01 March 2012

It's A Butch World Out There: LIVE!

A lot can happen in twenty years. Twenty years from now you could find yourself married with children, settled into your dream career, or going to that dreaded high school reunion just to see if the head cheerleader actually did end up dating the football captain. Twenty years is, however, far too young to take your last breath.

A good friend of mine passed on Sunday; tonight was his viewing. The funeral home was packed with family members and friends from all walks of life. It didn’t hit me until I saw him that he was really gone. And I had this awful realization that I would never hear his voice again. I cried and held another good friend of ours as they cried.

We all stepped outside for a smoke. After one, we had a second, and a third. Somewhere along the line we started telling stories about his life—about the crazy stunts, the late nights, and all the occasions where he would make us laugh. And we started laughing. In the midst of this tragedy, we could look at the light he brought in our lives. Those memories are gifts he gave us. And even though this never should have happened, we can remember those moments and smile.

What I have to say tonight, GFB, is to not let life pass you by. Snatch up every moment and love one another fully. Reach out to people you have not heard from in awhile and just ask how they are doing. Build those connections…maintain them and cherish them. Be inspired. Create art. Create SOMETHING. Above all else, just go out there and fucking live man.

Kenn’s life was cut far too short, but he lived every single moment he was given to the fullest. Thank you for being in my life and for the impact you had. See you on the other side man.


29 February 2012

Kings United: Lip Syncing/Learning Your Song

HAPPY LEAP YEAR, YA'LL! (and happy birthday to Superman)

So, you have that song picked out, but do not know all of the lyrics. Lip syncing in time with your song is a big part of your performance. Especially if it is a king pageant with judges watching your every move. You need to get the lyrics down and in time. Some kings print out the song so they can read it over while listening to the song. Personally, I write it out to read over a few times while playing it so that my mind recognizes the words from writing them. I tend to drive a lot so that gives me plenty of opportunities to play the song continuously. Below is another was if you do not have access to the lyrics.

First: Get rid of anything that will distract you. You need to focus and relax.

Second: Close your eyes and focus on each word as the artist sings them.

Third: Start with replaying the chorus so you can learn that. It is the catchiest part of the song so it will be the easiest to remember.

Fourth: Learn the bridge the same way as the chorus.

Fifth: From there, start learning the first verse. It will go into the chorus and/or bridge and once you get into it, you will become more confident.

Sixth: Continue the fifth step with each verse.

Seventh: Play the song in its entirety once you learn each verse, chorus, and bridge individually. This will help you match the timing between them and the tune to each.

Continue each step until you are confident enough to get on stage and know the song fully. If you want, you can also test yourself by singing the song in your head while at work where you are not able to read the lyrics or play the song. After you get the lyrics to your song down, then you can move on to dancing and lip syncing together.

Chance Encounters

Drag King

28 February 2012

Partner Circle: Coming Out, Part II

In our society, there are many different versions of ‘the talk’. In this community, however, the ‘coming out talk’ may be the most monumental we face. For some, this conversation could be potentially life changing, thus making it all the more daunting of a task. By this point, I am going to assume that you and your partner have had said ‘talk’ – they have come out to you as either questioning their gender identity or, having thought long and hard about it, have come to the conclusion they are what we would call transgender. This is not to say that just because your partner has come out to you questioning their gender identity they are automatically trans*. This is why ‘the talk’ is so important, you need to ask your partner how they wish to identity, whether it be as trans*, gender non-conforming, gender neutral, what have you. Once that has been established, one can assume that your conversation ended with the two of you still being together, seeing as you are here reading this.

First things first, I want to compliment you on choosing what I consider to be a more ‘adult’ road. I myself have never had to make this decision, so I cannot imagine being in those shoes. However, love is love is love – it is a completely genderless emotion. So I guess what I am trying to say is…thank you. Thank you for choosing love over fear and sticking with your partner no matter what you face together. But I digress…

Now that you have had the talk with your partner, you need to have one with yourself, and you have to be honest during this conversation. Sometimes, we placate others because we want to see them happy, but we forget about ourselves in the process. Your happiness should be your main focus, and that is not a selfish viewpoint. If you do not keep an eye out for your own happiness, no one else will. Sit down with yourself, take a deep breathe, and ask the questions you were afraid to let yourself ask when your partner first came out to you.

