Role Models

So, I got up on Monday and made the decision in my head to drag my ass out of the stupid funk that I had gotten into, change my attitude and to have a good week.  And…it worked.  I’ve been very upbeat all week.  And tonight I even invited my parents over to my place for a small backyard cookout.  It was awesome.  They even seemed to relax and enjoy themselves.  The place looks mighty good, and they were pretty impressed with all the work I have done and how it looked.  That made me very proud and put a big smile on my face.

For my whole life I have been trying to please my father.  I don’t know why; perhaps it’s because he is my father and I have the utmost respect for the man.  As a young person I envied him, emulated him and secretly wanted to be just like him.  Of course I was too young to understand all that that really entailed – like now I know I don’t want to be just like him.  He’s politically my polar opposite, and I could never go there.  But as a man of principles and eithics I always put him on a pedestal and tried to live up to what he wanted…or what I thought that he wanted from me.  In my 30’s I realized this constant need to please my father had been a real problem for me all of my life.  Therapy opened that door for me and taught me a lot.  Yet, still today it gives me much pleasure when he is pleased with me for some reason.  I’m sure the therapist would have a lot to say about it still.  I also fear the man immensely.  I fear his anger, his disapproval and his hate.  I avoid him most of the time, but there is a part of me that would really like to be closer to the guy.  It’s an emotional rollercoaster for me, one I am sure I will continue to deal with until the end.

Role models are important to young people.  When I was growing up I had my parents as role models.  Like any child I watched them intently and copied those things that I admired in them.  My Dad was a super strong dude, a Marine, then a cop, then a builder and business owner.  He is the epitomy of masculinity.  As a youngster I already understood that I was attracted to women, I thought at the time that I was supposed to be a boy and some mistake had been made.  I felt like a boy.  I acted like a boy.  I tried to copy the masculine traits of my father.  Many times I remember standing in the bathroom door watching him shave.  Is there really anything more masculine than shaving your face?  I think not.  Each pass of the razor over his face would make this “szzzh” sound as whiskers yielded under the sharp blade.  I always wanted to shave…to make that sound and feel the razor on my skin.  Of course, this desire kind of dissipated as I grew older.  I eventually became aware that I am female and that wasn’t going to change, but that I could still be as masculine as I felt and that it’s okay to just be me.

I get notes from younger LGBT people occasionally talking about how they need good role models in their lives.  Often these kids are secluded in more rural parts of the country where there isn’t a visible gay community of any kind for them to reach out to.

I sympathize with them because when I was growing up I didn’t have any other lesbians around me to reach out to either.  Always knowing that I was different from the other girls I hung out with, and hiding it like hell.  I wish that I had had role models, that I could have come out at a younger age and not had to go through all the crap that I put myself through when I was struggling with my own sexuality, thinkin I was going to hell and that I was some kind of freak.  It would have helped me to know that I wasn’t alone in the world, like I felt I was.

In today’s world we have the opportunity to BE good role models for those young LGBT people coming up behind us.  They are watching us.  They want to know what to do, how to do it and what needs to be done.  They want to carry on the legacy, the pride and the fight for equality.  We need to be aware of them; encourage them and nurture them.  It is our job to show them the way and to explain to them where we have been; where we came from.  We need to remember that the world has become more open than it ever was when we were growing up and coming into our own as adults.  There are new dangers out there now with the internet and globalization of things.  But there are still the old dangers too…the hate, the hippocracy, the homophobia and the violence.  Keep them alert, aware and yet don’t embed them with unnecessary fear of being themselves.

We each have a story, a history, and a way of being in this crazy world, it’s important to pass that knowledge on to the future.  In being role models we need to tell our stories, tell how we dealt with things, how hard it was and how rewarding it is.  We need to pass on the pride of the LGBT community; pride in overcoming so many obstacles and in living loving lives despite much of the world being against us.  And show them that you can lead a great, productive and contributing life no matter who you identify as.

So that is what I think about when I think about being a role model to younger LGBT individuals.  I want our community to be more cohesive, to come together and to be a stronger voice for all.  And I want those who are younger to realize that community is important and supporting one another is vital to our mutual survival.  What do you think?  Are you being a good role model for those who look up to you in life?

