Fresh Haircuts Rock !

2017-08-04 07.55.09Trump leaves for 17 days vacation today, not like he’s DOING anything productive or noteworthy in the White House or anything…naw…he’s just wasting space and stealing air.  He leaves with his tiny orange tail between his legs.  He signed the Russian Sanctions bill and now Putin has directly said by Tweet that he will now remove DJT from office – because obviously the American Congress cannot – or will not – do it themselves.  If there were a pile of shit on the Congressional floor someone would take on the task of disposing of it properly.  Well, there’s a pile of shit in the White House and I don’t seen anyone with a pooper scooper in sight.  Pathetic.  Sigh…so I am now counting on Putin to get this guy out of our White House, or as Trump calls it “the Dump”….

I had a decent sort of day.  I took Thursday and Friday off of work…mental health reprieve.  Plus I have the weekend as well.  So yeah, I needed some time off to myself.

I stopped in to Loaded Dice, Boston Barber Shop in Rochester, NH today for a nice fresh cut and edging.  I really like how Skinny B cuts it, he’s better than Johnny used to be.  I hear that Johnny got hired back…and then fired within a week…damn dude!  Anyway, Skinny B is the barber at the middle chair in this picture; guy in the white shirt and black apron.  He’s a great barber!  I just love getting my hair cut, and everything about it.  The smell of the Old Spice aftershave,I love the feel of that straight razor as he nicks away the tiny hairs at the edges of my hairline, shh, shh, shh, like gently carving on balsa wood  I love the noise, guys laughing, pool balls clinking into the worn plastic pockets, the hum of the AC unit and of course the “guy talk” that I am SURE is akin to the gossip you do/say/hear at any local beauty salon.  I just love my barbershop!

2017-08-03 14.02.45

Love

Ang sketch

Love is just a giant little word.  One I am afraid of and have really only said and meant a very few times in my life.  Sure, there is platonic love like how you love a friend for being a friend, or parental love as in how we love our parents.  But there is also a thing called romantic love.  Romantic love is what I speak of here.  I have an issue with it evidently.   When I was younger and more outgoing I chased after love like it was an intoxicator that I just had to have to breath; to live.  But now in my older age here I do far less chasing after this type of love.

Currently I am in a long distance relationship with my lover from Virginia.  Long distance love just sucks when what you crave is the daily touch of another human being.  I want her hands on my body, her kiss upon my lips.  I want the sigh of a woman in my ear.  Distance just keeps all of this from me in a way that feels so cruel and stinging.

Love is one of those emotions I used to try to steer clear of for a few of the more recent years.  I don’t feel like I am very easy to understand for most people, therefore not very loveable to them either.  My exterior is a bit on the harder, rough side and I can be quite stoic in my emotions.  But believe me when I do crack and cry the tears flow like rivers.  It’s not that I mean to be sort of shut down sometimes, but I often am afraid of what to say and don’t want to make mistakes by saying the wrong things.  I tend to speak my mind and that’s not always a good thing I have learned.

Love is a very personal thing for me.  It never has come easy.  I am wary of being burned and thus I take my time with someone.  I have to know that the person loves me that same way that I love her.  I’m a very chivalrous type of Butch, I like to do things that some consider to be male attributes, like pull out her chair, open her car door and entry doors to buildings.  I believe it’s very easy to be kind and chivilrous at the same time.  I’m also one who likes to take care of my woman, make sure she’s happy and contented.  The happier the wife the happier the life!  And that is one very true statement.  And the happier she is the happier I can also be.

As you can see from this post Love has been on my mind heavily lately.  I’m hungry for the touch of another body, and for some ah-mazing sex.  But alas I remain alone here and committed to the path I am walking right now.

Peace!  ~MB

Those Darned Definitions…

cropped-cropped-cropped-001.jpgMan!  Has language changed some radically since I’ve been walking this green earth.  Daily I am surprised by the “new” use of “old” words; the newer definitions and meanings of some.  Start with the word we all know and use in a zillion different ways:  Queer.  Now we know the dictionary meaning to be “odd or unusual” to be short.  But then we all know the meaning when it’s used to describe someone’s sexual preference for the same sex…i.e. “He/she is queer as a three dollar bill.”  meaning that he/she is gay…another word…Gay….now that is supposed to mean “happy and joyful” by the dictionary, but when used to describe me it means I like pussy, and I’m a bit queer.

Today’s LGBT world (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, for those who may not really know what the letters represent, seriously.)  Yes, where was I …in today’s world we are constantly changing up language.  It’s a far cry from what it was like in the 70’s when I was growing up.  Or the 80’s when I was just coming out and defying the world with my gayness.

There are so many words now to describe or to define who one is in the world.  I could not possibly do justice to all of them here, but I will take a stab at a few of the more common ones just for fun.

There’s the all famous Butch.  The definition of Butch varies so widely now that I am not sure if I am even still Butch!  Hell, it seemed easy when I finally did define myself as such, it felt wholesome and right.  I was a masculine presenting woman.  Butch.  It is my identity, my definition of me.  But what it means to me and what it means to other people can really be confusingly different.  I define Butch for myself as a masculine woman.  A woman who is more comfortable walking the masculine side of the binary, but who is not a man and does not necessarily want to be a man.  (Some people are convinced that all Butch women secretly just want to be men – both straight people and other LGBT people have been known to say this more than once).  I want to wear my jeans and workboots; flannel shirts are a must to my Butch wardrobe.  I don’t walk like a girl, or talk like one.  My voice is very deep, raspy and quite often mistaken for a male voice on the phone.  Plain and simple for me, it’s just how I was constructed by life.   I am a masculine woman, a Butch to the core.  Of course, this is just my definition and will certainly vary from yours or someone elses.

Femme is another widely varying word.  It’s gained some serious notoriety and popularity in the last 10 years I believe.  We have had the word Butch for so long and it’s been more popular for the last 100 years than I think Femme has been.  In my experience I didn’t really have a word for the type of women that I found super attractive until I discovered the word “Femme”.  To me Femme means a very feminine presenting woman.  A woman who revels in the glories of being very feminine appearing, acting and who is often attracted to her polar opposite – the Butch.  (I know this is not always the case, I am aware that Butch/Femme is only one dynamic, and that there are others, please don’t shoot me).

Now there are all these fun descriptive words that you can throw together with Butch and Femme.  There’s about 100 ways to be Butch or to dilute it, which ever you think is happening. Personally, I think the dilution factor is more of what is taking place.  Historically we know that the Butch-femme dynamic kind of started as a cover so that women could see one another  and appear to be a hetero couple…they were hiding from the law and society basically. There’s a LOT more to the history than this, I am seriously over simplifying here for brevity.

