Introducing a New Blogger…”Trigger Warning”

I have a buddy named Ryal, that has just recently started blogging on WordPress.  Here’s the link to his blog:  “Trigger Warning”  yes, the name of the blog is Trigger Warning, and I will add that there are some seriously blunt topics discussed.  He’s just gotten started and could use our input and interaction on his blogs!  Won’t you subscribe and add him to your Reader list?

It’s all about diversity and supporting one another in our journey’s through life, right?  I definitely think so!  🙂  Have a great day folks!

~MainelyButch

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Stop the Stupid In-Fighting!

“Significant problems cannot be solved at the same level of thinking which created them.”  Einstein

I read the most horrible blog yesterday here on WordPress, and was stunned to see such a waste of time and space on here.  I’ll give you the general gist of the blog: it was hateful.  AND the blogger was ranting and raving about how she is hated upon as a woman – which she spells ‘womon‘ for some weird reason unbeknownst to this Butch (but it makes me think of the word worm).  Now, this bloggers blogging name indicates that she may also identify – I use the word lightly – as Butch as well.  Because she ranted and raved about ‘identity’ over and over.  She wants to see the world, and for everyone to see the world in black and white.  That there are only 2 genders that exist – male and female, girl and boy, or man and woman – take your pick of words you like.  While I agree that the world has generally been seen in this very binary way, you are either born with a penis or a vagina and thus you are either boy or girl, I think that humans are evolving – as they should be – and we have the capacity mentally to understand things are not always black and white for everyone.  

I am a trans ally.  I get crap about it from my lesbian counterparts quite often.  I get accused of wanting to be trans myself.  My name and photo has been ripped from my own personal pages and plastered on websites that promote hate against gender variant people. I’ve been called all kinds of names.  Ya know what?  I don’t fucking care.  Anyone who has that kind of hate for me or any other person – male or female, gay, straight, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, gender-queer, gender-variant, etc etc. can kiss my skinny white ass. By pointing at someone and saying you hate them because _____ just remember, there are 3 fingers pointing back at you from your own hand.  Look inside yourself, find love and compassion for all human beings.  That is our common denominator, we are all human beings; beings of flesh, blood, bone and brain, who can think and feel and do and say, etc.  We need to find a common love and respect for each other, and that common respect does not come from wanting to separate individuals because you don’t care to acknowledge their self-chosen identity.  

I have grown into my own identity as Butch.  I don’t see myself as male or female.  I see myself as Butch – a cross between the two.  Does this mean that because I have chosen to self-identify as Butch (like so many others do as well) that I am not worthy because I don’t hold up my female body in some kind of cult style worship?  And because I don’t think I am male, that I am less than either?  No, it means I am a far more complex and deeper thinking person than someone who only sees things one way; who only accepts text book notations of words, definitions and binaries.  

“To choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances is to choose one’s own way”  

                                                     Viktor Frankel,      Holocaust survivor

The outside of every one of us changes over time no matter what.  Some choose to change their bodies to suit how they feel internally, despite being affected daily by society’s gender pressures.  I commend anyone who has this courage.  It’s taken me many years to finally decide that I have the power over my own destiny and over my own body and can do with it what I please. And this doesn’t make me any less of a person than anyone else. 

The name calling, the monikers used to describe one or another ‘clique’ of individuals is just plain stupid….stupid…stupid…and it needs to just stop.  Just stop acknowledging the words, ignore them, and they will fade away.  Don’t pay attention to the haters, the people spewing resentment and ignorance from their mouths or finger tips tapping on keys.  Rembember the old “sticks and stones saying…words can never hurt you – if YOU do not allow them to hurt you.  You are the master of your own ship, commander of your destiny so to speak.  What you allow to affect you will affect you, good or bad.  

Nothing in this world is purely black and white.  For centuries in other cultures there have been 3rd and 4th genders recognized.  Things have changed, they are continuing to change every moment that the earth spins.  Get used to it.  Accept that you can be a part of the change, or you can be left behind to stew in your hateful thoughts.  It’s purely up to you as an individual what you choose to do here.  I say make a change today, stop using words that inflict verbal insult on others, and start respecting them for who they are and respect yourself at the same time; respect who you have evolved and become over your lifetime and realize you are not that same person that you were 10 years ago either.  

The LGBTQ community can just plain be catty.  There’s no way to couch that statement.  Catty as all hell.  Nit picking goes on all over and people love to think that their way is the only way to be gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, or whatever you want, just fill in the blank.  We need to just stop and see each other for a change.  Love one another, know that we are in this battle for equality together, and for reasons!  Until all people are equal, no one is equal.  The in-fighting is just not becoming or very smart on anyone’s part.  We need to be united and we need to learn that our differences can unite us, not let them separate us.  Rock on.

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.

