There’s an entire world of publishing dedicated to LGBT issues, many, many authors, books and resources. I was giving a list of books to someone special and it made me think about lesbian publishing and books that many of us read. Of course there are copious lists of hundreds of books by Cleis Press, Columbia, Random House, Vintage, Harrington, and Seal…just to name a few publishing houses…as well as many released privately and now with self publishing you can read even more authors. I will talk about a few of my personal favorites here.
Every lesbian I have known has always either read or had a copy of Stone Butch Blues by Leslie Feinberg. It was the epitomy of the Butch lesbian cultural writing for many years. Then along came more recently written works like Butch is a Noun by S. Bear Bergman, and One in Every Crowd, Persistence, and Missed Her by Ivan E. Coyote just to name a couple of my favorite authors. Ivan’s latest with Rae Spoon as co-author is Gender Failure…a very striking compilation of Butch to Trans writings. Ivan walks that line so thinly and I can really relate to their writings. I know my own personal reading selection is skewed by the fact that I am Butch, so I am more apt to read Butch centric writings and musings, as well as write from that same angle myself.
There are all of the erotica books. Some compiled and edited by Tristan Toarmino – which are generally my favorites. I like Tristan’s choice of stories in her compilations such as “Take Me There” Ooolala hottt trans and genderqueer erotica for sure. The Harder She Comes by DL King is a great compilation of Butch/Femme erotica and equally as hot.
There are more informational books like Nobody Passes, by Mattilda or Gender Outlaw by Kate Bornstein, as well as The Lives of Transgender People by Genny Beemyn and Susan Rankin. And I could list a dozen others on the topics of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender studies.
Personally I love to read. I read online, I read printed books, I read magazines, and newspapers. Anything I can get my hands on that interests me I will read. I think my love of reading (and writing) comes from childhood and being taught to love books by my mother, grandmother and various teachers and mentors throughout my upbringing. I’ve always treasured the printed book. While I have pared down my own collection of hard copy books over the last few years, generally related to having to move them when I would move, I have kept and maintain quite a nice collection of LGBT literature and I often will recommend or loan out books of this type.
When I first came stronger into my Butch identity I read as many of these books as I could consume. I would take what made sense to me and leave the rest. It was enpowering to read about strong Butch women like myself; women who felt like me and looked like me. It was also reassuring to know there are women who love women like me…that worried me for a while at first. I had heard the old “…why not date a guy..?” statement one too many times when people would refer to Butch identified people like myself. So of course as I was truly coming into who I am it concerned me that it may be more difficult to find a partner who enjoys female masculinity as I represent it. I now know this was a pretty dumb thought, but hey, it did occur to me that I may remain single forever.
It’s not always easy to be Butch in this world. And growing up Butch wasn’t easy either, there were few books or role models when I was growing up in the 70’s…the early 80’s when I hit adulthood and discovered sex, the only reading you had were Forum magazine and various porn that was lesbian friendly. I laugh at how much of that trash we would read back then. Being Butch in today’s world is a little easier but still difficult. It’s sometimes a daily thing to be given weird looks when I am in public places, to get those looks of wonder – where they are wondering my gender identity.
It can be uncomfortable at times, but I have also found that the more relaxed I am and the more confident I am with people that the more comfortable I can make them, thus the more relaxed I am in general. I understand that my presentation probably fascinates some people, and they just can’t help themselves in giving me that look…either way, I am comfortable with myself, thus all is good in my world. I just am who I am and as long as my comfort level is secure in my own being Butch then those around me appear to be much more accepting.
Today is Thanksgiving Day here in the US and I am off to eat turkey dinner with my family. I hope everyone has a great day! Looking forward to watching parades on TV, football, Mimosas and great food, fun, and people! ~Peace~ MB