Today we have baby Butches, Tomboi Butches, Soft Butches, Hard Butches, Stone Butches, Daddi Butches, etc. etc.  I am sure I have missed a dozen or so other types here…but you should get the gist of where I am going with this. It’s a hard thing to just say Butch is Butch nowadays, because there are so many layers and depths to each “type”.  If you look in Wikipedia or do a Google search for any one of the types you are bound to come up with more reading than you probably need to get to the point.  You can be whatever you choose, and you can define it in any way you want along the squiggly line of the binary.

Same with the femmes, you have the high femmes, diva femmes, lipstick lesbians, queer femmes, and that list goes on and on as well.  I am not as familiar with it as I am with the Butch side of things, obviously and for obvious reasons.  All I know is that I really love femme women.  And the way they embody their femininity is up to each one of them, they can put on a baseball cap and pull the pony tail through the back and still be a diva femme.  It’s all in the attitude I have come to realize with femmes.  They have this great attitude about femininity and they revel in it.

Today’s younger crowd has a ton of other new words too that I just don’t understand.  I’ve come to the realization that I am too old for some of this new wording. But I want to learn!

Personally, I used to identify as a Stone Butch.  I am not so sure about seriously identifying with the “stone” part any longer.  I’m just not sure exactly what stone means to me now.  I know that I am not a “touch me not” Butch, as the word “stone” is supposed to imply in some circles.  I don’t care for some things; for some forms of touch, but I do like to be loved on quite a lot!  I enjoy sex, and sometimes I think the the inference to “stone” is that he/she is not someone who likes to be touched or who enjoys any kind of sexual touch.  I have to say I enjoy both.  While I have my limitations, and my boundaries that doesn’t negate the fact that I am human and need human interaction and touch.  Hell, I love sex.

Stone is a word that gets thrown around a lot more as I’ve noticed lately. I even see it in reference to “stone femmes” now, which I never encountered before say the last year or so.  I’m not sure of how that definition would read or what it would be.  Perhaps one of you readers have more information on this one, or some anecdotes to share on it.  I see it on Fetlife quite often and wonder about it.

So, these are my more random thoughts for today’s blog.  I was just pondering word-smithing and how radically language in the gay community has changed over the decades. Words seem to come into fashion and fade just as quickly sometimes.  It’s interesting as fuck.  You may see me write a bit more about this, perhaps from a more serious angle next time, tonight I am in a fun mood and wanted to keep it fairly light.

Rock on.

~MB

 

 

 

Can We Re-invent Butch?

The passing of Leslie Feinberg has opened up whole new conversations surrounding Butch and Transmasculine identity.

I would like to share in parts of that conversation here and I think it’s appropriate that this blog is called Butch 2.0, it’s time to reinvent a new Butch, a 2015 Butch and it’s time to take back our identity, to wake up and for us to ban together and form a more cohesive union. It’s time to recogize the Femme in the Butch/Femme relationship, and not just focus on the Butch.

I reached to buy a new copy of Stone Butch Blues today online, and was astonished to find the cheapest copy on Barnes & Noble for a little over $67 usd for the reprint in paperback…so even the booksellers have realized the commodity of that book; the book that changed so many lives over the decades. A book about the 1960’s that resonates in 2014. I also found collector copies on eBay for over $269. usd which is ridiculous. I want the book again, but I’m not willing to pay scalper prices for it. I will wait.

So what does reinventing Butch look like in 2015 and beyond? What have we learned from everything to this point?

We talk about “Old Fashioned, Old School” Butches (and Femmes, but I shall focus on the Butch side for this piece). OFOS was a term coined by someone on one of the 90’s Butch-Femme social networking sites (perhaps, Butch-Femme.com? I am not sure) It meant that those who followed the OFOS “rules” would look, act and be like those Butches of yore. They were to be stone, tough, mean and commanding. Yet they knew how to “treat a lady” as it was said. Stone was a prerequisite it seemed, if you weren’t stone you couldn’t possibly be OFOS because they were ALL stone, meaning they all averted sexually intimate touch. (make a glossary)

I get asked a million questions about being Butch. I am lousy in verbal expression. I’m much better with written word, and the time to formulate my words. When I am put on the spot to answer an out of the blue sort of question I am often at a loss for the right words.

The world changes and so do we. Very few Butches today live truly as OFOS Butches, unless they are still of the age to recall such people, or if they are very well into the history of the Butch/Femme movement in lesbian history. The days of back door entries into the honkey tonks that would hide them, the cross dressing Butches that had to look like men to be safer in the world. Those who were beaten for not wearing at least 3 pieces of female clothing, those were the OFOS Butches of yore.

Today we have a new Butch. Once that’s more comfortable in Levi’s jeans, Timberland work boots and flannel shirts. Sunday or wedding dress up is a nicely taylored suit and tie. Haircuts are almost standardly crew in nature. Hoodie sweatshirts will work until the temperature drops below 30F, then we need to don that leather jacket or Carhardtt foremens coat. It’s the pretty typical look for the New England style Butch for sure. At least in my world. There are just certain things that are practical in life and a good Butch is one of them.

Oh there are variations…the cargo shorts and polo shirt with Nike’s types…younger, maybe a baseball hat on cocked to one side and a lip piercing….I’m young, cutting edge and ready to roll. That’s what that look says to me. They’re cute and I want them all for little brothers.

Then there are the super snappy dressers, who I can tell a mile away that they have very little common sense or experience. They may have experience with having it easy picking up women, but once the women figure out that they are more into themselves than anything or anyone else, they drop them pretty hot. I never wonder why they are single, it’s just obvious to me.

There is beginning to form a group of Butches that have had top surgery or a major top side reduction. This was a big topic in 2014. I had mine done in August. I know I got both good and bad feedback on that move..but did it does it make me any more or less Butch? Some say it does, some say it’s an afront to my female body, some say by doing it I want to be in transition to be a guy, and some say hey, it’s your body do what you want. Lots of us who are choosing this surgery are getting the same kind of feedback I am sure. There are entire hateful blogs and vlogs concerning how evil getting top surgery is. They’ll scare ya to death unless you understand the truth that it’s just cosmetic surgery and it’s up to the person who wants it, period. For me it was the best thing I ever did for myself. I was uncomfortable with my chest for years, and now I am completely comfortable. I love having my shirt off and it’s so comfortable to sleep half naked….yeah, it makes me much more happy and comfortable with my body in general.

I do hope that maybe we can have more conversation about this among more Butch bloggers. I’d really like to know other experiences and the such around top surgery.

CALL OUT!!!! I would like to know all of the very BEST in Butch and Trans-masculine writing on the web, blogs, vlogs, whatever and wherever. If you know of any please put them or links in the comments below or contact me directly. I am trying to work on compiling a really thorough list of excellent resource blogs and bloggers interested in community participation.

My 12th Year…Where I Was…Growin Up

From “The Daily Post” “

Tell us about the home where you lived when you were twelve. Which town, city, or country? Was it a house or an apartment? A boarding school or foster home?”