 

 

 

Our Internet Allegiances and Remembering when…

The last 20 years I have – like the rest of the world most likely – watched and participated in the internet and the world-wide web taking over the world; bringing social networking to our tool box for communication.  It has certainly drawn our LGBT communities much closer; brought individuals into our lives that we may never have met without it, and changed the base-line dynamics of how relationships begin, go on and end.  

My own experience with computers and the internet came to me in my early 30’s….in 1993 actually.  And since then it has become part of my daily life.  Because of this daily access to information, education, opinion, people, and tons of other things, I find that I have personally learned many things along the journey that have changed me in some way.  I imagine that this is true for everyone who has brought the computer into the home, place of business, on vacations and has become the standard everyday user of said machine.  

We’ve grown a whole new vocabulary for using the internet, and for using the texting features on our phones and other devices. Words that have grown in such popularity and usage that they have been added to our dictionaries and allowed on the Scrabble board!  Some are clean cut, some require some experience of understanding with the topic of the word.  We’ve gotten used to it now.  

Twenty years ago we were in a different place in the LGBT community; in our country and in the world.  We found solidarity in Gay Pride parades and events.  We built alliances for support, encouragement and protection.  The world was still much less hospitable to LGBT identifying people than it is today in 2014…but it was making progress every so slowly.  

The internet became our strongest tool in forming these alliances and building on this new-found solidarity as we leaned about one another, learned that we are not alone in our struggles; that others had/have the same experiences or questions about themselves and where they “fit” in the big picture as we do!  And today this wonderful thing we call the web is the primary “go-to” tool for building or forming just about everything.  Computers have helped us do more than communicate, they have enriched our scientific studies, testing, allowed us to see things previously invisible, and allowed us to make things previously unknown – such as 3D copies for example.  Yes, the computer changed life on earth very radically; and the internet changed social interaction around the world quickly, effectively and entirely.

I love my computer experiences.  I enjoy my computers, what each can do, what I have each set up to do for me or with me when the need arises.  I love social media, networking, meeting new and interesting people online and then oft times in person!  I giggle at the funny pictures everyone can now post.  I shed tears for the sad posts that bring a touch of real life agony from half a world away right into our living room.  Yes, for the most part – probably 98% I do really enjoy my computer time and activities.  

There is that 2% of the time that something I see on my social networking, news, blog, or video sites unseats or unnerves me to the core.  I get that freedom of speech is the rule. That people are free to have their own opinions, and to post whatever they wish to post to their “pages” around the web.  And sometimes I am not going to like a post, a picture, or a statement made by someone else.  I am free to not read, look at or interact with those posts – that is my choice I fully understand.  Perhaps maybe today, 20 years down the data-train road I understand that I make my own choices even more fully than I understood it at 32.  That does not mean that I have to enjoy making that choice; or that I ever enjoy stumbling across stuff that I think is mean-spirited, cyber-bullying; or that comes across as hate-speech, sometimes full of stuff that can be outright assaults on others, crude, rude, crass, nasty, or vulgar, etc.  

I understand that when there is a space where I am invited to leave a comment that I am rightful to do so if I choose.  But there seems to be this fairly new internet thing where some use the comments sections to try to start on-line arguments, debates, and just like to post upsetting stuff.  Some of them are what I call “drama queens” (which anyone can be, it’s not a gender specific title!) and “turd stirrers” who like to stir the pot and get people upset and riled up.  If someone verbally assaults or attacks me or any of my friends I am one who will come forward and say something or try to diffuse the situation; perhaps it was just a misunderstanding to begin with and no harm was intended.  But when slander and hurt is done purposefully I consider that poster a cyber-bully; someone who is just rude and probably are self-loathing beings anyway.  

Personally I do not believe that it’s right to use your online space to hurt others, or to post about other’s choices and lives.  I do not ever use photos or video clips of people on my pages to ever hurt them.  And generally IF I use a photo of someone I DO get their permission – unless it’s a viral clip like a dog in a hat, that I am going to say is “cute”.  Those are only common courtesies to me.  And I do not mind others sharing my post or videos if it’s for the right reasons, for the base intention of doing good, and not for defaming or slandering me in any way; not for negative reasons or on negatively loaded sites.  I have much more respect for any blogger or vlogger, who wants to use my posts, when they contact me and explain what they are going to use them for in advance of just posting them.  I would like to think that I have good, decent internet values and mannerisms; and that I am far above having to use other people’s posts to cause controversy that draws views or interest to my posts – but brings them nothing but harm and misery.

We had some very hateful incidents concerning a certain set of blogs and vlogs where the creator was very anti-trans and chose to attack many FtM guys publicly – copying and re-posting their surgery pictures and giving horrific details of why these people were wrong to transition.  Quite a few people banned together and got involved and we tried to get this person banned from vlogging and blogging using pictures without authorization  – or even common courtesy of asking to use them – We got a private investigator involved, we know the person, far too much about this person actually now…and sadly she’s still got people who read and believe all of the sludge that she created; who looks completely past the hurt she’s doing / has done to these innocent people with her vile posts.  I thought most of the world was progressing, but obviously we have some stragglers!  I am sure that some of you remember this time in our online history, those that she didn’t completely shame off of the web, she hurt our community with her poison – which is just hard to forget!

