I’m not sure exactly how to write about this, or what I want to say, so we’ll see how it goes as I type on here. Let me say that I am just me, and these are my personal thoughts and opinions. I know there are many varying views, and I don’t know that any particular one of them is “right” or “wrong”. And let me say up front that I love and support my trans friends and allies, and I always will.
Caitlyn Jenner. She has been the woman of the week in the news, her doing the cover of Vanity Fair, and doing television interviews and stories about her coming out, and she’s been talked about in many of the blogs that I have been reading too. Friends have asked me what I think about it all. because who better to ask than the local Butch lesbian about this? ha! I think it’s comical that when anything happens in the news concerning any kind of LGBT issue that people come off with the strangest questions to us just because they see us standing under the umbrella of LGBT.
It’s been a strange couple of weeks watching as Bruce Jenner disappears and Caitlin Jenner emerges on the cover of Vanity fair…and sort of as a sex goddess of a kind. Annie Lebowitz’s photography is amazing, and I am glad it was she who got to shoot these photos, good choice Caitlin. Coupled with your association with names of fame, from Kardashain to Jenner, from Bruiser to Caitlin, the choice to reveal Caitlin as this impeccably groomed prima donna cannot be outdone, in my opinion.
I’m not sure how I feel about all of this. That is my answer to my questioning straight* friends. I give straight the asterisk because I am not even sure about that anymore! What defines straight now? It’s all become so confusing, all of the terms and words have changed, all of the prerequisites seem to have changed too.
What does it mean to be a woman now? How is it defined? And who gets to define it? I used to think that being a woman is shaped by a certain kind of experience living as a gendered individual, among a community (women) who share those accrued experiences, both positive and sadly many times negative. It’s always been a sort of uphill battle to survive as a woman in this world of inequality. And now it seems that there is some re-defining force at work that is trying like hell to change everything. I’m just not sure what to think anymore. I guess I have many more conversations to have and reading to be done to figure some of this out.
I do realize that I am walking a thin, thin line between female and male I know. I am often mis-gendered as a male and it doesn’t bother me. When I am gendered properly as a female I know instantly that I have taken second place somehow. Women have always been made to feel inferior to men. It’s been that way since caveman days. It’s a weird feeling, and one I struggle with daily many times. Some days it pisses me off, and some days I don’t really care one way or the other. I am just me in this world, just me.
I read and watch on TV all of this stuff about “living in the wrong body”. This is something, that as a non-trans person I could and can never understand. I don’t know what that feeling is like, nor do I claim to know as I have never felt that I was in the wrong body, but I did not like my breasts, so I had them reduced drastically. My chest is flat now, and my body feels right to me. I am a woman. I suffered all of the things that women suffer through gender experience, including the push to be more “feminine” at times. I never wanted to be male, but I never liked being “feminine” either. As someone said recently somewhere that I read “nail polish wears off”. This sounds weird to me, because I think that who one IS doesn’t wear off. I look into the mirror every morning and I see a masculine Butch woman, raised female by experience and culture. I see the scars of living in this female body; one that belongs to me, and is unquestionably the right one for me. The scars of living in the wrong body are more invisible to people, and I am not sure what that looks like.
I look at the photos of Caitlin now and it’s amazing. What can money not do? According to the photographs I have seen she is strikingly beautiful. From the perfect hair to the perfect waist and ample feminine cleavage. It’s hard not to be jealous in a way, she has achieved that perfect female/feminine body; the body that she wants and feels comfortable in from what I am reading/hearing. This is something many women work a lifetime to get through a variety of sometimes wild and occasionally means (i.e. botox and illegally performed surgeries/procedures). Caitlin chose professionally treatments and surgeries to bring out her feminine side. I, myself, chose surgical procedure to be less feminine. Funny what we will all do to achieve our goals. And how vastly our goals are from one another in this world. Everyone has their own agenda and desires, and everyone should be able to act on those desires if they are able. I feel lucky that I was able to get my chest surgery done, and I always feel happy for other Butches who get it done and like me feel it was the best thing they ever did to improve their body image and divert some dysphoria. And I feel the pain for those who want it done and can’t yet get there.
Now these are all just my musings; thoughts and opinions of a very socially isolated Butch. I wish I had someone who could explain many of my questions to me, and help me better understand not only this but myself as well.
Jamie (A boy and her dog) recently attended a conference (see blog) and speaks about this social isolation. I don’t know why some of us socially isolate. I know for me it’s partially because I now live in an area where there is no real LGBT community to speak of. Those that are here are partnered up, settled down and don’t really interact with one another in any type of organized atmosphere, i.e. there are no gay bars, no clubs and no recreation centers or LGBT organized events. For the first time there is going to be a Gay Pride festival here at the end of this month, WOW! That is actually exciting to me, and I am sure to many others in my area. I am planning to go, and I know I will run into many people that I used to see years back at the bars (when there were some here!) and on the softball fields (lesbian cruising spots). If U-haul were smart they would run a special on local moving trucks for the following week! I wonder if they ever considered having a booth at the Gay Pride festivals? Now, that’s a funny thought! (hahahaha!)
At the end of the blog Jamie says: “I need to stop apologizing for identifying as both butch and transgender. I need to stop apologizing for not having it all figured out..” This line caught my thought process by surprise. I do this too. And I need to stop and realize that maybe no one has it “all figured out” ever. We are all just works in progress. Maybe we are all just like worker ants building and rebuilding ourselves daily; doing what has to be done. Everyone’s brand of Butch is different, and as the world turns it seems to get more and more difficult to decipher where the lines get drawn sometimes.
I have actually been working on my own social isolation alot in recent weeks. And have reached out to quite a few friends lately. I am blessed to have some awesome people in my life, that’s for sure. I’m pleased that I can call them friends and that I feel valued by them. I’m going to join a couple of them for Boston’s Pride this Saturday, which should be loads of fun! I’m sure I will come back with many photos and a story or two to tell next week. I am going to meet my friends in Amesbury and take the T in to the city, that way no searching for parking or looking for the “lost car” at 1 am when we are trying to find our way out of the city! I’ve done that before, it’s not fun! haha!