Peace.  ~MB

Our Stories…an inspired post

I have been blogging now for so many years that I really have to stop and research when I first started…I think it was sometime around 2005 that I first started blogging on AOL.  It’s been a good amount of years for sure.  I printed out all of my AOL blogs when I stopped using AOL, so I have them in printed form – just not in digital form.  I am thinking about this because I have been reading MiddleAgeButch’s blogs on writing our stories, which are really excellent blogs!

Telling our stories is an important thing, especially to leave marks on the history of the LGBT community.  I write because I love to write; it’s an outlet for me and if I can tell my story and it helps even one person along the way then I will have made a small difference in the world.  Everyone has their story.  I have mine and you have yours.  Sometimes we can relate to each other through our life stories; finding common threads and experience.  We can all be storytellers.

My story is about growing up feeling very “different” and not understanding exactly why until I became more aware of sex and sexuality.  Then it hit me that I was lesbian.  I remember looking the word up in the dictionary. “Ah Ha! That’s me”  My story is about holding that secret very closely, with a lot of fear and anxiety, for many years.  It’s about coming out in a time when it wasn’t cool to be gay.  And about life before we knew what HIV &  AIDS were, never realizing that life was about to completely change for so many of us.  Some chapters are about dealing with emotions and feelings in all the wrong ways, about drinking, drugs and wandering in the wrong directions.  Then you get to chapters of growth, acceptance and realization.  All of the stories of my life have brought me to where I am today.  And today is a good day.

I love reading the other author’s blogs on WordPress.  There really are some super writers on here.  I follow quite a number of them, and while I don’t get to read every entry every day, I do catch up with my favorites every week or so.  Some I do read daily when I can.

I think it’s really great that so many LGBT people have taken to blogging and writing down our stories for the world to read.  It’s important to the coming generations to be able to find us through our stories and to understand the history of our people.  I know it has been life changing for me, in many ways, to read the stories of those who fought this battle before me, of the Stonewall Riots, the Butch-femme histories of the early 20th century.  I always look to read as much from other Butch-femme lesbians as I can.  Some of my favorite reads are “Stilettos and Steel,” “Stone Butch Blues”, and “Butch is a Noun” and “Tomboy Survival Guide”…all of which are stories that address various periods and what it’s been like being Butch during them.  All have made great contributions to the history of the LGBT movement, in my opinion, and I would highly recommend them to young readers looking to know more about our history.

I was also reading another blog about people we admire and the qualities that they typify that we admire in them.  I found it to be really intriguing.  So I made my own lists of people that I admire in my life, and what I admire about them.  Because those are the qualities that I want to have myself, to make myself a better person.  I think it’s important to occasionally take a personal inventory of ourselves and do some hard thinking about how we are presenting to the world around us, and if it’s enough or if we need to tweak things up and make some changes.  Changes are not always easy, but they are a necessity in life.  AND you can always make the choice to change.

So I made a copious list of the qualities and traits that I personally want to have.  I am going to post it on my desktop where I can see it everyday and be reminded to live up to them.  I’ll let you all know how it goes.  I like to think that I already have many of these qualities, but it’s good to remind oneself.

I was talking with someone today about how everything happens for a reason.  I think that’s kind of a lame old line actually, but there is some truth to it I am sure.  Where I am in life today is exactly where I have put myself.  You get no more than what you put into something.  I’m pretty contented, but will always strive to make things better, and to be a better person for it all.

What makes me think of all of this is a very close friend who is having some really tough times right now and conversations that I had today with her.  She’s saying crazy things like “I’m done.” and “I am giving up.”  Words that scare me into thinking she’ll do something crazy.  I would be devastated if anything were to happen to her.  She’s very special to me, and someone I depend on in my life.  Right now she’s having some financial troubles and I am sure she’s feeling overwhelmed and under a lot of pressure because of it.  I am not in a position to help her out or loan her the money, which makes me feel bad.  I wish I could help her in some way other than just giving her advice and trying to help her get through it.