 (((Note:  Don’t even mention her vile name in any comments left, I will not approve them if you do!!!!  She deserves NO more “hits” on her vlogs or blogs, so don’t mention her moniker or name please!)))  

I will be following this blog with another in the next day or two speaking on the solidarity we have created via our online connections, and how those alliances have so positively affected and helped many of us in the LGBT community.  Much more up beat!  🙂 Rock on!Image

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-phobia….my personal rant

I was directed to a blog last night that stunned the crap out of me with its anti-Butch/Femme/Trans overtones and direct, blatant lies and misconception.  It infuriates me that this far into the fight for equality across the board the we are still belittling and ridiculing each other right her within the LGBT alphabet soup community, and with such harshness and berating that it’s unbelievable.

When I see a snake in the garden I am one to confront it and deal with it, rather than let it slither at me and try to scare my ass.  And while there are many “snakes in our gardens” so to speak, the ones that are particularly venomous are those who are spouting phobic bullshit.  If you are phobic about something and do not understand it or haven’t experienced it yourself, so you are afraid of it and thus feel you need to belittle or shame it away somehow, I think you are just so full of your own internalized homophobia and woman-phobic bullshit. 

Short of going on a full out ranting rampage here I am going to choose a few sentences of the bullshit blog I read and share them with you. 

“…how the Butch and Femme identities are two sides of the same gender coin that limits the full potential of who a woman can be.”    What does this fucking mean?  That because I identify as Butch and walk that walk in my own life that I cannot possibly live up to my “potential”?  WTF? 

This person also seems to think, from what I understand, that somehow being Butch is a lead in to becoming an FtM trans person.  Yes, perhaps I walk a thin, thin line in this aspect, but let it be known that I am NOT trans, and I AM a lesbian.  A woman loving woman.  I respect and admire my brave trans friends to the nth degree.  Their walk is so like my own, at times very lonely, scary, and confusing I am sure.  And to be continually fighting against the Butch/Transphobia we both face from within the Lesbian community, it is just ludicrous. 

I am Butch no matter how you dress me up.  As another blogger coined I am “clockable” regardless of what I wear or don’t wear.  It’s like lipstick on a pig to put me in a dress, and it fools no one.  I’m straight up Butch and damned proud, and damned sure not going to try to twist it or change it for some other fool who thinks it’s not “feminine” enough, that I am “aggressive and inappropriate” in my appearance or presentation to the world.  Fuck that.  I never ever felt very feminine and it’s stupid to say that that makes me less of a woman, when it’s just MY way of being the Butch woman that I am. 

Shame me all you want, I am not accepting YOUR shame.  I will not be shamed into changing the core of who my being IS in this world.  Accuse me of “playing a role”, but understand if you can that I am NOT playing a role, but I am just being myself, plain and simple.  It’s sad that people cannot just be who they are in today’s world without causing someone else to start throwing therapeutic assumptions at them that they are suppressing some inner battle and that’s causing them to “act out” in the way that they present to the world.  Utter bullshit in my opinion.

I have experienced oppression as a woman, as a Butch, because I am not feminine enough, woman enough, too masculine, “other” and more.  I am a gender non-conformist, and it seems that some Lesbian people just seem to hate that idea!  Like they expect us to all shout at the tops of our lungs that “we are woman” but yet not be too “Femme” or too “Butch” as to make them look twice. They would rather have everyone fit more into a “neutral” kind of box where we could all be some sort of touchy-feely kinds of Lesbians with woman attributes that were apparent, but not overly so. 

I’m not some college educated left wing Feminist.  To the contrary, I often am confused by radical Feminism and all its negative connotations on our lives.  Seems like it’s that we want to be treated equally – but separately somehow, and that’s not exactly equal if you ask me. 

Who I love, whether it be a more Femme woman, another Butch or someone who doesn’t fall into an identifying group, is none of anyone’s business.  And it doesn’t matter, I am still a card carrying Lesbian no matter what.  I am romantically attracted to women and only women.   I have many male friends and respect them as they do me. 

What we directly experience and see in life is what matters to us as human beings.  It’s how we navigate our way through our often complicated, complex and dynamic lives.  People choose the facts that relate to what they already believe.  Human engagement isn’t about facts, but about our experiences and our relationships to each other.  And yes, these relationships take on all forms, we take on all types of personalities and personas, that make us comfortable in our own skin.  No one can take your core values and your core being away from you, and no on should every shame another for being who they ARE in this world.  Walk your walk.  Butch or Femme or something else, just be proud and walk tall.