"Stilettos and Steel" Novel Sheds Light on a Dangerous Female Gangster Subculture in San Francisco

Author: Jim Straz
Published: February 02, 2011 at 5:16 am

Stilettos and Steel Book CoverSpinning the literary world upside down with a brand new gender-bending underworld adventure novel, Wordsmith Productions has formally released Jeri Estes’ "Stilettos and Steel."

What does it take to be the toughest pimp in San Francisco’s Tenderloin district during the 1960s? How about the toughest female pimp? Based on her life experiences, Jeri Estes tells us what it takes.

Readers enter the Tenderloin, known as the TL, a previously unexposed mysterious, violent world of lesbian prostitutes and gangsters. The underbelly of strip joints, bars, cheap hotels and liquor stores was different than typical red-light districts; the TL was a Camelot for homos. It offered freedom to dress in drag, which was against the law. Colorful queens peppered the neighborhood, dressed to the nines in high heels and high hair. Lesbians dressed like men boldly walked in public, holding hands with their femme girlfriends. Explorers are guided by the vibrant, unapologetic and humorous narrative of a lionhearted protagonist named Jesse.

“'Stilettos and Steel' is not a gay novel,” Estes explains, “It’s a story about survival and love. We have become accustomed to peering through the stale window into the dark world of prostitution. The view is always the same: a dominating male pimp and a cookie cutter hooker victim. 'Stilettos and Steel' has a whole new take on the real game.”

"Stilettos and Steel" also chronicles a first in LGBT history that is also known by few: The Compton’s Cafeteria Riot, where the gay community fought police harassment in San Francisco's Tenderloin district in 1966—three years before the highly recognized riot at the Stonewall Inn bar in NYC.

"I wrote 'Stilettos and Steel' as a thank you note to God for coming out of the Tenderloin alive and to honor my fallen comrades who did not make it out,”-- Jeri Estes.

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Article Author: Jim Straz

Jim “Straz” Strzalkowski, a stalwart in the media industry, grew up in Buffalo, NY and attended All Saints School, Hutch Tech and then Niagara University. Eventually Jim moved to NYC where he attended Manhattan Metropolitan College and received an MBA in Media Management. …

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