I was a rather lucky kid.  I grew up in a rather complete family; Mom, Dad and two younger brothers, and two younger sisters – 7 of us total.  We were lucky as kids, we had terrific parents and we weren’t abused or living with alcoholics -like many of my friends tell me of their childhoods.  I had a pretty typical lower middle class childhood, living in a small rural town in southern Maine that hadn’t yet reached it’s hay-day of strip malls and outlet stores.  My parents worked their asses off to support and raise us, and I thank them for the childhood they gave each of us.

At twelve, I was living on a beautiful rural road, with sparsely dispersed houses, in a very historic area of town.  We lived in a huge old house, the first floor being over 300 years old, the second floor added in the 1940’s.  At one time the place had been a large farm, complete with two large barns that each burned long before I was born.  There were the remnants of ancient apple orchards, even a pear tree and lots and lots of grape vines gone wild.  The property was up against land that had been left to the town, thus it was called the ‘town forest’ – tons of acreage of wilderness with trails, old dumps, old foundations and even a couple of very old grave yards…ooooo….that we as kids would think were haunted by the old sea captain buried in one of them.

Along one edge of the property, just over the line into the town forrest, was a swamp with a small stream that ran harder in the rainy season. We played in that swamp for hours and hours.  We built crude bridges, caught frogs, tried fishing and manhandled turtles.  My mother would buy us tall rubber boots for our excursions into the swamp land.  I recall that we had a name for the swamp, but cannot recall what it was now…but it was a beloved place to play, get dirty, find adventure and live out fantasy life as sea captains of small boats we would try to build, or as army guys crawling through the swamp grass and muck in search of the ‘enemy’ neighborhood kids.

Toward the back of the property, behind the house was a small field where there were eight or ten old apple trees.  These afforded us plenty of tree climbing to pick apples.  Mom would make pies for us out of them.  They were old Macintosh type apples.  We would have “apple wars” throwing rotten ones at one another as we scurried for cover behind the piles of old stones used to build crude stonewalls along the border of the property between us and the town forest land.  Farmers would build the old stone walls that are found throughout New England when they would clear land to plant.  They really had nothing else to do with nor other way to dispose of the rocks and stones unearthed when plowing.  So up went stonewalls to mark borders, pen cows and horses, and to keep out the villains.  Our property had stonewalls on all three sides, and was fronted by the road on the fourth.

We had one neighboring house next to us, and one kind of diagonally across the street.  Next door was the home of the two elderly people who sold my parents the home for under $8,000. back in 1972 – when I was 10 years old, and we had returned from living for a short time in New York.  These two became our adoptive grandparents as we had none of our own grandparents living at that time.  The only grandmother I had known had died when I was 10 just after we moved into that old house; the house that would be in our family for 44 years and would be the center of family activity all that time and would shelter a million memories.

Gram and Gramps were awesome as neighbors, and they especially were sweet on my youngest brother, who went there daily for homemade cookies and some hugs from Gram.  One time Gramps even got out and rode the little guy’s bike around the driveway, which was quite comical!  Old man on BMX bike, knees up to his chin…you get the picture I am sure!  He had a big wide grin on his face too!  Gram and Gramp were killed in a head-on collision on their way to camp one weekend when I was 20 and in the US Army in Germany, sadly.  I’ve always missed them.  They always said they would “go together” and by golly they did.  Bless them.

To the left side of the property, as standing in the road looking at the house head-on, we would play baseball, kickball and football in the field there.  Gramps usually kept it mowed, as his property bordered it along that side.  He loved to see us set up our baseball diamond, even though we did break his garage window once with a baseball hit foul.  I think it may still be broken today even.  It’s a downhill slope on that side and we would roll down the hill, wrestle and play for hours there.  A few years Mom and Dad tried growing vegetable gardens on that side. The deer and bunnies would come and mow down the rows nightly.  But we did succeed with some stuff once Gramps showed us how to put down dried blood around the garden to keep out the critters.  Evidently they think of death and dying when they smell dried blood and avoid the area.  It worked and we did have a nice crop of corn one year.

So, when I was 12 living there at the homestead I was just coming into my more rebellious years.  But I was generally a good kid.  I loved to read.  I would find hiding places on the property, a flat stone at the far corner along the stonewall where I would lay and read.  The lilac bush out front would get so huge that you had paths and tunnels through the center.  It was near to the road along the front left corner, and there was a rock cliff that fell off to the road below; the lilac grew right on that cliff.  I spent hours laying at the top of that cliff reading Nancy Drew mysteries, Harriet the Spy, and anything else that I could relate to.

Around this time I found a book on the roadside one day, a porn book…which piqued my interest but had to be hidden like crazy!  I had a place in the old tin garage where I hid it, a platform up in the rafters where I could climb up and be out of sight to read the really nasty stuff.  Until someone told on me and I got caught…that ended my porn reading career until I was 18 and could get it myself! 🙂  Ah, what a memory!

At 12 I had a 2 year old brother who I just adored.  I would spend a lot of time watching him for my hard working mother.  She worked right up at the end of the road at a small motel where she started as a chambermaid and wound up as the general manager.  We could ride our bikes the half a mile to Route 1 and be at her place of work should we need her for anything in an emergency.  The summer of my 12th year we had chickens, as I recall.  Mom has always loved her chickens and fresh eggs.  We would sell the eggs to locals who would drive into our broken pavement driveway looking for them. Our coops were clean and the chickens happy.  We had one that would always get beat up in the pen, so she ran loose on the property and we named her Henny Penny.  (The sky is falling….)  She was friendly.  And in the fall when the chickens all became chicken dinners (and I cried on the cliff with my cat squeezed tight in my arms) somehow Henny Penny was no where to be found on that day.  She reappeared the next morning as if nothing had changed.  Eventually Henny went to a retirement farm to live out her days.  Dad just could not do the beheading of such a sneaky chicken – after all she had survived the carnage, she must have been a blessed chicken.

Back then, 1974, you could leave your 12 year olds in charge of your other kids and they would all survive.  Sure, bloody noses and cuts from fights happened and you held the victim down until they agreed not to tell Mom and Dad that you caused the injury!  Kids fell out of tree forts, crashed their bikes without helmets, and stayed out til dark, but it was a much safer time and we didn’t have video games, colored TV or social media to occupy our brains.  We had the outdoors and our imaginations.  We had tree forts that we built with our young hands and Dad’s leftover wood and good nails.  We held each other down and made each other drink lemon juice or hot sauce, just for fun.  We had rope swings that we almost killed ourselves on at times. There were neighborhood BB gun wars, single pump only!  And the occasional lawn dart in the head did happen, but you survived. You learned to swim whether you liked it or not, Mom’s rule.  You took a bath on Sunday night, whether you needed one or not.  And Walt Disney never dreamed of showing you Myley Cyrus!  Yes, it was a different time, and much more fun in my opinion, I would not trade then for now ever!