A lot of cis-women who date other cis-women consider themselves lesbians (or gay, whichever your preferred label is) and that label is extremely important to them. I am not saying your self-adhered label should not be important to you, but I am imploring you to realize it is not the most important thing at hand. If you are a cis-woman and your partner comes out to you as transgender, meaning they are female-to-male, society will have us believe that a man and a woman in a relationship denotes a ‘straight couple’. Here is the thing though – if being out with your trans* partner is going to have you constantly worrying about people thinking you are a straight couple, then society is not the issue here…you are.

I know that labels are important to us, I really do. As a queer woman, I know there are people that would not want to date me were I identified as bisexual or pansexual, because there is a stigma associated with those labels. It’s an unfortunate fact in our community that we judge first by label and then by who the person is underneath said label. However, you are not responsible for the community, you are responsible for yourself in your relationship. If being a woman who identifies as a lesbian while being a relationship with a partner who identifies as a man is too much for you, then you need to let each other go. But if you are willing to fight for the relationship, willing to let go of your adamant adherence to a label in favor of your relationship, then I really truly wish you the best in the world.

When in doubt, I suggest always choosing love over fear.
Even if you lose, you are still going to win in the end.

Xx Emily

26 February 2012

FTM Chronicles: Job Interviews

Interviews can be tricky. Maybe you’ve pumped yourself up and walked into the building confidently, but then the nervousness comes back as you make your way to the proper room or as you wait to be called in by a secretary. What to say, what not to say. Everything is going through your mind. Did you remember a pen? Are you wearing appropriate clothing for the job? Time keeps ticking as you wait to start. Then… here he comes and shakes your hand firmly, “you must be Mr. So-and-so. Pleasure to meet you.” You let out the breath that you didn’t even know you were holding.

For some, this process is not scary, but for a trans guy, it can be horrifying. On top of the typical nervousness that comes with a job interview, you have your gender to worry you even more. For a pre-HRT guy, it is normally worse. They may get misgendered a lot and on the phone interview or email, you presented as male. Then comes the interview, and they start messing up on pronouns. If you have not had your name changed yet and are pre-HRT, then it may be even more nerve racking when trying to explain. If you are already on HRT and have a high pass rate (mind you I hate using the term ‘pass‘, but it will help explain in this article), but have not changed your name, then it may or may not be easier to explain. Then there is that stage where you are on HRT, had your name change, but your gender marker is not changed. You get stuck wondering if they will harp on that at all. Depending on the job, they may have different uniforms for male and female. An example may be in security, some have male and female ties for their employees to wear. So how do you know when and how to tell your possible or new employer about your transition or if at all? Let me tackle these one at a time.

First, pre everything. This is the hardest. Some may say not to tell them during the interview process at all and wait to see if you are hired before talking to your employer. You may or may not be able to do this. Personally, when I was pre everything, I held off on telling possible employers because I found that if I did disclose this information in the interview, then I did not get the job. It all depends on the interviewer and how the process was approached. Use your own judgment because you do not want to put yourself in harms way.

Second, pre HRT but had name change. Depending on how you pass will determine if you need to disclose anything. If you go in there, the interviewer is using the proper pronouns, then you know you are fine until at least filling out the hiring packet and such if you get hired. If that happens then just fill out the paperwork. Do not ask questions on gender or name change. If it asks for a prior name if applicable, then put your old one down (even if your record is sealed). The interviewer most likely will not even look at that since that is back office stuff. When you hand over your id for the one identification part, just do so. In some states, the marker is so small, that they will not notice it since it is not what they need to type in. If it comes up, then discuss what you are comfortable with.

Now, if they did not start with the right pronouns (maybe they do a double take or looked confused when calling your name), then just merely correct them. There are enough androgynous people out there that they may just feel like they messed up and will then apologize.

Third, started HRT but not name change. Now it gets easier. They most likely will not even bring it up, but if they do, then just say what you are comfortable with disclosing. Hell, even blame your parents. Just claim they were hippies or whatnot when you were born and they gave you a girl’s name. Things get easier on HRT in this department because they do not look at your identification until after hired so your gender marker will not pose as an issue in the hiring process especially once on HRT and having had a name change.

