The Gender Revolution?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

((HOLY SHIT BATMAN!))

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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B-F Question…Hardest Blog I EVER wrote!

This could be the most difficult blog I have ever undertaken!  I know, right up front, that I will probably get a lot of backlash for this. The topic is VERY difficult to write about without using stereotypes and words that we don’t necessarily “like” to use, but in order to write it I could not find a way NOT to resort to using the stereotypes.  I hope you will read first, and understand I am really trying to explain MY concept of answering this often-asked question. I am not intending to insult or disrespect ANYONE in any way, shape or form.  And I have tried to very delicately explain that this is just MY take on this topic, and is NOT the rule, may not be agreeable to anyone else. I am being very basic here, believe me we ALL KNOW there’s more to it than these basics, but for the sake of writing this piece I think I have to keep it to the old basic “stereotypes” for better understanding by a wider audience, please allow me a little lee-way here!  I would LOVE to see others write about this question and how they would answer it that is different from my thoughts below.  

The last post where i posed the question about Femme-Butch dynamics and the question about “why are Femme lesbians attracted to Butch lesbians, why not just date a man?” has spurred some very interesting and varying comments and input from my readers and Youtube audience. I love it! I like hear other peoples’ opinions and what they might say in return to the same question, opposed to what I would say myself.  It’s always great to get different perspectives and angles on any subject that interests me. 

I am going to boil down my answer to the question.  

My simple answer is “Well, they are both Lesbians, and lesbians are women who are attracted and have intimate, sexual relationships with other women.”

Now the particulars are in the pudding of the question.  The “asker” (if asked seriously by someone who truly doesn’t understand the Butch-Femme relationship dynamic and is truly curious for an answer. For sake of argument imagine someone close to you, who you love and respect asking you this question in all seriousness) sees two women, one very feminine, “girly” looking, and one very masculine, rougher, “boyish” looking.  He/she wonders “why would a woman would want to be with another woman who LOOKS like a man, why not just be with a man if that’s what you like”.  It may sound screwed up to us inside the equation; those in the LGBTQ community, and especially those of us who live the Butch-Femme dynamic daily.  But let’s just look at what the “asker” is seeing and why the question isn’t always so “stupid” when asked seriously and with respect.

The “asker” sees the Butch as more of a “man” than as the woman that she truly is. Maybe it is her clothing, perhaps haircut, rougher hands, short nails, and the way she is read as very male much of the time. Maybe it’s the way she talks, the way she carries herself, that Butch swagger, the tattoos, or the steel toe boots.  Whatever the “asker” sees that leads them to wonder what woman would be attracted to a woman of Butch identity,  

This can and does confuse those who are not part of the LGBTQ community, (and even some who ARE part of our community).  What the “asker” doesn’t see are her soft heart, her compassion, her personality, the fact that she IS a woman, has female body parts and has experienced life as a woman – a Butch woman.  

The Femme she is dating embodies all of the more “Feminine” aspects of being female. She presents to the world much the same way that most non-Butch women present, as purely woman.  She may look “straight” (The old, “oh you can’t be a lesbian, you are too pretty!” scenario), may wear make up and have a well coiffed hairdo, long painted nails and wear much more colorful and stylish clothing.  

Femmes love the masculine energy of a Butch woman.  They love that she IS a woman, and that she is rough and tumble on the outside, but has a heart of gold, is caring, compassionate, tender, vulnerable to only her, and understands her in ways no other does.

As A Butch myself, I love the Feminine energy of a Femme woman. I love that she likes to look her best, not just for me, but every day when she step out that door. I love that she cries on my shoulder during sappy movies, the way her soft, smooth hand fits so good inside of my rough one.  I love the smell of her hair, she chose that scented shampoo just because she knew I would like it – and I would TELL her so.  I love that she gets honery, stomps her heels and would fight off the whole population of the women’s rest room just so I could piss in peace.  Yes, I could go on, but it’s those opposing forces that drive us as Butches and Femmes into each other’s arms.  It’s my need for Femme energy and her need for my Butch energy in the end that brings us together as a unit.

So in the end my basic answer to a serious asker, is that Femmes are attracted to the attributes of masculinity that are embodied by a Butch WOMAN.  It’s the fact that she IS a woman that is appealing in her masculinity. It’s the way she has her own style and way of carrying masculinity that particular way that she does.  It’s about 2 women loving one another, and their preference is for the more opposite of what they are themselves, because that energy appeals to them; speaks to their soul.   

Side notes:  Of course we all know that in the end relationships come down to personality and how well the two participants get along.  Over our life times our tastes go through a range of changes, morphing into new phases and new likes/dislikes along the way.  My example is me….In my 20’s I was very much looking at the prettiest girls, the “10’s” as we used to call them. I was into how a woman looked, I was young, eager and maybe a bit shallow.  At 30 I matured. Who cares about a few extra pounds anyway?  I began to date women who made me laugh, who I enjoyed the company of and who were not just arm candy.  I fell in love with a wonderful, intelligent, witty, cute and sexy woman that I would not have given a second look to at 25!  She captured my heart and soul for 14 years…At 50 I am now interested in people; yes mostly very Femme women are my preference.  But they have to be intelligent, have a great sense of humor, be tolerant, caring, compassionate, and a dozen other things that I never thought about back in the days of hunting the 10’s.  I see the inside goods as well as the wrapping, and I am most interested in a combination of the two – a woman who likes to look her best, and is smart as a whip!  (she can even OWN a whip! lol).  I don’t think about sex first anymore, I think about what we each have to offer the other in ways of partnership, companionship and THEN sex!  🙂  

 

Femmes