At 12 I was also discovering who I was as a person, and knew I had secrets that I could never talk about with anybody.  I was about to go into 7th grade.  Kids were starting to have little boyfriends and girlfriends.  I was mortified by the mere thought that I would have to be some boy’s girlfriend at some point.  I never knew at that time that there was an alternative for me.  That would come years later, long after a fun childhood of skipping rocks on the local beaches, and building sandcastles with my baby brother. And that would come just a short year after I would take him to the races in my 1973 Dodge Dart, and teach him to jungle pee because I didn’t want him in the porta-potties at the race track.   I had plenty of time for my future self, I was too busy being a fun, countrified kid from Maine who loved lobsters, clams, sunrises over the Atlantic, Seapoint Beach and my awesome family.

Think About It Thursday

“This week for Think About it Thursday, I ask you to tell us what you thought you wanted to be when you grew up. Did you become what you dreamed of?”

This is a tricky question for me.  There are things you, as a child, would say you wanted to “be” when you grew up…like I wanted to be an archaeologist focusing on anthropology.  Yes, I was a brainy kid that way.  I loved to discover things about history, anything old fascinated my young brain.  Arrow heads were totems from the Gods to me!  I still have my first arrow head, found over on Manson Road in Kittery at my Aunt’s house when they were putting in a baseball diamond on her property.  It’s pretty cool and it’s still a treasure to me.  

I still love that stuff today.  I will read National Geographic magazines cover to cover.  I am deeply interested in Anthropology, or the study of human beings.  Archaeology is more the digging for the relics of old, and that is still something I love to stay up to date on as well. I never did go to college, so obviously I never became a college educated archaeologist or anthropologist.  But I think I am an amatuer at both, and I still love both fields and am interested in anything to do with them.  

The second part of that question “Did you become what you dreamed of?”  Now there is the rub in this TBT theme for me.  Yes, I became the person that I had dreamed of as a kid.  See, when I was small, and growing up, I always dreamed of loving a good woman and having a life with women romantically instead of boys or men.  I kept this a secret until I was an of-age adult to the best of my ability.  Maybe there were a few I didn’t fool, but I damned sure tried.  My self-imposed closet where I kept my secret sexuality was a place of safety, because I knew those I was growing up with would never accept or understand this part of me at that time.  It was too early in the 60’s/70’s for that kind of awareness, tolerance, and acceptance to be available to me – or really anyone!  Thus, I just had my dreams of a very different – yet kind of the same – kind of life for myself. I wanted to be in love like those straight friends and relatives of mine that I grew up around, just that I wanted it to be with someone who was female like me.  

I didn’t fully understand my sexuality as a child.  But I knew that it was definitely different, and different could not be good.  Funny how a child can comprehend when something should not be told or talked about.  Personally I kept my own secret locked away deep inside of me until I was 19 years old.  By that time I had left home, left those I knew all my life and who knew me, and was far away in the military, serving my country.  

That’s when I discovered that I was not the only “freak” who thought this way!  I met other women who desired the company and love of other women.  At first I had some serious homophobia about it.  They talked about it, they acted on it and they seemed to enjoy it, which in my well trained brain was wrong.  Like most in my era we had been brought up straight and to believe that homosexuality was wrong.  I personally never heard the “God wrong” scenario back then, but perhaps that’s because we were not overly religious in my household.  Church was something we did on holidays or when Dad got into it for a few Sundays.  I could only dream of a life of living as an out-lesbian – a word I never knew until I was about 14 years old and heard it from other kids, then looked it up in my dictionary.  I dreamed of it being normal that I would have a wife and we would live together in a little house with a picket fence and a dog. 

Today is a different era.  Today I do live as an out lesbian and without much fear.  Sure, there’s always some fear, fear that you will run into someone who hates you for just being you, because they for some reason hate LGBT people.  I think it’s more that they do not understand that LGBT people are just people with different sexual desires and practices than our straight counterparts.  Although I think most of us are doing the same basic things in the sack, just in slightly different ways! *smirk*  

I usually try to be considerate of other peoples beliefs.  I know my lifestyle doesn’t always agree with their ideals or their religious convictions.  I try to steer clear of those people and just live my life.  And I have a damned good life.  I have a loving family that accepts and supports me; that loves me as I am.  I have friends who do the same.  I keep a nice home and have a dog and I date women exclusively.  So my life IS as I dreamed it would be for the most part.  I also dreamed I would be a writer and one day write books…well, I write, but I have yet to put that book together.  One day I do hope that that part of my dream will also be a reality.  

So while I never became an archaeologist or anthropologist, I did grow up and find the dream of being true to who I am in this world.   I was lucky to learn many trades, most having to do with construction of one sort or another, thus I have a knack for building and fixing things that I am always honing.  I had military training that taught me focus, determination, and how to be a dependable, respectful person in this world.  I have a Masters Degree in street education, learning the seedier side of life during my 20’s…learning about homelessness, addiction and the challenges that people face daily in life.  I have learned about inequality in this world, seen it first hand, and have stood up to fight for equality for all people.  I’v stared death in the face and chose life.  I’ve buried friends and their dreams all because of a fierce virus that took us all by surprise in the 80’s.  By 1999 I had lost 14 friends to AIDS and was living with HIV myself.  But I chose life, I chose to live my dreams and to fight like a wildcat.  Modern medications have been my friend and have kept me alive and healthy for many years now.  I only wish they had been available earlier for my lost friends.  

So my answers to the questions of today’s Think about it Thrusday, is yes, I am living life as I dreamed it could be for the largest part.  I’m not rich or famous or some highly recognized anthropologist, but I am a good, honest, loving person who lives life every day, in the present, to it’s fullest as much as I can.  I wake up happy and warm.  I take care of business as it needs, and I tend to my relationships with other people with care and consideration.  I hope I can continue to spread the love and continue to make changes in my life and the world that are good for both!  Rock on.  

Haunted Still by Her

Ahhh, today was a very good day! I was up at the crack of dawn, the birds just starting to stir and chirp, and the sky just beginning to become light, sun not yet above the ocean to my east.  Yes, it was 4:20 am and I was up and at it for the day.  I had fallen asleep at 10pm last night after a full day of working on the house.  I’ve been alone all week and damn it feels freaking great.  I’ve been working on reclaiming my Butch Bachelor Cave here in Maine.  Not that I didn’t care for it before, I just needed to change everything I touched to make it mine again.  Some weird Butch thing I suppose.  

I’ve been thinking a lot about the last several years…the wild times, the good times, and the bad times, and the changes in the world and the changes in ME.  There are several prominent moments that stick hard in my head and make me still ask myself WHY I did those certain things – or why I didn’t do specific other things.  I shake my head, and just admit I made mistakes, big and small, but I’m still kickin and smiling once again.  

I keep some things very very private.  I do it so as not to hurt someone any further than I already did.  But my brain works that situation over almost daily and it aggravates the crap out of me that I cannot reach out; reach back and do something differently.  They say no failure is fatal, that you admit them and correct them….I just wish I knew how to do that.  There is just this one single relationship failure that I caused a few years ago that I wish I could have the chance now to at least apologize for, for behavior that was NOT really me, and not what I wanted to really happen. Perhaps one day I will have that chance, just an exchange; a short conversation to ease my heart; to know that she doesn’t feel as I still do today.