I want her to look at her life and see all of the positives and not just the current negatives.  I know it’s hard when the negatives are staring you right in the face though.  I been there too.  But you can’t just give up and throw in the towel.  You have to work things out, and sometimes it’s hard and you don’t want to do the work, I know, but it has to be done.  Hopefully she will get some rest tonight and will have a new outlook in the morning.  I am hoping that she will come by for coffee in the morning so that I know she’s okay.

It’s all part of the story of our lives…these day to day happenings and problems.  Hopefully better things come in the future.

 

 

 

 

The Gender Revolution?

It used to be so much more simple!  It used to be that you were either gay or straight, period.  Or at least that is how it was in my world growing up in the 60’s/70’s and partying my ass off in the gay bars in the 80’s…it used to be easier I believe.  I’m not knocking anyone’s gender or orientation choice here, just saying that it’s gotten VERY confusing for me.  I was just reading this article on npr.org titled “A New Generation Overthrows Gender” by Jon Brooks.  It was posted on Facebook, thus I clicked the link and knew I was in a world of word trouble immediately. 

First word I came across that is fairly new to me is “agender” – which according to the article means neither ale nor female.  The particular person in the article used the pronoun “they” instead of he or she.  Ok, so I am really, really trying to be okay with this.  I am really trying not to be internally phobic, or form an immediate opinion – because I know I don’t like it when people do that to me.  BUT I just don’t get it. 

Second word I came across related to this is “Transgender”.  Thank God.  A word that I know and can understand to some degree.  Transgender meaning someone who has changed from one gender to the opposite gender.  Transitioned.  More on this later. 

Third hurdle here “gender-fluid”…which means (according to kid in the article) that you feel like a guy or girl at different times.  I can somewhat relate to this.  There are definitely times for me that I get this twinge of feeling like a girl, but normally I just feel like a guy – although I know I’m a girl.  Confused yet? 

Fourth stumper “non-binary gender” meaning not female and not male according to the binary gender scale.  I’ll see if I can locate a picture of that old scale before I publish this.  But it’s like if you give Female a 1 and Male a 10, and you rate where in the scale you may fall or feel that you fall. 

Near the end of the article they bring up “gender non-conforming” – which I can definitely fully relate to.  I am one who does not conform to the gender norms of female.

And of course we have the weird word “cisgender” meaning you identify as you were sexed at birth – either male or female.   

Then it dives into Gender Vs. Sexual orientation Vs. biology….yes, it gets very in-depth for a minute here:

“Gender identity is different from gender expression, being different from biology” says Adam Chang, a consultant with Gender Spectrum, a provider or gender identity resources and services in Berkeley, CA.  “Identity is what you know in your heart and mind, and expression is external – hair, makeup, roles you take on in society.

“Biology of course, means physical attributes that have always been used as a proxy for gender,” Chang says.  “And all of those are different from sexual orientation.”

((HOLY SHIT BATMAN!))

Chang goes on to put it this way:  “Sexuality is in and of itself not enough information to reveal a person’s gender identity.”

I am 55 years old.  I am Butch.  I have said before that Butch is my identity.  Lesbian is my sexuality. Female is my gender.  Even THAT feels confusing at times.  I’m SURE it is confusing to those who don’t know me, or anyone like me.  Simply put, I’m a Butch Lesbian.  Lesbians are women (females) who prefer relationships with other women (females).  Or so it is in my world today.  There are so many new words that I can’t possibly keep up anymore.  Especially living in rural America where most of my contact with the rest of the LGBT world is via the internet.  Where we have no real “formed community” to fall back on or to learn alongside. 

I have seen a LOT lately about our youth and transitioning genders.  It worries me a little because the human brain is not fully developed until around the age of 25.  This is part of why we make so many stupid choices and dumb decisions when we are in our teens.  I’m afraid that if kids (under 21) are looking at things like transitioning physically with surgery and drugs that they will be doing things that are not reversible in their young futures.  AND I personally just don’t think they are old enough to be doing things like surgery or hormones. 

