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.   

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Shaking the Umbrella

It seems, unfortunately in 2012 that being comfortable in just being who you are, and allowing others to do that same thing, not policing them in return – even when they do it to you – has just become the sort of “norm” way of thinking inside of the LGBTQ  community   I am saddened by stories I hear about individuals (and groups) being put down by others inside of the LGBTQ umbrella for expressing themselves as individuals, and not being swayed by “stereotypes” or “rules” of how to act, be or present that appeases our seeming need to be seen as normal in the world at large.

Since I began questioning the ideas of gender policing, transphobia, and hate from within the LGBTQ community itself, I have recieved quite a bit of input from others.  Some telling me their horror stories of incidents they endured, or that a partner or lover went through.  Some lamenting the by-gone days when it was “ok to be gay” and we all carried the rainbow flag together – Butches, Femmes, Dykes, Queers, Bisexuals, Trans people and those still seeking their identity.

Be that.  The LGBTQ community has become so hostile towards it’s own “members” in recent years; no longer affording us a “safe space” to just be the unique individuals we are intended to be.  But trying to “police” us and set “guidelines and rules” for who can and cannot claim an identity, a lifestyle, or just their own unique style.  For some reason some have gravitated toward more rigidity in how others are “supposed” to present to the rest of the world, which lends heavily to the “one bad apple” thing that happens so easily when you are already part of a group that is already viewed thru the eyes of skepticism.

Remember the Toronto Gay Pride chair who wanted – paraphrasing here – us to tone it down – ie no “Butch” lesbians or “Flambouyant” gay men, but for the crowd to exhibit a more “family friendly or normal” presentation in the parade?— Yeah, like let’s all pretend we are “normal” like the rest of this fucked up world’s inhabitants! SMH

God forbid that we take “pride” in who we ARE, in our own families and in our community as a whole.  I remember that incident very vividly, because, as a Stone Butch myself, I felt completely negated – within the so called “safety net” of the community that I loved – and represented.  And by someone who was supposed to be leading a showing of PRIDE and fighting PREJUDICE.  It felt to me like a direct insult; a frontal attack and left a very very bad taste in my mouth that I have yet to be able to fully rinse from existence.  I only wish I had the opportunity to address the person who spewed those words into the air with such whimsical ease; to say, “HEY, wait a damned minute!…”

I have so much more to share related to this topic of hate and discrimination experienced under the umbrella.  I thank those who have taken the time to contact me with their painful recollections -L, G, B, T, and Q’s!  And please if you would like to share I am wide open for hearing your experiences and opinions!  More to come…