Butch Stuff

Tomboy to Butch…My Story

Anyone else relate to being a tomboy?  Being trans and being a tomboy / gender non-conforming child often go hand in hand, but often the two are mutually separate…     a question posed by janitorqueer on their blog.

Growing up I constantly fought with my parents over my clothing choices, they wanted me to dress in girl clothes and I wanted boy clothing. From as early as I can remember, probably about 4-5 yrs old, I would always go for the more boyish looking items in my clothing…the little jeans, the coveralls and t’shirts.  In the summer it was cut off shorts and as boyish a shirt as I could find.  Yes, I was a tomboy for sure.  From the very beginning of my conscious existence I wanted nothing to do with girl things, period.

My parents made me keep long hair until I was about 7.  The summer of that year we moved to Troy New York to an old farm and Mom took us to get hair cuts, I was allowed to cut my hair to a pixie cut….as one can imagine, this did wonders for my ego, as well as my tomboy status.  I was in heaven with that short hair cut.

Was I aware at the time that I was a tomboy?  I’m not sure of that.  I definitely knew that I felt different from the other girls. I didn’t feel like one of them, like a girl at all.  I felt more like a boy, and wanted to be a boy for a long time.  Maybe I never out grew it even.  I loved hanging out with the boys, doing the boy activities like playing Army or cowboys and Indians, apple wars (our farm was a former orchard) and building tree forts.  I could throw a baseball from center field to home plate with no problem, and did I love my sandlot baseball games!!!  I was also leader of the pack so to speak, I would step forward to organize games and activities like a boss.

I think as time went on and I advanced through school grades my tomboy image became more apparent to those around me.  Kids don’t gender each other negatively as much.  But once they begin to form opinions and take on their parents’ prejudices around the age of 10, things change.  It was around then that I really began to notice that my dressing attire was more boyish than the other girls.  I always knew that I was Gay anyway, even way back when I was small my little fantasies were of me and other girls, never of boys.  I would secretly pretend I was going to marry a girl someday.  And my little games of house, where I was always the husband, always included kissing the girl who was my pretend wife.

High school was rough for me.  I was well liked, don’t let me mislead you on that, but I was different.  I was a rough, tough and tumble sort of kid.  I never grew past 5’4″ which I hit my Sophomore year of high school.  I hated girls clothing; loathed it especially bras.  I didn’t like the fact I was developing breasts, and they were a pain in the ass.  My father noticed my dressing habit and insisted that I wear dresses to school 4 days a week (this actually happened in 8th grade), and I could wear pants on Friday if they were girly pants.  I went ballistic as you might imagine.  I even took it so far as to run away from home for 3 days, living in the woods by our information center and having friends bring me food – little bastards also set me up to be captured on the 3rd day!  I wanted to wear jeans, I wanted to dress my own way.  If I had had my choice back then (late 70’s) I would have shopped exclusively in the boys department.

I started to run with a more seedy crowd about then.  I started to smoke cigarettes and pot.  I had dabbled with cigarettes that I used to steal from my parents’ supplies before that, but in high school I started buying my own packs.  I had my own money because I got my first job at 14, my freshmen year, at a small take-out food place and I worked as much as I could. I also started to notice girls, and had several “girl crushes” along the way.

Having my own money source changed things considerably.  It felt good.  My parents were not rich, they were struggling, working class people, trying hard to raise 5 kids and keep the house they owned in one piece.  My Dad was the epitome of manhood.  He worked his ass off at usually 2 jobs, night and day, and was never home.  I was personally petrified of the man.  He had a temper and his lectures were harsh.  Never did he strike us kids, but we were always afraid of his wrath, his restrictions, and his authority.  My mother would say “wait til your father gets home.” And we would literally beg and cry at her not to tell him of our infractions. And my mother was the ultimate working mom, somehow always there when we got home from school days after working all morning.

So, anyway, having my own money around then changed things because I could fund my own growing bad habits, pay for gas for friends cars, and buy some of my own clothes — clothes that I wanted!  It was around this time that I bought my first pair of boots, shit kickers we called them.  They were brown suede hiking boots with red laces.  Thus began my boot fetish.  I was never again without a good pair of boots.  And there were the hip hugger jeans, that my parents hated and I was forbidden to wear to school.  Still I could not wear denium to school, that would last through my senior year.  I was allowed to wear corduroys, which were styled just like Jeans and made by Levi’s even.  I would frequently sneak a pair of jeans to school in my backpack and change before I got to school grounds.