Lastly, on HRT, had name change, and gender marker changed. My best policy in the case, go stealth. No one needs to know your personal life nor your past life. Work is work. It is not personal. You can be out about it, sure. But only do what you are comfortable with doing and what will benefit your career. I know guys that are teachers and stay stealth entirely because of worrying it will affect their career.

I want to say a few last things before ending this. Be safe and be cautious. Just because someone is gay friendly, gay, or liberal, does not mean they are trans friendly. Always put your life and career first. Do not put yourself in harms way. There are a lot of assholes in the world that will not think twice before doing something stupid. I do not want to wake up and hear about a brother, or sister, of mine getting hurt or worse. So always use caution and safety. Next week I will tackle correcting co-workers who are misgendering you, whether an accidental one time thing or on purpose to be ignorant.

Be safe, ya’ll.


23 February 2012

It's A Butch World Out There: Question Time Part Two

Good evenin’ Genderfuk Boiz! Hey, remember that time I wrote up that blog? Y’know, the one that had all those questions about what the heterosexual, cis-gendered population thought about the Butch community?

I’m not sure if you had noticed, but at the bottom of that article I also mentioned that in a follow-up piece I would be directing those very same questions at members of the LGBTQ community. Well, here it is folks.

I’ve asked people I know what they think and how they perceive us. Now I want to hear your thoughts! What do you think about these questions? What do you think it means to be butch? Let me know in a comment below!

1. How do you define the term butch?
-Personally I define the term butch as a person who feels more comfortable not really identifying as a male, but being more of a masculine figure. Such as a girl who feels they are happier being the 'guy' in relationships, or being a gentleman and holding a door open, or buying dinner for a lady. A person who likes themselves for who they are and shows that on the outside with no second thought.

-I don't have a definition for the term butch exactly. I would say someone who seems particularly masculine I guess?

-I define it as taking on more masculine qualities, physically and/or mentally.

- Butch refers to someone who exhibits characteristics which typically are associated with men.

-Someone who has a more male personality, or appearance.

- Butch I would define as masculinised femininity, but I don't really like the term all that much?

2. Who does the term apply to? Does it exclude genders other than female?
-It usually applies to females I would say. I have never outright thought about a guy being butch, but I wouldn't exclude anyone from the term. It seems reasonable that you could use almost any term on either gender and not be looked down on for it.

- I think the term could apply to all genders.

-Heck no. When I hear the word "butch" right away I tend to think female but labels mean limitations and I don't believe there are limitations when it comes to gender and personal identity. I'm sure there are dudes out there that identify more as butch than a flat-out guy.

- It can apply to anyone. A man can be butchier than another man.

-I believe applies to everyone, regardless of gender.

- To me it would mostly apply to any part of the female-leaning part of the spectrum.

3. Is butch more in the attitude of a person or in their attire?
-Honestly it's both. It's a mindset that someone puts themselves in and feels happy with it. The outside appearance is merely an expression of how that person thinks or feels they should look like.

-I think of butch mostly in terms of attire.

-I think that depends on the individual. Some people express it more through their actions and others more so through their physical appearance. "Butch" is a confidence but also a

-It's both. You can dress butch and act butch. They kind of go together, too.

-It can be either your attitude or your attire, or both

- A combination- I always think of a more aggressive (not mean, just assertive maybe??) person when I hear the term.

4. How would you respond to the statement, "Oh, you aren't gay. You really just want to be a man."? [Note: This is something people have said to me, and I’m sure it’s been said to others as well. I’m curious to see reactions—whether folks agree/disagree, etc.]

-I think I should have been a man. From when I could remember I always thought like a guy, acted like a guy, and dressed like a guy. MY mannerisms, my attitude, my clothes, and everything about me has always been more on a manly side. I believe it's different for every person. But, I AM a girl. I was born a girl and I accept that, be it I'm uncomfortable with it, I'm happy with how I am. I AM gay, I like females. weather I act and portray myself as a woman or a man, I am a woman. And I like women. That in turn, makes me gay. It sort of frustrates me when people say that with a harsh undertone or as a snide comment. If someone says it in jest, I explain what I said earlier to them.

