America's First Gay and Lesbian Town, as well as the groundbreaking Mother Camp: Female Impersonators in America.