In High School I was in charge of making it to school on my own.  I had 3 choices of getting there.  I could ride the bus with the little kids and get dropped off at the high school, or I could get a ride from my friend Vernon in his cool brown Chevy pick up truck, or I could ride my 10 speed bicycle.  Walking wasn’t an option, as it was several miles to the school and I would never have made it on time.  Although there were many days that I walked home from school after detention period. I usually skipped the bus option, because I could ride with Vern and get stoned on the way in.  The 10 speed was my second choice, and I used to revel in the ride.  It was great first thing in the morning, as the cool sea air made the ride pretty pleasant.  The freedom to be myself was slowly coming to me.

In school I was a troubled kid.  I made B grades though, and some A’s.  I was running with the wild crowd though.  I did try playing sports for a while, but I was a gawky kid.  I didn’t feel like I fit in with the jock crowd at all.  Plus the locker room was a VERY uncomfortable place for me as I was super body conscious.  I gave up sports my sophomore year after the season for softball ended.  The rest of high school I just concentrated on trying to make it through to 18 so I could flee this small town that I lived in.  I tried dating boys, but I hated it because I knew it wasn’t me.  I discovered that the store near the ball field was owned by two “lesbians”….first time I heard that word I knew I was one of them.

I had encouraging teachers at school who knew I was prone to trouble and who seemed to care and tried to keep me busy.  My art teacher encouraged me to love my art work and my English teacher pushed me to write and helped me develop a passion for writing.  My shop teacher loved that I loved wood and metal shop so much that I never skipped his class!  Algebra was an epic fail for me, but consumer math I excelled at and got straight A’s…I could work with accounting but not with X=Y crap.

At this point my typical dressing style was corduroys (per parents) or jeans, a button down shirt and a dark brown corduroy jacket, styled like a jean jacket.  It’s all I could get away with with my parents.  And those glorious hiking boots.  I was fairly happy with this, until the day I got called “lezzie” by one of the guys in my gang.  That day changed things a bit.  He said it because his girlfriend was my best friend and we were both tomboys, hung out together all the time and were inseparable, he got jealous I think, and thus in front of the rest of the gang called us a couple of “Lezzies”…I was mortified and felt so exposed.  I had the typical girl crush on my bestie, but never had I pursued that crush.  That was basically the end of us hanging out together so much.  And the beginning of me realizing that I had to cover my tracks or I would be “found out” that I really was a lesbian.

I graduated from high school at 18 1/2 and was super eager to get out of my parents house.  The drinking age was 18 and on my 18th birthday I had one hell of a party at my house, with my parents permission.  I had taken to hanging out with my buddy Billy, racing around town in his jalopy cars and smoking pot at Dead Duck Inn, which was a park near the water.  I was a hell raiser and bound for trouble.  Billy was safe for me, he liked me I know, but I knew he was too shy to ever try anything and I could be my tomboy self with him.  Still to this day we are friends.  Our parents always thought we would marry, until it became apparent I was lesbian.

After I graduated I went buck wild and moved in with my then boyfriend Christopher.  After a couple of months of drug fueled nights and scary days, and him wanting to have sex and me not wanting to have sex with a guy.  We had a big fight and it turned violent.  I had to flee the house, and I felt that I needed to get out of the small town we lived in quickly.  So I joined the US Army and was a soldier 3 days later.

The Uniforms made me happy, dressed like all the guys.  The boots made me happy, my boot fetish got bigger.  The guns made me happy, and the crawling through the woods and fields, sleeping in foxholes and avoiding sniper fire all made me incredibly happy.  I was a tomboy in my total element, and I loved it.  Those years of sandbox Army were paying off.  I even started playing Army softball, with a bunch of other lesbian identified women.  Some were also tomboys, and some were not.  But most all of them were secretly lesbian, as the Army at that time frowned on women sleeping with women.

There I met my first real lover.  She was a blonde girl from Pennsylvania and was more girly than me, but still not too girly and I liked that.  She complimented my tomboy stature quite well I thought.  She introduced me to sex, gay bars, and Jack Daniels whiskey.  And by this time I had completely discarded any clothing that resembled girly clothing from my wardrobe, except the necessary evil under things.  At that time it wasn’t really known that I could get boxers or boxer briefs and be more comfortable, it just wasn’t done then.  The early 80’s were not fun times for LGBT people, especially those of us in the US military uniform.