THAT is my personal opinion on it.  I understand that we are seeing a sort of “gender revolution” happening, that kids have access to all sorts of information that we did not have when I was growing up.  I never even knew the word “transgender” existed or that people could even change genders if they wanted to.  Sure, I was a tomboy, and there were times I am sure that I wished I was a boy, but I am happy with being a woman today and who know what I would have done had I known or had the means as a kid to change my gender.  It would have been a tough one for me I bet.  So, in many ways I am happy to have grown up when I did before all of this revolution and changing stuff came to the surface. 

I have young female friends who are considering transition.  One, in particular that I am thinking about.  I have been trying to be a good Butch role model and influence, answering questions and being a bouncing board for her venting.  But she is edging closer and closer to transitioning.  She’s now 17, I’m just not convinced that she should make that kind of a life altering decision before she’s 25.  Now, saying that I don’t see any harm in her presenting as she wishes.  I am just against early surgery or hormones. 

I know some will disagree with me.  It’s the elephant in the room sometimes even.  I am not anti-trans, and I have many trans friends who I love dearly for exactly who they are.  I respect their choices and decisions.  But most of them that I know made those decisions in adulthood, not in a pre-pubescent fog of “who am I?” or on a whim to fit in with the “in” crowd, or do the new fun thing. 

My fear is that the kid does this, transitions, and then at 25 the kid looks at every adult in her life and gets very angry at them for not stopping things until she was really old enough to make that kind of life-altering decision.  Know what I mean?  Adults are supposed to protect kids from themselves; from making irreversible mistakes, and what if transitioning turned out to be just that mistake that the kid makes and regrets at maturity?  I would hate to be in those shoes. 

Kids are maturing way faster than ever in todays world.  Information travels at lightening speed through the internet and across the world wide web.  We know things that we never knew, and probably never would have known, had it not been for the interenet – some good and some bad.  I think it’s great to explore sexuality and gender and to discuss our views based on the information at hand.  I just hope these kids today are doing their research and not just following a fad that could leave indelible marks.

The rest of the article goes on to talk about suicide rates (40% of trans-identified people attempt suicide), sexuality, and society.  It seems that while many more people are adopting identities of various names across the gender spectrum, that fewer are actually physically transitioning now.  Perhaps that is because we are making it okay to be who you are without having to completely change your body.  All in all it’s a very good article that everyone should take 20 minutes to read and gain some knowledge from.  I do think it’s very cool that kids are encouraged to live as their authentic selves, to express themselves and to be who they ARE in the world.   

So, check out the article and let me know what YOU think.  Peace.  ~MB

This is a highly controversial topic and I respect that everyone has their own opinions and views.  Please be respectful of everyone reading if you comment, which I invite you to do, below. 

Identity Complexity

“How do we bridge who we become with who we were?”

“Remember who you wanted to be”  quoted from a bumper sticker I saw yesterday

“Language sets expectations”

I seem to be running into all of these one-liners that are basically alluding to identity and I find this very interesting.

I have also had some conversation surrounding identity and how we embody it, about the multiple pieces of a person and how they make up the whole.

Also, in writing about intersectionality it spurred me to think about all of the things that make up me; all of those pieces, and how they all fit together with each other.  It’s hard to figure out which piece goes in what order when you start listing all of those aspects of yourself out.  Like, what comes first, what is your first identity?  Of course we all know that it’s your sex.  When you are born they automatically declare “it’s a Girl!” or “it’s a Boy!” and God forbid they can’t figure THAT out, then all hell breaks loose I would imagine.

So if our first identity is our sex, whether we are male or female, then our second identity would be what color we are – am I right?  Those will be the first things noticed about you when you are first seen, what sex and what color.  So, I started life as a white girl.  Oh but wait, wee what I did there…I listed white first.  So is my color or my sex predominant?

I read a lot about “white privilege”, so I think that your color is the predominant first identity.  Even in common conversation we tend to go to color first, like “the black kitten” not “the kitten black”  Am I making sense?  I am thinking this through as I write…so bear with me here.

Identity, as we know, changes over the course of life.  That’s just how it works.  There are some things that don’t change, like your color/race.  But we do go from being “girl” to being a “woman” at a certain age, and we develop into people with various other identities to tack onto the ones we start with.  Once you decide your sexual preference, there’s that.  So, now I am a white woman lesbian.  Jesus, this can be super complicated.

