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.