• The protagonist of the story, Jess Goldberg, is a "stone butch" lesbian and writes a letter to her former lover, Theresa.
• In the letter Jess reveals the trials lived by butches, femmes, and drag queens.
• In the 1960s, when Jess was coming of age, the only place for gays to meet were bars but they risked police brutality from officers who delighted in terrorizing those with alternative lifestyles.
• Jess grew up as a Jewish girl in Buffalo, New York, in the 1960s, a time when anti-Semitism is pervasive.
• Jess is plagued with gender identity issues and is sent to a mental institution when her parents find her dressed in her father's suit and tie.
• Jess realizes that she cannot trust anyone, not even her parents, and that the world will destroy her if she is not vigilant.
• Jess gets a part-time job in a print shop...
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