I’m very grateful for the life i have today, and I’m relatively happy.  I enjoy my own home and my freedom to be myself tremendously.  I am thankful for the progression of the country towards more equality and justice.  I am hopeful for a bright and loving future for the world and for me as an individual.  I will continue to strive forward to make my world, the world, a better place for myself and everyone else in any way that I am able to do so.

I’m seriously enjoying the renewed bachelorhood that I have once again found.  (Much to some people’s dismay I am sure.) but being single once again is the best thing for me right now.  I need to really clear some things out of my past that keep me from giving of myself to anyone else – except one.  She knows who she is and she knows how to reach me I am sure.  And all she has to do is want to reach and I will most certainly leap at her outstretched hand in return.  Until I can either die – or in some miraculous way get over my desire for her – then I will continue to fly solo and reach for the stars in Azure skies.

Hell, in the last 6 years I have tried on three relationships for short periods of time.  I could not find a way to truly give myself over to any one of them, and they all deserved a love that I just could not give.  I tried, I did, but when the heart is truly elsewhere; is taken already, then you can’t be true in the moment to someone else.  It’s a total mental mind fuck

Those of you who read my blogs and have known me for a while may know my history and tell me to go after what it is that I am waiting for, but realize that that is not my choice; I cannot do that.  It’s been made clear to me that despite promises of never losing touch no matter what, it’s in her court to lob a ball at me if she ever wants to talk to me or contact me.  I’m not hard to find, hell my profile on Facebook is public, friend me and you get my phone number.  Plus, she knows how to find me I am positive of that.  Does she want to?  I don’t know her current situation.  Perhaps she’s found security and comfort in someone else; those are hard things to give up for love sometimes.  Especially when someone screws up the way I did, saying the wrong things at the wrong time for the wrong reasons  I just know that it holds me back from moving past her and on to another fulfilling relationship, perhaps it always will.  

Bachelorhood isn’t so bad!  And if I can’t have that real love again, then I would rather remain single anyways.  At least that way I will not be lying to anyone else.  My heart knows where it belongs.  And I can wait an eternity, even into the next life if necessary, for the return of the heart that belongs close to my own.     ~MainelyButch

Butch Strength

Sudden Awareness blogged “Talking Tough” and asked this question:

Why do we value strength so much that it is one of the most frequently

cited attributes used to define our ideal selves?

 

Butches are generally seen as strong.  Rough, tough and resolutely strong.  It’s been bred into us seemingly, either from our bio-parents or from our chosen influence(s).  Ask any Femme what she likes in a Butch and she will most likely say “I like how they are strong and tough.”  I believe that it’s a Butch and masculine trait to be the strong; to be the stronger person in most relationships, particularly when that relationship is of romantic nature, but also when we are in the presence of anyone who seems to need our strength to help them.  Butches inherently like to be helpful, to solve the problem, to be the cure.

 

To me that strength has to come from a few various places inside of me.  Physically I am not that big at 5’3” and 150 lbs., but I am body-strong. Even through fighting chronic pain in my c-spine and lower back I can still push myself physically through tasks that require brute strength – and I pay for it dearly later.

 

The mental side of my strength is that I am pretty absolute in my thought process.  I have convictions that I stick to; ethics that I follow and cherish.  I love to solve problems; to challenge my mental capacity to see the issue and the solution in one vision.  I adore learning and look for every opportunity to advance my knowledge in just about any topic area.

 

The emotional side of strength is my secret weakness. Emotionally I usually feel a bit stunted in my growth.  I found, from a very young age, that showing any kind of emotion could be viewed as a weakness; a character flaw of sorts.  I rarely cry as I see crying as a true weakness in just about any form.  As a youngster I never wanted my father to see me cry for fear that he think that he had raised a “sissy baby” who would cry if she was upset or sad.  Thus I built this brick wall over my tear ducts and refused to cry.  Even when it would be appropriate to cry, if I get teary eyed I feel the shame of weakness in the tears.

 

The blogger Sudden Awareness brought this question of Butch strength up in their blog.  Also saying they were going through this rediscovery of authentic self.  I was also writing on this subject, and pondering my strengths and weaknesses in this life.  As you have heard me speak of in past blogs, I am a true believer in being one’s authentic self and it’s something that I am vigilantly aware of being in my own life.  I have been going through some changes within my own world as of late, and have been trying not to lose my authenticity in those changes in any way.

 

Life should never stay the same.  Evolution means that we continue to morph and grow each day of our lives.  Each day we can be open to learning something new, discovering or rediscovering ourselves in things that we read, see and experience in daily life.  I live by the motto that if you are not growing and changing that you may as well be dead as it’s the same thing.  I have always said that the only time you do not grow as a person is when you are cold and pushing up daisies in some field of squared off stones.

 

My own life has changed radically over the last 8 years particularly. I left a world that I had become very comfortable inside of, and ventured into a community that shuns me on a daily basis singularly on my appearance as a masculine Butch personality.  If I meet another lesbian who asks why I want to be a guy I am going to throttle her for assuming things she does not know, and for putting her ignorance into words so effortlessly.

 

Sometimes I feel like every decade of my life has been a bit of a kind of separate life; a slice of time in one life.  Each decade has had its defining moments, and it’s ups and downs, ways of being and ways not to be.  It’s with this current time that I feel that I have truly stepped into being my authentic self – lock, stock and barrel.

 

I have never felt comfortable in the LGBT community because of the separation of the Butch-Femme crowd from the rest of the lesbian social circles.  I have always found this odd in so many ways.  I’ve experienced lesbians who have been actively afraid of the Butch – Femme dichotomy to the point of feeling threatened in some weird way.  They seem to be afraid that by associating with us that they would somehow be seen as traitors to the rest of the women who proclaim lesbian as their sexual identity.  Often we are accused of re-enacting the heterosexual norm with our more decisive roles and ways of being Butch and Femme.  To me it just seems ridiculous.

 

I am Butch, always have been and always will be.  I don’t disrespect anyone for being who they are in this life, and I hate it when people try to instill their insecure values upon me.  I will continue to be my authentic Butch self, and hope every person on earth is given the freedom to be their own selves as well.  It takes strength and fortitude to walk through life being something that other people dislike or despise.  I’ve experienced both, plus being something/someone that people also hate just for who I am as a Butch.  My own security in myself is based in my strength as an individual; as someone who is proud and will not be bullied into being any other way.

 

Butches have to have strength and be resilient to deal with their own parts in the LGBT community; to survive under the trans umbrella as masculine of center on the binary scale.  Our strength is something that we are forced to have and something that keeps us safe inside of ourselves.  The strength to get up every day and know that even our own community has issues with us and our gender identity can be dismaying to most, but to a Butch it’s just another part of the challenge that keeps us towing the proverbial line.

