Mini-View with Jaye, “I was usually too busy looking at the femmes”

24 07 2011

Hi all!

Here’s a mini-interview I did with Jaye, who leads a Paranormal Investigation group made up of entirely LGBTIIQ individuals (awesome, right?!). There are a few questions asked here, but there is more to learn from Jaye later, when he speaks to his experience with arthritis and PRIDE paranormal in later entries.


What does butch mean to you?
Well, at one point in my life, I did identify as a Butch. Even before that, I was trying to be a bit andro, cuz in the 80’s it wasn’t “cool” to be anything else. My identity evolved as I grew older, and didnt care much about what others thought.  All my life I felt like I was in the wrong body, but there was nothing I could do or say at such a young age. The first Transsexual person I found out about was Renee Richards, which totally blew my mind. Of course, I wondered if this could be done with me, but there were no resources for FTM in the 70’s and I was still a teenager going thru teenage growing pains as well. Not fun…lol.  Butch to me means a person on the more “rugged” side of life. Not necessarily male identified, but definitely more masculine traits.

What is a struggle you face as a butch identified person? In the hetero community? In the LGBTQ community?
My personal struggle at the time with the hetero community was always the “So you’re the man in the relationship?” question. I always wanted to say “I wish” but I didnt dare! So I would have to explain that we were both women and there was no man.
In the LGBTQ Community, in the 70’s it was not “right” to identify as butch or femme cuz it seemed as if you were taking on the hetero role. In the 80’s it became a bit more acceptable once our place in history was more defined and learning of those before us leading the way as butch/femme couples. Then with the invention of the internet, well, that blew everything WIDE open! LOL  But there is still a rift between male and female id’d Butches, which I totally don’t understand.

If there were one picture to describe your identity, what picture would it be? Send it to us! (I know – this is a tough one!)
You’re right, this is a tough one, but as soon as I saw this question, the pic that popped into my mind was at my 31st high school reunion. That’s when I came out to all my old friends as a “he”. The support I received was overwhelming! I will attach it. Oh, and my friend took creative license with it…lol



Who is your ideal role model butch?
Cant say I have a butch role model since there are so many facets to a Butch. Plus I’m not much into role models. I was usually too busy looking at the Femmes….lol


Why do you identify as butch? Why not boi or boy?

Well, I’ve been thru all those identities during my lifetime, so I’ll have to bow outta this one! LOL





Bren, 26, from Boston, MA, gives butch insight :)

20 07 2011

Here’s the first posted interview. It’s with Bren, 26, from Boston, MA. Everyone should read through. It’s funny and real and easy to read!

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Introduce yourself. (I.e. what is your job? what are your hobbies? how old are you? what would you like to do? etc.)
Hey there! I’m Bren. I’m in my mid-20s, but I’m approaching my late 20s at an alarming rate. I’m also a journalist, a blogger (http://buzzcutsandbustiers.com), and a comic book-reading, action figure-collecting, unapologetic geek. When I grow up, I’d like to be a famous butch blogger and/or author, following in the footsteps of Ivan E. Coyote and S. Bear Bergman. That, or I’d like to write snarky political/entertainment articles for an online publication.

What do you identify as? (This can be gender, sex, hobbies, religious/nonreligious, socioeconomic status, race/ethnicity, etc. etc. Be creative since you’re literally one of a kind!)

Oh, I’m just your typical liberal-atheist-butch-dyke-feminist-Democrat-Masshole. Basically, I’m the Religious Right’s worst nightmare and I’m damn proud of it.