At one time in my life I was a soldier.  And thus that was part of my identity.  Now I am a former soldier, or a veteran.  At one time I identified as a Republican (go figure, it’s true though) but now I identify as independent in political thinking, leaning toward Democrat. I now identify as a Butch lesbian, but remember there is no singular experience of an identity.  So my Butch will be different from your Butch, maybe subtly or maybe starkly, but it will definitely be different.  People are all different, no two are ever exactly alike.

There are identities in class and socio-economic status too.  I’ve always identified as middle class, grew up that way and have maintained that middle class socio-economic status – although some days I feel poor as fuck, I know I do have privilege as middle-class.

This all brings me back to line one of this blog: How do we bridge who we become with who we were?  We all build history in our lives.  Years ago I was a hard-core drug addict.  Today, while I still fight the demons of addiction, I am not what I was once upon a time by any means.  I have evolved, grown, learned and improved in that area of my life and identity.  I think back to when I identified as a more conservative Republican and what that was all about.  I was in the military, perhaps I was sort of brain washed by the military machine.  Today I am much more concerned with social justice and equality than I was back then.

So, there are all of these pieces of ourselves that come together neatly – or so we hope – to make up who we become; who we are today.  Who knows what new pieces will be added to make up who we will be tomorrow, or next week.  Good thing is that as human beings, with very complex brains, we do have the ability to make concerted efforts and to make choices, thus we do have influence on what happens with our decisions.

These are all the pieces of my identity that intersect to make me ME:  A white Butch lesbian woman, independent, Methodist, working-class, HIV+, recovering addict, American, introvert, avg. intelligence, physically disabled, outspoken, employed, mobile, compassionate, activist…hell, the list can go on I suppose.

Like I said, I’ve been thinking about all of this because of the word intersectionality.  So, I’ve been thinking about the way the world sees me.  Not how you or my family sees me but how I am seen statistically.  (But then it is interesting to wonder about how my closer contacts identify me, too.)

Then I think about how the word is used when speaking about oppression, domination and discrimination.  Of course, I am already considered a 2nd class citizen because of the mere fact that I am female.  Men want and do dominate our world unfortunately.  Women will always fight male domination and oppression, I do not foresee a time when that will not be a fact in my lifetime.

Just this last week it was a full panel of MEN that were gathered and deciding on women’s health issues during the Trumpcare debacle.  Not one woman on that panel or in that room!  THAT, my friends, is fucking oppression and male domination at it’s finest – or worst I should say.  Why is it that men think they can or should ever be deciding on women’s health/body issues?  Where do they get the idea that it is THEIR job or duty to tell women what to do with their own bodies, or what is/isn’t going to be covered by insurance.  Insurance covers Viagra, so equally it should cover contraceptives.  Fair is fair in my book.  But not in the “book of men” I suppose.  No man should ever be making a woman’s decision for her. Ever.  That panel should have been ALL WOMEN.

I will leave you with  a quick question, which of your identities expose you to the most oppression, domination or discrimination?  Drop me a quick comment below and let’s talk a little about this.  I’m very interested to know what you think.

Peace!  ~MB

 

 

 

 

 

Early Morning Rantings!

Once again I am awakened at 2am, just am not meant to sleep like a normal person should right now.  I wake up and I am just…up…no going back to sleep in the immediate future.

I had a really great conversation with a great woman that I have been talking to lately.  It wasn’t an easy chat at all, but it was good for both of us I believe.  I confided in her a good bit about my addiction history, and she didn’t go running away like a scared cat. Addiction is not an easy topic to navigate and I admire her for her inquisitiveness on the topic, as it is a big part of who I am and why I am.  I look forward to more conversations with her, about everything.  She is someone I very much want to keep in my life.  🙂

Today was a bit hectic, but seriously productive. I worked til 1pm and then got together with my best friend and went to do our Friday afternoon errands around town.  Every Friday we have a ritual of doing this.  It’s called living paycheck to paycheck.  We get paid, go out and pay our bills, do the shopping for our respective households and take care of whatever else needs doing in town.  It is a struggle sometimes, but I make it work somehow.  And I realize that there are millions of others who are making it work this way as well.  It’s not easy in today’s economy or job market to do it any other way – especially if you don’t have a college education to fall back on, which I don’t.  Sometimes it feels likeI am always trying to play catch up on things, but hey, that’s just how it is.  I do alright.