 

Inside of the Butch-Femme dynamic Butches rely on the strength given to them by their Femme counterparts many times.  Femmes while being more delicately presenting are very strong in heart and conviction.  A Femme can be a fierce enemy or a fierce ally.  Believe me you don’t want her as an enemy!  A Femme can make me feel incredibly strong, while I also know she realizes that I can also be incredibly fragile at the same time.  My masculine presence is threatened every day, and that alone requires a kind of strength to deal with that I cannot even begin to explain.

 

 

 

Approval of Others….Or Truth of Self?

Would you rather live life according to the approval of others or aligned with your truths and your dreams?

Inadvertently we all start out in this world in the way of living according to the approval of others; it’s called childhood.  We are dressed to the approval of our parents – or grandparents – and fed what they figure we should be eating to quickly grow the hell up and move out of their houses!  For some futures are laid out in details; you will attend this particular college, study this certain course of study, go on to become a professional in your field or you’ll follow in your Father’s footsteps and take over the family business.  Parents’ attempts at living our dreams and wants vicariously through their offspring is epic.

There’s always those who parents throw their hands up in the air and give up on though.  These particular kids don’t want or intend to conform to Mommy  and Daddy’s wishes  – ever.  I know because I was one of those kids.  Whatever my parents wanted, somehow I wanted the exact opposite.  At least it always seemed that way.

As a teenager I became increasingly more rebellious and after graduation I joined the US Army – see I never intended to even TRY to go to college, high school had been hard enough to navigate in my sexuality, and hiding my true authentic self to the point of pain and tears.  I never really fit in, although I tried like hell to hang with the rougher crowd; the faster cars, drug fueled escapades and sneaking in through the 2nd story window early in the mornings.  I wore Levi’s with holes in the knees and ass, rock band t-shirts and heavy work boots…although I kept my hair shoulder length as a semi-attempt at disguising my Butch self, I never felt that I truly belonged anywhere.

Today, some 30-35 years later I feel that I live today more aligned to my personal truths and closer to what makes me feel like a real, valuable person, a good Butch, and though it was a long journey, and a struggle to arrive at this place I finally feel comfort in who I am, and in my body.

It has taken years, and I’ve had places along the trail where my boots became mired in the muddiness of life and times that I have fallen to my knees, weary from just trying to be myself, without being constantly judged for who I am; for what I seemingly represent to some others.

There were years that I tried to hide myself still in certain situations.  Generally they pertained to work and my professional life in the construction industry.  I entered that world at a time when very very few other women were doing what I was doing, from the actual physical labor of swimming pool construction, to design, layout and entire job coordination or general contracting.  I recall conferences where I was singly the only woman “in” the business, and the other women there were the wives of the men in the business.  There were proud moments of receiving recognition for my work – my father taught me well – or getting some kind of award.  I tried the wearing more feminine clothing route for those things and I felt like a clown, make up and all.  The discomfort and humiliation of my feeling that I had to do that would just devastate me.

For a while in my early adult years I turned to drugs and alcohol to cope with my gender and sexuality issues.  I was not alone in that quest to kill the pain that way; many of my fellow Butches and other LGBT friends fell down that hole of hell just as deep.  When I was high or drunk – or a combo of both – I was a bolder me; I wasn’t as afraid of the world, the taunts and the looks shot my way.  In the early eighties I started to lose friends, mostly trans women and drag queens, to some strange illnesses.  Then the CDC told us about HIV and AIDS and I lost more to voilence and ignorance, and suicide as a result.  In 1992 I had managed to get clean and then got sick several times that summer.  My counsellor (yes I had turned to therapy to help with my low self esteem and addictions) urged me to be tested…and yes, I tested HIV positive that final day in August 1992.

That was 22 years ago now.  I take a lot of medications to stay alive.  I take a good amount to combat the depression and anxiety disorders brought on by dealing with everything, especially this disease.  My daily battles now are more with health considerations than with gender struggles.  It was about 6 years ago that I woke up one morning and gave permission to myself to BE BUTCH in all the glory that that meant to me.  I am happy with myself, although always striving to be better; to be a better world citizen, to be a better writer, vlogger and friend.  I have the incredible love of my large extended family and a great network of friends both online and in daily life.  I could not be a luckier person in my opinion.

So my answer would be that I would always choose to live my life aligned authentically, true to my self and who I am in this world, and true to my brothers and my community.  I pursue dreams that still allude to finding happiness simply in being who I am and serving my purpose of leaving this world a better place than when I entered it….that is what I hope to accomplish.

~MainelyButch

 

The Proverbial Line

“Everytime that I am misgendered I am reminded that I do not fit; that I am not this.  I am not that.”

 ivan e coyote from “Gender Failure” (on Youtube clip about ivan and Rae Spoon’s Gender Failure performances).

I can relate with many of ivan’s stories and have all but the very latest (which IS on order!) of ivan’s books.  I am sure that most of you know who ivan e. coyote is but here’s the short, sweet bio from their page:

Ivan Coyote was born and raised in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory. An award-winning author of six collections of short stories, one novel, three CD’s, four short films and a renowned performer.    http://www.ivanecoyote.com/

My chosen community is the LGBTQ – Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer -and yes, you may add several other alphabetical letters to it as well, but for brevity here I will stick with LGBT for today.

I have been doing a lot of reading of articles on blogs and websites; in such places as HuffingtonPost.com, Autostraddle.com, in WordPress blogs and other online sources lately.  Most of what I have been reading has been related to gender identity, sexual identity, transgender struggles, and things written by and for the LGBT community and it’s allies.  These topics interest me very much as I can relate to most of what I read in some way or another, and they provoke more thought and inspire me to do more writing myself.

I love to write.  I have written and have been passionate about the writing process since I learned to write as a child.  It’s my passion; my home.  One day I hope to be brave enough to start submitting some of my writings for publication – which has always been my dream.  Writing is a creative art to me, although I write about things that I have experienced, and to explore my own views and opinions about things.  I write about things I am interested in and/or concerned about; things that have an impact on my life, or the lives of people that I love and care for in this world.  In recent months I’ve let my fear of rejection and critical feedback prevent me from pursuing my dream – and often from just simply writing a blog about something that strikes a nerve in me.  I have never felt that my writing was “good enough” or that people would care about what I had to say in my articles.  And I have always been a bit shy about letting people read my personal musings or know my authentic thoughts, views, and the stories of my life and how I became who I am today.

I am inspired today to write this because of all of the reading that I have done over the past week and due to my personal gut response to much of what I have read.  I feel some responsibility as an individual in the LGBT community, to add some of my thoughts and reactions to the articles – and comments left on them by others.  I am concerned about the world, and about my community; about friends and loved ones of mine that also may have read some of the serious hate and negativity that I so uncomfortably read.  I don’t feel that I can just continue to ignore the hot-bed topics that affect me, people I love and my beloved community, by continuing this self-censorship and not saying what I think and feel here.