What does “butch” mean to you?
Butch to me is about embracing a different way of being masculine, a way of being masculine while in a female body. It’s the understanding that “feminine” is not a requirement for “female.” Butch is also about chivalry. It’s about personifying all the best parts of masculinity and none of the worst, misogynistic aspects of it. Butch is about being a gentleman regardless of gender.
What is a stereotypical butch, as you understand it? How do you fit or fight that stereotype?
I like to think we as a community have moved past the idea of One True Way of Being Butch. That said, I do fit into some of the traditional ways of picturing what butches look like. I have a short hair. I wear men’s clothing. I date femmes. I’m protective of the people I love, and I’m always very happy to help carry something heavy or open a jar or a door. However, I have some non-stereotypical traits as well. I can’t fix a car engine (sorry). I’m not athletic in the least. I cry at movies. Oh, and I hate beer.

Is there a difference between butch, boi, and stud? If so, what are the differences?
Here’s how I understand it: a butch is typically a Caucasian masculine-of-center (MOC) person, while a stud is a masculine-of-center person of color. As for boi, that’s a young MOC who’s, well, boyish in looks and attitude.

In your experience as a butch or butch appreciator, have you been faced with harassment? Or discrimination?
I was bullied all through middle and high school for being “weird” and generally not like the other girls. I didn’t know then that I was a lesbian or a butch; looking back, it seems that the rest of the world recognized the Something Different in me before I did and saw fit to punish me for it. I’d like to say that their harassment made me a stronger person, but honestly, it just made me a bitter person and an angry person. It took years to move beyond that and learn to love myself and my otherness.

How has your butch identity (if applicable) helped you or hurt you through difficult periods in your life?
I’ve found the international community of butches and MOCs that I connect with via the internet and social networks to be an incredible support network when I’m feeling down. Sometimes just knowing that there are other people who have been where you are and understand that struggle is enough to make the world seem a less dangerous and depressing place. When people comment on my blog and say that my writing has helped them, it makes me feel, in some small way, like the choices in my life have been the right ones.

Do you have a butch idol? A butch crush? Why is she/he/they/ze so crushable?

Ivan E. Coyote is totally my butch idol. Ivan’s words have helped me along on my journey to the butch I am today and have given me a sense of community, of belonging, that I want to share with the butches of tomorrow.

How do you feel about the butch-femme dynamic?
The butch-femme dynamic is such an integral part of my life. It’s how I date and how I love. Butch-femme is a dance as old as time itself, and it’s sexy as all hell. Nothing in this world can make me feel more butch – or really, more me – than the touch of a femme. I need that energy, that femme yang to make my butch yin feel complete. It’s truly a beautiful thing.

What do you think about butch-butch relationships?
Well, as I said above, I only date femmes. However, I support all my MOC sisters and brothers, which means supporting who and how they love. The hetero world already polices our relationships enough; we shouldn’t do the same thing to members of our own community. You just do you.

What are five things you couldn’t live without?
Femmes, flannel, an internet connection, Doc Martens, toys (take that as you will)

Do you have any encouraging words for those “baby butches” who may feel like they don’t fit in or don’t belong?

I could say “it gets better,” but that’s almost a cliché now, isn’t it? Instead, I’d refer any baby butches to Melissa Sky’s “Baby Butch: A Love Letter from the Future,” an amazing piece that I wish I could have experienced when I was a wee fetal butch:  http://persistenceanthology.tumblr.com/post/6760903276/this-is-a-love-letter-from-the-future-baby

If you could tell a younger version of yourself something… what age would you tell yourself at and what would it be?

I would tell 18-year-old me to go out and get a short haircut, because it feels friggin’ fantastic. I would also tell her to suck it up and talk to cute girls, even the ones that seem “out of your league.” Because, kid, nobody is out of your league.

Tell me a favorite memory that relates to your identity as butch or your butch appreciation.
One time, I was accidentally called “Sir” by a waitress at a drag show. It was so meta, it was amazing.

What is the butch style or fashion? What are the good? The bad? The ugly?
This is another one of those questions that has as many answers as there are butches in the world. I will, however, say this: no more mullets, ever. Please.