Around that time I heard the word “Butch” for the first time….other than as my Dad’s nickname….used to describe the tomboyish women in my Army unit.  And I knew that that word described who I felt that I was…Butch.  I didn’t use the word to identify myself for several more decades, as it was a more derogatory term for quite a long time.  But I always knew it was my true identity.  I didn’t feel female, nor did I feel male. But I was somewhere in that gray area in the middle.  I for years refrained from using it to identify myself.  I was made to feel that my masculine presentation was somehow wrong, even though I was just being me; just being myself.

Years later, decades later actually, I would understand the Butch-Femme dynamic, know the history of my people and be proud to take “Butch” as my gender marker.  Going from easily being called Tomboy to being called Butch was as simple for me as someone going from being called a girl to a woman.   It felt right, it felt strong, and it felt like ME.  I am Butch.

Butch Stuff, Gender Identity

Top Surgery: A Butch Perspective

Picture 227As most of you know I had top surgery on August 18th by Dr. Kimberly Marble at Exeter Hospital in New Hampshire.  I wrote a piece on August 30th about some of the reactions I had received regarding my choice to go ahead with this surgery.  In the month since that post I have noticed that I have gotten quite a large number of emails and messages from other Butch identified lesbians and transguys concerning my surgery, my experience and asking many great questions.  It’s something that there are dozens ways to look at, but every experience has it’s uniqueness.  Because I see this as an opportunity to educate some and re-educate others I will take the entire subject up here disected into digestible pieces.

How long did it take from the time you made your decision until you got your surgery?

I decided in February 2014 that I would pursue top surgery.  I discussed the possibility with my primary care doctor, got a referral to a plastic surgeon and made a therapy appointment all in the same day in February.  But, while I was pursing this I did keep it pretty much under wraps for family reasons, until mid-July when I finally told my family shortly before my second surgeon interview.  Needless to say they were less than pleased, my parents anyways, my sisters were actually more supportive as both had had reductions in the past – just not as drastically as I have done.  I don’t think that they still even know what to say or how to act.  I know they are wondering if I am Trans* as well.  I am just not in the frame of mind that I need to have this conversation with my aging parents at this point.

Why did you decide to do this now?  

I think that any type of body modification – from surgery to tattoos – is a very personal decision.  I was tired of the body dysphoria that I had experienced since I was about 13 and started to develop as a girl.  You live with something for so long and then something just clicks and you move to do something about it, I believe.  I had researched, watched friends undergo the procedure, seen hundreds of videos and knew what I was wanting and getting into.  Thankfully I have a strong sense of self, because once I made this change there was no going back – hell, why they hell would I want to?  I always hated my body with boobs, it’s much nicer without them!  I am 52 and not getting any younger.  I didn’t do this when I was 32 because I was in a LTR and the procedures were not as refined as they are now. Plus I never thought I could get it covered by insurance.

For years I bound like most every other Butch does, and I got really tired of that.  The summer heat and a binder just don’t go together well.  And with my back problems, it just made things worse.  Actually since the surgery my back is alot better – because I am not binding and because of the change of body structure relieving the disks in my neck.

How did you find a surgeon in Maine?

I actually had my surgery done in New Hampshire, about 20 miles from where I live in southern Maine.  Finding a good surgeon is a hard process for anyone.  Allowing someone to modify your body like this, doing a major surgery, isn’t to be taken lightly at all.  I contacted four different surgeons.  Two were well known in the Boston area, but neither took my insurances.  Then I had an appointment with the one I was referred to first by my PC doctor.  I met him at the beginning of June, and it wasn’t good right from the get go.  He turned out to be quite homo/transphobic and we didn’t get along one bit.  Thankfully I decided as I drove out of his parking lot that he would not be touching my body with a scalpel.  No way, his attitude sucked, his mannerism sucked and the type of surgery he was suggesting would have looked awful.  So on to find a surgeon I went.

I found Dr. Kimberly Marble soon after that appointment.  I studied her work, researched her online and checked her credentials thoroughly before calling to schedule an interview / consultation appointment (after obtaining the proper referral from my primary care doctor of course).  When I met her on July 24th she and I got along great right from the start.  She was kind, personable and funny – and I like humor doncha know – and very professional.  She listened to me explain to her that I am a stone Butch lesbian and just didn’t want to live with the boobs anymore.  As well as the fact that my neck disks were herniated and my shoulders both had problems – hey never hurts to have medical back up for surgery!  She qualified me for surgery pretty much on the spot and we set a date before I left the office that day – August 18, 2014.