I have remained fairly silent out of my own fear of the comment gremlins and of exposing myself to the discomfort that I am sure the main writers of the articles that I have read – have gallantly exposed themselves to so publicly.  Yes, they are the creative warriors in my opinion.  They took up their battle shields and stepped into the ring of fire to stand tall for what they believe are their truths.  They all are seeing the situations and battles going on around gender identity, trans identity, gender equality, sexuality and – even though I am sure they have also read some of the hateful stuff that I have read – they were all brave and courageous enough to stand their ground and let their own truths be known. They voiced their own opinions and laid their own vulnerability on the proverbial line.  I seriously respect those writers, even if I do not completely agree with them all of the time, I do very much continue to respect their courage and their rights to be heard.

So much goes on in our world every single day.  The media explodes with a new stories of discrimination, bigotry, ignorance and hate crimes so often now that I think some of us are starting to become numb to the reality of these things; almost to the point of accepting them as “just part of life in 2014” now.  And I personally find that incredibly sad and upsetting.  Those who are speaking out and who are defending our rights, and often even themselves by stating their own views and intentions as individuals, do so with the highest risk of personal attack online by hate groups, hate filled individuals, religious conservatives, prominent political figures and even from individuals and organizations who are supposed to be part of our own LGBT community!  (I am sure the list of attackers is much longer, but I am just listing some of the more visible here)  THAT is why I am compelled to speak out myself, and put my own voice out there too.  Those who write from their hearts and experiences inspire me and I think that every person deserves to – and should – speak out about things that affect them; about their own personal experiences, preferences and no one should have to just accept those assumptions that other people have (or want) to put upon us as LGBT people – regardless of which letter one chooses to stand under.

“It’s not the critic who counts.  It’s not the man who points out where the strong man stumbles or where the doer of good deeds could have done better.  The credit belongs to the person who’s actually IN the arena; whose face is marred with blood and sweat and dust who – at the best – in the end knows the triumph of high achievement and who – at worst – if he fails he fails daring greatly.”

Theodore Roosevelt speech “Man in the Arena”

I am a Butch Lesbian, very visible, and very proud.  I am often misgendered, and am also often reminded that I do not quite fit into the more mainstream Lesbian community.  My presentation is, and always has been, very masculine; very androgynous.  I grew up in southern Maine, the eldest of 5, my parents were very young when I entered the picture; but they provided a nurturing household full of love and proper lessons that would carry all of us into adulthood with good ethics and fine manners.  Growing up I knew that I was Lesbian as far back as I can remember – although I didn’t know what it was “called” until I heard the word “Lesbian” at the age of about 12 years.  Somehow I knew it wasn’t going to be good if other people knew this about me – ever.  So I learned to keep my secret very well hidden until I left home bound for Army basic training at 18.

I was a serious tomboy growing up.  Mowing the lawn shirtless until I was about 10 was my favorite thing to do.  Pretending I was a boy was my other very well kept secret.  Somehow I made it to adulthood without anyone ever knowing my feelings; my sexual preference.  By the time I reached early adulthood I was hearing the “you should dress more like a girl” thing quite often.  I hated dresses and broke out in hives at the mere thought of nylons – which were popular in the late 70’s thru the early 80’s.  I managed to escape home for the Army, and don that uniform – same for men or women – with much pride.  I came out early in my Army service although it was against regulations at that time, I managed to complete my service commitment without being “outed” and kicked out of the military – which would have completely ruined my family relationship with my father at that time, so it was a good thing I was never discovered!  (I do have lots of funny stories about almost getting caught!)

I tried to disown or hide my gender identity for many years.  I was far more comfortable with being “just a lesbian” than with being identified as “Butch” or “Dyke” (both were seen as derogatory words in the 80’s).  Although it was pretty obvious that I was Butch, I tried to “act” otherwise and hated being referred to as Butch back then.

It wasn’t until around 2005 that I finally came to grips with my gender identity, and started to relax into my authentic self as a Butch Lesbian.  I spent many years agonizing over it; and it caused me much emotional trauma at times.  I never quite “fit” anywhere in the gender spectrum, let alone the Lesbian social scene.  I tried “softening” up my look by growing my hair longer, wearing more jewelry and even wearing some girly clothing – generally shirts, never did I give up my guys jeans!!!

Before the computer and internet the LGBT world was very much smaller.  Our chat rooms were dimly lit gay bars, usually in very seedy locations.  We would hide our cars -never parking “near” the bar for fear of being “discovered” or questioned by anyone about “if” we were “in that bar”.  Even the clothing that some of us would leave our houses in (on our way to the bar) would be discarded and our “bar clothes”, which often would be uncovered in the trunk of the car, usually along with a bag of pot and pack of rolling papers!  My Drag Queen friends would hurriedly apply make-up in my rearview mirror, smacking lipstick onto Kleenex tissues to remove the excess.  Those were the good ‘ole days for MainelyButch, the days of no computer networking.  We drove cars without seatbelts and club drugs and all the while thinking that we were seriously “hiding” our true LGBT selves inside the concrete walls of the Paradox Club.  We had no cell phones.  We used back-door entry ways and sported hickeys covered by a half inch of liquid foundation make up the next morning.  We partied, danced, huffed Poppers, and had sex with wild abandon in the most unlikely of places sometimes.  We had some damned good, rowdy, but loving times.  Face-to-face was how you “met” people, made dates, and had sex…there was no keyboarding, computer monitors, or sexting in that world at that time.

….then September 24, 1982 came and the CDC (Centers for Disease Control in DC) used the word “AIDS” for the first time. Although HIV was not officially declared the “virus that causes AIDS” until May 1986 and On September 17, 1986 President Ronald Reagan mentions AIDS publicly for the first time, and many of our previously happy worlds came to abrupt halts in shock, that soon turned to fear and anger…lots of guys were getting sick, dying and NOW the President had “SAID” the word, and our community was completely changed forever.   I shall save that part of my life experience for future writing, as it is a very big piece of the puzzle of who I am today.  And it is an important part of tragic history of the LGBT community, and deserves it’s own blogging space.

As the internet became more and more popular and I sort of became immersed in the techno-geekery of it, I began to explore gender and all of it’s variants.  I found Butch books, cd’s and with Youtube came short videos – of Butches similar to me!   My comfort level with my gender presentation; with my androgyny and my more masculine preferences, began to feel more “normal” to me and much, much more nurturing to my inner self.  I devoured whatever I could find pertaining to Butchness and my more male presentation.  I questioned myself repeatedly about my possibly being Trans, FtM, but I could not find that comfort in the thought of being a man that I found in being a Butch.  I read the book “Butch is a Noun” by S. Bear Bergman and then I knew my true identity as a Butch. I love that book and I owe a world of thanks to Bear Bergman for writing it and sharing those experiences and views with me.