What is YOUR style or fashion?
I’ve sort of got this dapper-urban-geek-chic look going on. One day I’m rocking a comic book T-shirt and a plaid shirt, and the next I’ve got on a suit vest and a tie. I like to mix things up.

How do you feel about your body? How do you feel “butch” plays into body? Do you think there are expectations for butches in their bodies?
I have some very complicated feelings about my body. I wish it were taller and a bit thinner, but mostly, I wish my boobs weren’t so damn big. I’m pretty embarrassed about having a feature that’s so prominently feminine when I feel so masculine, you know? It’s not that I want them to go away, because I like having them in certain, um, intimate situations. On a daily basis, however, I would rather they be much smaller and easily concealable. It would sure make shopping for shirts a lot easier, too.

Is “butch” an identity? A gender? A sex? Just a word? What are your thoughts?
To me, butch is not only an identity that comes with a rich and proud history, but a sort of gender. I can say “female” easily for my sex, but when it comes down to gender and presentation, “butch” works so much better. It also flows better than “masculine-presenting-female-bodied person.”

What would your ideal butch community be like? What would your ideal butch bonding event be like?

I would LOVE to start a butch-femme community social group in Boston. Whenever I see another butch-femme couple out, I just want to run up to them and ask them to hang out. I don’t, because that would be weird, but it would be amazing to have a space or event where I could connect with other MOC people and the femmes who love them. I really long for that sense of community in my own backyard.





Interviews!

29 06 2011

Hey everyone!

So, for the past year, I have been collecting written pieces – from poems to song lyrics to nonfiction anecdotes. And, no worries, I am still collecting those. I want to hear your stories, pain, pleasure. I want to know what “butch” means to you. Or why “butch” is so great.

But, I have also begun interviews. Interviews can be done by e-mail, phone, or instant messenger. Each have their pros and cons, but I’m willing to find a time to make this work for you! I want to hear from as many people as possible. So far, many people have responded. I’ve had the privilege of hearing about people’s experiences and opinions. The diversity within the community is really amazing. And, I’d love for anyone who is interested to be a part of it!

 

All you have to do is send me an e-mail at paivakai@gmail.com if you are interested! Spread the word to your friends, colleagues, networks, or anyone you think may be interested! And, remember, we are still looking for poems, song lyrics, nonfiction and fiction pieces about butches and butch appreciation.

 

Thank you for your support!

butchLOVE.

Kai





“Just a Kid”

18 12 2010

This is an e-mail I received from Angie Cinco, age 15.

 

 

My name is Angie Cinco, I’m only 15, and full blown butch. Most cant tell that I’m a girl. I’m in an awesome relationship with a girl just a day younger than me, and I love her very much. she wants to come out to everyone but is scared shes going to turned out by her mother and all of her friends, I’ve been in her position. i came out when i was just 13, and my mother didn’t take it well. I actually got kicked out of the house for it. We’re in love. plain and simple. We’ve been friends since diapers. Once I came out, she admitted to me she was too, and figured I wouldn’t judge her, and it turns out, we’ve had a crush on each other since we were little. My life has been a journey so far, and there’s no doubt that it will continue to be one well into the future.  Through the name callings, not knowing what to wear to fancy sporting events, the turning of the straight girls, the abuse, its all worth it to know I’m myself, and not denying anything to anyone. I’m a butch and proud of it. I may be young, but I’ve been through it all – the good and bad.





Title TBA

18 12 2010

I was born in 1947. By age six I was a “tomboy”, hurrying home after school to get out of my mandatory skirt or dress and into the clothes that gave me freedom to roller skate on the sidewalks or ride my bike until I had to be in for dinner.