-I would respond that that person is a fucking idiot. Less aggressively, I might say that a person’s preferred gender id has absolutely nothing to do with sexual preference, and acting or dressing in a way that is masculine does not necessarily point to a sexual orientation or gender. People often know whether or not they feel male, female, etc. despite the way they are perceived. And ONLY that person can decide whether or not they "really want to be a man". It pisses me off when people try to define someone in such a personal way simply by their own stupid perceptions of that person. It's how you feel inside. Nothing else really, to me.

-I'd have to laugh because really? If everything was that black and white we'd all be living in a Charlie Chaplin film.

-Accusing someone in a same sex relationship of wanting to assume one of the roles in an opposite sex relationship betrays the narrow thinking of the heteronormative paradigm. You can't shoehorn heterosexual roles into a gay relationship.

-I would look at them; laugh while shaking my head and walk away. Don't see a need to raise my blood pressure over someone stupid. I know who I am.

- Hahaha what??? If this was applicable to me (I dunno, someone calling me a heavily denying lesbian??) I don't... that is rather rude and a ridiculous assumption.

5A. Is butch a label limited to the queer community?
5B. Can an individual who identifies as "straight" be considered butch?

--A. I don't believe it should be, though it seems it normally is.
B. I have met plenty of girls who like guys that are very butch themselves. Tomboys are a prime example of this. They see themselves as females and dress up every now and then, but they feel comfortable being butch most of the time. I see no problem with it, however a person decides to live their life, weather it be the lifestyle i live, or something close to mine. It actually makes me proud to see a butch girl with a guy. Not only for the girl, but for the guy seeing the beauty in the girl.

-a. Butch is a label I don't totally understand within the queer community, so I really don't know. I think it used to be used differently in the past.
b. Again, not sure about it's use within the queer community, but if you're going by common perception ( and the general population's insensitivity) then I think it probably happens often that straight people are labeled by others as "butch". I don't know otherwise.

-(a) I don't think so, no. Things aren't as simple as pink and blue and yellow. There's so much in the way of gender that I can't even wrap my head around telling someone "You can't be butch because you're not gay". It doesn't work like that. (b) Most definitely! For a lot of people the way you present yourself has very little to do with sexual orientation. It's just how you are and who you love is often irrelevant to the way you carry yourself or what shirt you put on in the morning.

-It's not limited to queers. Straight people can be butch. Remember Betty DeVille from the Rugrats?

-No, the label is not limited to the queer community. Anyone can be considered butch, such as a straight female dressing more like a guy, or having a harder, more manly attitude.


6. Lastly, just for fun: When you hear the word butch, who is the first celebrity who pops into your head?

-MICHELLE Rodriguez by far. From Fast and Furious, S.W.A.T., Resident Evil, yeah... I love her.

- I've never considered a particular. Celebrity to be "butch". ( sorry to spoil the fun). I don't really ever think of anyone as "butch" and I don't know whether I should be trying to integrate it into my vocabulary more, as it seems like it could easily be pejorative

- Does Buttercup from The Powerpuff Girls count?

-Aside from Betty DeVille, I'd probably think of Rosie O’Donnell.

- Rosie O’Donnell

- Before he fully realized who he was and came to terms with it, I would think Chaz Bono presented himself as butch.


21 February 2012

Partner Circle: Coming Out, Part I

We all have things going into new relationships we might consider ‘deal breakers’, something about a person that might make us shy away. Maybe you do not date smokers; maybe kids are a no-no in your book. Whatever it may be, we all know we have them. What happens when these things come into play a little (or even a lot) further into a relationship, when there are already some feelings developed or threatening to develop – when there is much more on the line. What if one day this person you love comes to you with the realization that they may have been born into the wrong body, assigned the wrong gender at birth? What if, suddenly, life throws a new ‘deal breaker’ your way, one you never thought you would ever have to consider. Even worse…what if you realize it might actually be a deal breaker for you?