I visited Trader Joe’s grocery this afternoon, I love that place!  I actually requested an employment application when I was checking out, and the woman who checked me out told me it was a super great place to work.  Everyone in there seems pretty pleasant and happy to be there, so they must enjoy the job.  I love the diversity of people in the place, from old hippies, to housewives, to young dykes, it’s just a palate of different people. They must have a really good company equality policy.  I am going to research the company a bit just to be sure that I would be a good fit there.

I also visited Staples office supply store on my excursion about town.  I needed a ream of copy paper.  They had a really good deal on some excellent quality paper that I had to take advantage of!  That is another place I could picture myself working.  Although a bit more “stuffy” than Trader Joe’s eclectic atmosphere, it would be fun.  I was in the corporate business world for many years and used to frequent the place quite a bit for supplies for my company.  I imagine working with people who were doing the same thing would be right up my alley in skill sets. And being the techno nerd that I am, I can imagine I would probably reinvest in the company and that might not be a good idea!  I’d be buying stuff like crazy.

Meanwhile, in Trumpy-land the Twitterverse is running wild with Trumpy stuff.  This Russian connection thing is really getting out of hand, Jeff Sessions needs to resign and a full investigation needs to ensue.  It just has to happen to put this subject into some sort of understandable terms. I was Tweeting with a friend in Texas who is petrified right now.  Being our age and queer isn’t going to be an easy path under Trump as he keeps going along with ripping away our rights and equalities.  It’s also just plain scary as an American, not withstanding being a part of the LGBTQ community!   Everyone seems to feel the impending doom of being attacked in some way by all of the executive orders and wild things that Trump and his team are doing or proposing to do.  I know I’m fucking scared.

Living in Maine has some pretty unique advantages.  Where I live especially because geographically it’s a great spot.  Right between Boston Mass, and Portland Maine.  I can be at the beach in 5 minutes, in the White Mountains in less than an hour and to either of the two cities in about 45 minutes.  Geographically it’s fucking perfection.  Maine also has a good equality rating. I just read an article in the Bangor Daily News about Maine being at the top when it comes to gender equality.  We also have good protections for the LGBTQ citizens here too.  I am glad that I live in this type of state.  From personal experience I can say that there IS really good gender equality.  Maine women are a fierce and tough lot.  Especially those from “down” Maine, which is actually upstate Maine…it’s a Maine thing…those women are hardened by the lifestyle of living in a very rural state, where you have to be fairly tough to survive.  I live in the more populated area, it’s a bit easier to navigate life here, but my cousins are down Mainers’ and they are not to be messed with.  The women are equal to the men up there in so many ways, they do equal work and expect equal pay. And truth be known, I believe they run the whole fucking show!  I have a healthy respect for my down Maine women cousins. They take no prisoners.

I hope your weekend is a great one!  Signing off from southern Maine….Peace!  ~MB

 

Rules Don’t Apply: Being Butch

butch-name-tag

I am Butch.  A Butch who loves femme women in particular and a member of the Butch-femme community; a community that struggles in today’s politically correct sort of world.  We are more often than not, ostracized for “copy catting or aping” heteronormativity.  My partner is asked why she feels the “need” to be so feminine, and I am grilled about my “wanting to be a man” by those that just don’t understand the Butch-femme dynamics or lifestyle.

Within my own community I find people telling me I should just “transition and get over it” when that is the furthest thing from my mind.  They seem to think that I must “want” to be a guy, because I look and act in more masculine ways.  The truth is that I love being Butch.  I am not afraid of my female parts.  Since I have had chest surgery I am much more comfortable in this female based body.  Sure, I hated my boobs when I had them, but that didn’t mean I had to transition.  Many lesbians, like me, are uncomfortable with their breasts – even some that don’t identify as Butch!  I was just lucky enough to be able to do something about my upper body dysphoria and have the surgery I had wanted for all my life.  I am fine with my body now; I’m flat chested and happy.  I am fine with my masculine appearance and my butch ways.