 

Despite some minor dismay, my mother was rather impressed and amused at her little girl’s “un-ladylike” interests and talents. (This dismay became major when I approached puberty and didn’t grow out of this presumedstage. ) I became quite proficient at chubbies with a Boyscout knife, climbing trees without injury, enthusiastically pushing the manual lawn-mower all over our large side yard, and any other physical activities I could come up with. My brother, Tommy, was a typical boy and we played first-bounce-or-fly against the chimney wall on the side of the house for hours as well as baseball, catch, pickle, etc. He taught me a lot about athletic skills. At my grandmother’s cottage on the shore of a small lake, every weekend of every summer, Tommy, our favorite cousins and I learned to swim and dive at age five and spent many hours in the lake, playing badminton, tetherball, croquet and rowing the boat. My mother elevated my status from  “tomboy” to “amazon” and explained that these females were strong, capable, courageous and independent. I loved that identity and have held onto it ever since, especially knowing that their independence was from men. In fourth grade we had to select an instrument to learn and, because I knew from earlier piano lessons that I wasn’t well coordinated using both of my hands for different activities, I chose the trumpet. Mom objected that that was a “boy’s instrument” but I won the argument because my position was rational and hers was just sexist ideology.

 

That was pre-puberty me. When I started junior high school, I tried to conform to the sexist role behaviors so I would be accepted by the other girls, hopefully not any boys. I grew my hair long enough to be set in a bubble style or pageboy and shaved my legs (but not for long because of the blood). These were my concessions. I continued using my natural talents and became famous as a superior girl athlete. I was elected President of Gym Cadets by my classmates for two consecutive terms ( a first at the school). As President, I was the gym teacher’s assistant before, during and after class and inter-murals. I was totally in love with her which motivated me to be as good at everything we did as I possibly could be. Most of the girls took notice of my attachment to her and accepted it; their only effort to diminish my disinterest in boys was to encourage me to wear a padded bra after observing me in the locker room and seeing I needed to wear no bra at all since there wasn’t enough to my breasts to need support. I bought the bra but wore it only a few times because I felt like such a phony in it.

 

I knew at age eleven that I was accepting of homosexuality because my mother presented me with a shoe box of love letters to my oldest and dearest brother from a boy, exclaiming, “Isn’t this disgusting?” I was surprised and confused by her feelings. “No”, I countered. “I think it’s wonderful that Johnny is loved by someone that he loves back.” The conversation ended. Two years later, I came home from a pajama party with my seventh grade peers and took a nap during which I had my first wet dream about one of them. I knew then I was a Lesbian and that was just a fine fact of my life. I would be sixteen before I fell in love with a tomboy friend and had my first Lesbian relationship. Was I butch? Yes. I was confident, guiltless, shameless and free to show my feelings toward her so I initiated touching; she, in contrast, felt afraid, guilty, shameful and inhibited. But we didn’t play roles. We were just two young tomboy girls in an intimacy not understood by us or tolerated by her mother who, when she found a love note from me in her daughter’s pocket, forbade her to see me or else she wouldn’t get to go to college. Her mother won and I reacted with self-destructive behaviors and deep depression that lasted throughout high school. Those years were miserable at school, believing that I was the only “queer” in my class of 846 students, still grieving my first forsaken love, still required to wear skirts or dresses in which I felt unreal, and getting ” a talk” from one of my gym teachers about her concern that I was not taking care of myself and that I had to be brave. I knew she pitied me and probably empathized but I also knew she was afraid to take me under her wing for fear of being outed by association or accused of influencing me to be who I already was. And at home there was a mother who saw me as the negative stereotype of a homosexual (male) from the moment she knew I was a Lesbian and not just going through a stage. The only readily available literature and belief system defined us as sick, immoral, depraved, promiscuous, predatory, sinful, unnatural and dirty. So I, Susan, had no reality to my parents anymore so everything I said or did was distorted by their blind assumptions.

 

What saved me from enduring depression and loneliness was my oldest brother taking me downtown to a gay bar and somehow getting me past the bouncer when I was seventeen. I dressed in drag: a white ivy-league shirt, black pants and blazer, my brother’s thin tie. I felt so handsome and I was! Because there were only two “roles” to play in the 1950’s and early-mid 60’s,butch was my clear option as I had never had an affinity for the “feminine” for myself or in other women.