What did your partner think of you doing the surgery?

I didn’t really have to deal with any partner issues on my own surgery.  I wasn’t really seeing anyone when I was going through the appointments or leading up to the procedure.  I was dating someone in February, and she was very supportive of me doing it as she knew how much the dysphoria bothered me, and knew I’d be a happier person living in body that I was more comfortable with and could relate to easier.  But by June we had split and I was on my own pretty much through the surgery.  I had a buddy who came and stayed with me during my recovery for three days, but I found I was pretty capable and very mobile.

I started talking to a woman just before the surgery who I am still involved with now.  She never saw me in person until after my surgery was over, and she was aware I was having it done from the beginning of our talking.  Funny, I never asked her if it bothered her, because it doesn’t seem to make a difference  I know a lot of Femmes who date FtM’s or Butches who they would love to be able to help through top surgery just because they, of all people, know and understand in unique ways what we go through psychologically as masculine presenting people trying to live in female bodies.  I can’t imagine that my girl would have been anything less than supportive had she been in the picture back then.

The post op period could be one for ‘buyers regret’ for some people.  Not for you apparently.
How do we know? I’ll be getting rid of a whole lot of physical, social and attitudinal baggage when I do this
Also will there will be people in the LGBT community who will assume that because I’ve had top surgery, I’m transitioning? (JM)

No, I had no “buyers regret” only a the most joyful wake up in history of my life when I woke up in that post-op room!  And since then it’s just gotten better by the day throughout the healing process.  Now I am fully healed and just treating the scars to fade them as much as possible.  I suppose if you have any attachment to your breasts or breast sensation during sex that you might have a little buyers remorse.  But to me my chest is actually more sensitive to touch than before.  And I had the nipples done so that I would maintain full sensation – we’ll see how that turns out when I pierce one of them soon.

My previous article about Disappearing Butches discusses the initial issues I have had with some inside the LGBT world concerning my choice to have top surgery as a stone Butch lesbian. I knew there would be questions about me being Trans* and I was ready for that.  It didn’t change the fact that I wanted it done, doesn’t change the fact that it was the BEST thing I ever did for myself and that I’d do it again in a heartbeat if I had to.  I highly recommend top surgery for anyone who is chest dysphoric and who can get it covered by insurance.  Screw the nay-sayers.  Just because I wanted a flat, male profile chest doesn’t mean I am any less of a lesbian…and hell, it’s alot more comfortable for me to take my shirt off now even.  I’m sure as the scars fade I’ll become even less self-conscious about it and eventually it will just be completely normal feeling to me.  I know it’s already changed my attitude a whopping amount.

I hear the scoffers…”I like Butch breasts”…etc…but you have to be comfortable in your own body.  I love breasts, don’t get me wrong, I just don’t want my own.  And luckily I didn’t have to keep them!  🙂

Do you take Testosterone too?  Are you Transitioning?  (AP)

First, no I am not transitioning into anyone other than a little more authentic me.  The things I am doing are just minor adjustments to my masculine personality that make me more comfortable and enhance my life in my opinion.

Secondly, yes I do take a LOW DOSE testosterone. I have been for about 2 years now.  I do not take a transitioning dose.  The low dose is something that I discussed with my doctor to counteract the negative side-effects of being on a raft of other medications that would kill my sex drive – nothing is sadder or more unhappy than MainelyButch not wanting SEX daily – and would also lower my overall energy level.  The low dose Androgel 1% has done wonders for both sex drive and energy.  They will have to pry the script from my cold dead hand to take it away from me now!  It’s an easy application, I spread the gel on my stomach every morning after my morning shower…the only minor side-effect has been that I have a fuzzy belly now (which could be clipped pretty easily if I get around to it one of these days) and slightly more facial hair growth.  But remember, I am also 52, I have been through menopause (at 47) already so my body grows hair easily anyways.  And I don’t have to fight the estrogen much anymore because I am naturally producing far less of it than I would be prior to menopause.  I don’t mind any of it, I just run a razor over my face every couple of days.  I’m a bit crazy about my facial / head hair; you all know I’m a vain SOB and I go to the barber every 2 weeks for an edge out, and my eyebrows have to be done monthly, so shaving is just a given now…but the T does cause more hair growth, it’s just a fact, and one I will gladly live with.  At least I am not going bald!  Ha!