The topic of coming out while in the confines of a relationship (whether that be romantic or otherwise) is a huge one, far too big for me to attempt to tackle in just one blog. So let us consider this part one of part who-knows-how-many-entries-I-will-write. Coming out, in and of itself, is a terrifying experience for some, and we all come to the realization of who we are at our own pace. Some of us have to wait until our twenties before we are ready to have the conversation with ourselves while some wake up before our tenth birthdays out and proud. There is nothing wrong with either of these situations, which is why if your partner does come out to you, I am begging you – on my knees, pleading, the whole deal – to please, please be patient with them. Most of us are ‘fortunate’ enough to only have to come out once in our lives, those struggling with gender identity might need to come out (to themselves, at least) more than that. If you have ever come out to anyone, be it a parent or a friend, then you know what they are going through. You know that if your partner is coming out to you, they trust you enough to listen to them, be open with them, and support them. Cherish this fact for the gift that it is; that your partner trusts you deeply enough to put themselves out there and risk the consequences.

An automatic reaction some of us may initially want to jump to is to feel betrayed. Someone you thought you knew every little thing about is revealing something new to you. Please, try to focus on how your partner is feeling first before you lash out at them or feel as if they kept something from you. More likely than not, their reluctance to come out was based on fear – of how you would react, if you would look at them differently, if you would still want to be with them. The same fears apply to those of you who have friends coming out to your about their transition, and the same plea applies to you. Unfortunately, the trans* community faces discrimination within the LGTQ community itself, so their fear is not unfounded. Simple things, things you might not think about as significant, such as speaking out against transphobic comments will mean a world of difference to your friend or your partner in showing them how supportive you are of them.

As I said, we are going to approach this topic step by step, but for now, my biggest advice to you if your partner is questioning (or even fully coming out) their gender identity is this: you have to be patient, you have to be open, and you have to hold onto the love you have for this person. Nothing inside them has changed, except now they can finally be their entire selves with you. They are still the loving, caring partner they always were; the only things that needs to be adjusted are the pronouns.

Xx Emily

19 February 2012

FTM Chronicles: Paps and Mammos

Alright boiz, this article is a little on the serious side. Yes, we are guys, dudes, bros, men. But we have something most guys do not, vaginas. Now, you can call it whichever you would like, ie: little dick, tranny dick, front hole, mini penis, etc. That does not change that you need to get your little guy a check-up. Especially if you are sexually active. It is okay to be filled with discontentment when visiting a gyno or "downstairs doctor." There are some trans* friendly doctors and clinics out there though. For example, in my area (Philadelphia, Pa), the best place I can recommend is the Mazzoni Center in Olde City Philly. They are a LGBT clinic and a lot of guys go there, including for their HRT. And starting HRT does not mean you just stop getting down there checked. Being safe is the best policy. I, for one, hate going to any doctor. If you feel really uncomfortable and/or still have not gotten a name change, then try bringing a female friend along with you. Those in the waiting room will assume it is a visit for her and you are just being the supportive boyfriend. Once you are safely behind the doors, you can talk to your doctor freely. Usually clinics have more then one doctor, so if the one you are given (if you had not chosen yourself) gives you the wiggins, then just ask politely to switch. It doesn't hurt the doctor's feelings. They just want you to feel as comfortable as you can be so they can help you. Below I will try and post Buck's PSA on "downstairs" check-ups. If it goes through, awesome. If not, then I will just post the link for ya'll. Looks like it will not post, so here is the link, .

Now here is another touchy topic. Whether you have had top or not, you need to check yourself. You can either give yourself a mammo (mammogram), you can have your partner do it for you, or your "downstairs doctor" can also check for you. This needs to be done. Cis-males get breast cancer too. It is not as common, but it does happen. Do not think just because you are a guy or have had top already excludes you from this very real possibility. Here is a link on how to do a self mammo, . If you doubt that men get breast cancer, here is some hard evidence for you, . When you look at that last link, it will tell you that in 2012, it is estimated that 2,190 new cases in men will be found and 410 will result in death. Do not be ashamed to get checked. Also, here is a link to some transgender breast cancer information, . There is not enough information to say that transgender people can or will be at risk to breast cancer. At least on the sites I have found. But as I stated about, better to play it safe.