 

Femmes were not what I was attracted to: it was women like me who were strong, independent, sensible and unconventional. This caused me problems in the sexist bar culture. Butches rejected me if I was attracted to them because they were seeking femmes and I embarrassed them with my attention/intention. How very queer I was being by not playing butch-femme like the “normal” homosexual and straight societies did! But the butches tried to save me. Because I was emotional and even wrote poetry, they suspected that I was a femme in dyke clothing and relabeled me a “kiki” which was a Lesbian who was neither butch nor femme. There was a curiosity and stigma to this, like being a mulatto or hermaphrodite. When Sandra Bem, Ph. D. introduced the concept of “androgyny” as an integrated identity, set of skills and behaviors of both masculine and feminine definitions (which are merely social constructs anyway), I found validation at last: to be outside the rigid, contrived heterosexist model of roles, gender and sexual identities. Thank you, Dr. Bem!

 

My education at the gay bars was painful at times. I talked with “bull dykes” who never let their partner touch them during sex; who were totally identified with the stereotypical male/ masculine/macho ideal. Then one night an “androgynous” college student came in wearing a sweatshirt and jeans. She didn’t look like she “dressed up” for the gay bar scene; she didn’t look gay but like a regular college student, Outside of the bar I might have been very attracted to her but in this context, she didn’t have much appeal: she wasn’t playing the scene and, after all, this was the only place we could play it.

 

In the late 1960’s just before Stonewall and feminism exploded, I fell in love with a woman whose proud small waste and seductive nature went into her identification as a femme. We loved going to restaurants with me donning a three-piece suit to see if we could “pass” as a heterosexual couple. We chose Bob as my name and tried to remember to use it but when she slipped up, we just laughed and laughed, not afraid if we blew our caper. We just weren’t afraid.

 

We always wore drag to the bar on Saturday nights to dance and socialize: she in her dresses and I in my tailored suits and ties. In our other worlds, I dressed butch (flannel shirts, pants always, tee shirts, anything tailored) and she often donned slacks with feminine tops, make-up, styled hair. I had always initiated sex with my lovers and experienced most of my sexual feelings by being butch, making love to them, coming with very little touching on their part. But one afternoon, this femme with whom I was still in love and living with turned me onto my back and made love to me the way I did to her (and others before her). I allowed myself to feel like “a natural woman” (Thank you, Carol King) which changed my sense of myself and truly freed me from identification as a butch so that I could become genuinely and thoroughly androgynous. Previous to this, I had often been mistaken as a male at gas stations, in stores and restaurants, etc. but have not been for four decades (apart from a few sexist, senile male residents in nursing homes where I’ve worked.

 

At age 63, I proudly remain a tomboy, an amazon, a butch, and an androgynous Lesbian dyke. I am grateful for each of us who has had the courage to be ourselves in the face of fear, hatred, ridicule, even violence; to make a statement to society that there are women who are willing to defy artificial roles and identities that stifle our ability to fulfill our potentials as complete human beings; to wear masculine clothes like banners to proclaim our courage, practicality, strength, sensibility, difference; to put Lesbians into the light of visibility so that we may know each other and not think we’re alone.

 

Butches have born the brunt of discrimination because we are not afraid to defy the mandate that women dedicate their lives to serving and pleasing men, to needing them sexually, socially and financially. We risk threatening conventional women by not validating their roles with men, with dependency, vulnerability and victimization (often so subtle they don’t even know it’s happening). We don’t need to drive Harleys or dress in drag to make our statement of strength, courage and rebellion. We carry it in our bones and our bones will feed the earth.

 





18 12 2010

Thank you to Oshin Nufus Rosli again!






Butch Photos!

18 12 2010

Oshin Nufus Rosli lookin’ fly🙂

 

 

Submitted by Katelyn Jessmer!








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