If anyone has any other questions that I haven’t answered here, or comments feel free to leave them below in the comment section or email me at mainelybutch@yahoo.com

Things Butch-Femme

Butch Body Image

This topic was brought up on a video vlog by Whitney of Butch Talk on Youtube. I thought it was a great subject, and one that we do not discuss much, but which needs discussing.  Butches and body image, yes, we all have our own thoughts about our bodies.  Often I hear my trans friends discussing “dysphoria” or the discontentment they have with their bodies, body parts and how they deal with those thoughts.  Seldom do I hear this discussed in the Butch community, although I know as a Butch that we also suffer with dysphoric thoughts about our own bodies.  Sure, everyone probably does in some way, maybe they don’t like their teeth, or eyes, or nose, or weight…we’ve all got something that we can isolate on our bodies and say “hey, I wish that was different.”  

As a Butch lesbian I definitely experience body dysphoria quite often.  I will go out on a limb here and say that I believe that many Butches think about their bodies with some discontentment and discomfort, but we tend to talk less about it out of our own discomfort surrounding being masucline and perhaps being mis-labeled as transgendered.

When a Butch suggests that she would like to have no breasts, or smaller breasts, we often hear the old addage “oh, so you want to be a man.” or the question “Are you trans?” comes up.  And this opens up a whole new line of explanation that no, we don’t want to be a man, but we don’t care for our own breasts and would like to change that part of our body if it’s possible.  We just don’t care for the more female aspects of our Butch bodies, breasts seem to be singled out quite often in my experience.

Personally I present to the world as a very masculine female. I enjoy a certain degree of an androgenous look, just because of how I am built to begin with.  Let me be clear though, while I would quickly change my body if I could,  I still do not wish to be a man.  Nor I do not wish to have a male body.  It’s just that I do not care for my own breasts as they are on me, and would be much more comfortable and far less self-conscious and less dysphoric with much smaller breasts, a flatter chest that isn’t the focal point of the middle of my body.  I don’t necessarily want to be “male chested” or to have a completely flat chest, but I would love to be able to have a reduction from my 36C’s to as small as I can go.  

I have been known to bind my chest, to use the underworks binders which I have purchased online at the recommendation of other Butch friends who have the same dislike for their chests.  Binders are very tight, they do the job quite nicely, but they also come with a certain degree of discomfort, make it hard to breath sometimes and have been known to do damage to one’s rib cage and constrict one’s diaphram dangerously.  I have gone to wearing good quality Nike sports bras, they make ones that are specifically for compression even. They’re much more comfortable, and while not flattening me to the point that the binder does, they do the job quite nicely.  I’m fine with having some breasts, just not the larger ones I was unfortunate to inherit with my genetics!  

I also wish I were taller. I’m a short, fairly squarely built kind of Butch.  I envy those with some good height.  I would love to be about 5′ 7″ instead of 5′ 3″ish.  …another piece of my own personal  body dysphoria.  

The chances of me doing anything about changing my body are slim to none.  The breast reduction surgery, unless it’s covered at some point by insurance down the road, is just too expensive for me to justify.  I am fine with just dealing with what I’ve been given, and feeling blessed that I am healthy and happy in life.  Yeah, they may be a pain in the brain, but it’s more important to me that I am healthy overall and there are just so many other things that I have to worry about that are just more important to me on a personal level than getting too wrapped up in my body dysphroia.  I will continue to focus on those things that I do like about myself, and focus on just trying to look good sporting the stalky little body I was given to work with through life.  It’s not sooo bad…I can deal with it.  

Now I do know that some people who get body dysphoria really bad cannot deal with it such as I have chosen to do.  I realize that my dysphoria is probably mild compared to the suffering that some go through with their bodies. I feel for them, I wish it were easier and less of a fiasco to have body corrections done.  Perhaps that day will come, with constant medical advancements things are changing every day. We just have to continue to believe and have hope for ourselves and others.  

In the meantime, I will live life to the best of my ability.  Be who I am, just as I am.  I’ll keep trying to look into the mirror and remind myself that I am a good Butch with a good heart and that counts more in the long run.  Image


Butch Legs

…and NO I will NOT shave the for you…or anyone! I like my hairy legs!!

General Blips

Butch Legs

Butch Legs

…and NO I will NOT shave the for you…or anyone! I like my hairy legs!!