Now the internet is just part of all of our daily lives.  It’s our connection to the world beyond our front door.  Most of us rely on the web in some way or another to get us through our days, whether we are working or playing.  Us writers retired our old typewriters – which are now considered collector’s items – and gleefully adopted the “delete” button, allowing us to all throw away the white out and erasers!  The day I discovered Microsoft Word my entire life turned up-side down and changed.  I could now write for hours without tearing paper out of the roller and screaming at the typewriter for making mistakes.  I could “save” my work and password protect it so that I didn’t have to “hide” my journals or the folders full of typewritten pages from whoever I was afraid would find it and (gasp!) read it!    Yes, the internet and computers changed the entire world.  Things now move at lightening speed. Hell, by the time I finish this particular piece most of it will either be out-dated or I will have encountered more online that provokes further furious typing across my laptop keyboard!

One thing that continued to evolve and grow is me, myself.  Since I have settled nicely into accepting – even celebrating – my Butch self I have been a far happier individual.  I enjoy my Butch masculinity, the hair on my legs and my deep, raspy voice which used to make me very self-conscious during my years of denying my authenticity.  I only wish that I had found the path to my true feelings and allowed myself to just BE fabulously Butch, long before I did.  I realize that I could have saved myself a ton of emotional pain, and from the self-abuse that I put my body through while I was busy hating it. I am glad that today I understand myself, and I’m proud of who I am; who I have become since emerging from the tunnel of shame and insecurity.

In my personal writing, blogging and vlogging  ( Http://youtube.com/mainelybutch  ) I am publicaly stepping into the ring, or onto a stage, where my own fear of the critics and haters – of their comments and negative remarks, insults and hateful stuff “inspires” me to try to stay “small” in my own visibility sometimes.  I don’t like this at all.  It’s a form of self-censorship and defeats my purpose in writing/vlogging I think.  It makes ME reconsider what I post/write/say or film and that’s just not right in my opinion.  I hate feeling that way, it feels like I am somehow ashamed of myself and my own creative work.  And as a very out and loud Butch I already feel the vulnerability of my own gender presentation, and there is nothing more vulnerable than creating something; putting it out there in the world using our writing craft, and having it attacked and torn apart by those who don’t have the bravery of their own to take up the topic and let THEIR own words voice their opinion publicly for perhaps that same kind of attack; and being told that they aren’t “good enough” or that they are “wrong” in their views.

I try to be aware of my audience and I will even invite the critics  to take a seat.  Just know that while I see you and I hear you, I am not going to be threatened – by negative, argumentative, hateful or hostile comments – into not saying my piece anymore; nor will I be harangued into not being allowed to speak my own truths, and give my views and opinions as well.  You are welcome to come in, but I am not interested in your feedback unless you are in the ring of fire as well; putting your writings and opinions out there for us to all better understand you and where you are coming from with your comments and remarks, and that you are not just sitting on the sidelines making snarky remarks and belittling writers for their views, opinions, choices and/or for who they are and what they may represent with their words.  Particularly those who have the courage and are brave enough to make themselves visible and vulnerable in this community discussion, knowing that they are opening themselves up for possible attack by haters and nay-sayers.

If you have alternate opinions, morally differing views then I invite you to take your keyboard and begin your own piece on what you think of all of this inner-community policing and shaming that has been the topic of many of these blogs – mine included.  I am interested in hearing as many views and serious conversation on this as possible, and while I have my own personal thoughts on most of it, that doesn’t mean that I cannot be swayed to see something from another angle and rearrange a piece of the puzzle in front of me.  I am open minded, and while I am opinionated I am not without the ability to change my mind.

Everyone has a story inside of them.  And each person on this Earth has a unique identity – unique to them and them alone.  There are stereotypes about all kinds of people, places and things.  There are as many labels as there are cans or people to put them on!  Some like them, and some don’t, it’s personal choice; individual preference and no one should just accept someone else’s definition of them, but should create their identity and present it as a masterpiece to the world; creating an identity that they are personally proud to own and wear with courage in the face of fear!  Your identity doesn’t have to consist of a “label” or any kind of “stereotype” – all the world asks is that your identity be authentically YOU.

So, on this rainy day today I have been inspired to dive back into my more serious writing and to improve this blog and it’s contents.  I also want to make sure that fewer and fewer young Butches and Gender Queer people get sucked into that hole of blackness that brings them shame and sadness concerning who they are, where they come from, how they started life, where they are today in that life, or anxiety about their families, friends, and people who love them.  We can all learn from one another, young and old alike; black and white; gay and straight, rich or poor…we all bleed red and cry tears of water and salt.  We are all human beings who have feelings and who feel pain sometimes more often than pleasure.  By keeping open minds and tender hearts we can treat one another with a sort of identity respect that previous generations did not have the opportunity to have for themselves.  But we do need to remember that they fought the battles that brought us to the very place that our community is right now.  They have earned our respect and our gratitude – and our apologies in many ways as well.

“Right now, the endless flap over the gender community’s language is a hot topic, with RuPaul’s televisedshemale and tranny games highlighting the question of who gets to say what in our balkanized communities. The language cops, in this case conservative trans women who object to their use under any circumstance, want tranny and other such words completely banned. I understand the arguments against the insult, but I don’t think these torch-wielders realize that transsexual women do not own the experience of gender crossing or the language created around it. Both the experience and the language have a long and hard-fought history across many groups; our history books are full of these stories. In seeking to blot out our internal language of historical words like tranny, the thought police are essentially burning books, one word at a time.”  Calpernia Sarah Addams, The Advocate

http://www.advocate.com/commentary/2014/04/17/op-ed-burning-books-one-word-time

This excerpt is  from one of the articles that I read in the Advocate today, by Calpernia Sarah Addams.  The full article link is well worth your time to click and read!  The comments from her critics and from her allies too, are numerous and show the passion within our community surrounding the discussion of Gender and the way some try to be the “word or thought police” telling others that they cannot “use” certain words, or that these words are insulting to some.  As Calpernia says, our history shows no one group owning the experience or the language created around gender crossing.  We can’t just bleep out words because they offend – if we did that half the dictionary would be blot-outs and page removals!  We need to be sensitive to our audience and to the very real possibility that there have been experiences had by some that have turned certain words into reminders of hate, bigotry and violence.

Of course, I have certain words that I have chosen not use in my own personal speech or writing vocabulary, because I find them to be offensive myself, and thus choose not to use them.  My vocabulary certainly isn’t devoid of offensive words though, as those who follow me on Youtube can surely attest!  I can cuss like a trooper, and am not always “Politically Correct” but I do try to be “emotionally correct” and not attack anyone’s personal choices.  I like to believe that I do a pretty good job at showing human decency and respect for people as unique beings, regardless of their differences from me, or their differing opinions, views or what I may see as skewed moral compasses.  Everyone should be heard, so that are ALL able to learn from one another; understand our differences better, and build a better, more compassionate, loving and inclusive community.