See, the rules don’t apply to me.  I have chosen to live outside the definitive lines of the gender binary.  I don’t prescribe to much of anything that would label me a girl/woman/female person.  As well as I don’t identify as a male person.  I fall somewhere in the middle of that scale, a gray area where I embody the best of both worlds.  It’s a comfortable place for me, mentally and physically.  I lean hard toward the masculine end of the spectrum, by pure nature.  I was born this way; born Butch.   It’s the only place I fee comfortable, safe and seen.

I am pretty stereotypically Butch.  I dress like a guy, talk like a guy (thanks to the US Army and smoking I have a pretty deep and rough voice) and I embody most things masculine in nature.  I’ve even been told that I think like a dude.  I am not very emotional and I rarely cry….all things that people believe are stereo typical of most Butch women. That tough exterior and rough attitude everyone believes we have. I like to think that Butch is my actual gender, that I am neither man nor woman, but somewhere in between and we call that “Butch” in my world.  In my world Butch is a noun.

I am often mistaken for a guy.  I get called “sir” and “dude” all the time, and it doesn’t bother me.  It often makes me smile, like I have some sort of secret.  I wear my Butch like a scarlet letter, prominent and proud.  I walk the walk and talk the talk so to speak. And it embarrasses me when people who I am with will try to correct those who mis-gender me; somehow it’s easier for me to just shrug it off and laugh to myself. I get a kick out of it.

I feel bad for my friends who are femme lesbians.  They are so invisible. Usually being seen as “straight” all the time.  Only we see each other; we seem to recognize each other somehow.  I know that it must be hard for her when she’s told that she can’t be a lesbian because she’s too pretty, or she hears the dreaded “why do you date girls that look like guys, why not just date a guy instead?”  As Butches and femmes we hear these types of comments, or get these questions, quite often.   I’ve heard some brilliant answers to them over the years.  But it never ceases to amaze me when someone feels so emboldened as to ask such personal stuff.  And it’s always so disappointing to hear it from anyone who identifies with the LGBT community, that just feels like a true back-stab. You would think that they, if anyone, would understand that we are all unique and we all like different things; differing lifestyles and have various tastes.

So when I lace up my Chippewa work boots and tug on that worn old ball cap over my closely cropped crew cut hair, I definitely look the part that I gleefully embody:  Butch to the core.  And loving it. I blur the lines of the gender binary and I am comfortable in my own skin, being authentically who I am, and I never want to change that.

Peace.   ~MB

Great Books

I went to the local Barnes & Noble bookstore tonight to order Tomboy Survival Guide by Ivan E. Coyote and had the luck that the bookstore had been overrun by a local kids band that was playing Christmas carols on the platform of the magazine section. They had the place completely mobbed.  I did, however, manage to get the book ordered and should be getting a call from the store in a few days when it’s in for me to pick it up.  I’m looking forward to reading this new book by Ivan.  I’ve thoroughly enjoyed all of the other books written by Ivan and can’t say enough about them.

Most recently I read Stilettos & Steel by Jeri Estes, which was one of my all time favorite books!  It’s a Butch/femme romance and action book.  Set in the 60’s in San Franscisco complete with mob influence and seedy nightlife.  I found it to be a very easy and quick read.  Although it could have had a bit more sex, still it was really good and kept me quite interested from beginning to end.  The book is based on a true story and Jeri Estes really brings it!

I am always on the lookout for new books to read, especially about the LGBT culture and stories of living in our community.  I feel like they are becoming harder and harder to find as the internet takes over our visual fields and minds.  When was the last time you read a good book?  I mean really sat down and read it from front to back?  I know that before Stilettos & Steel it had been quite a while for me.  I pick up my daily reading now from my laptop, like most other people today.  I tend to look to people like Cleis Publishing – who publish a wide variety of  books from LGBT authors – for most of my reading list.

What is on your reading list?  Have you read any good books that you can recommend?