Sunday, February 13, 2011

Does Being Butch Mean I Want To Be A Guy?


The short answer to this is ‘No’. 

However, I feel like expanding on this a bit. 

I spent this morning surfing the web and came across a few sites and video blogs of Butches talking about this very subject.  It’s something that I’ve thought about quite often and I imagine most straight people wonder about when they see a Butch woman.  Since I came out later in life I remember wondering this same thing.  Given the gender stereotypes we tend to grow up with, I guess it’s a valid question. 

A few years back I spent some time thinking about how I felt about my body and whether or not I felt comfortable being me, being a woman.  Was I really just trying to be a guy?  Was I trans?  Growing up I played with trucks and Hot Wheels, wanted to play sports that typically only guys could play, daydreamed about being the hero, the tough guy in the movies and on television.  So did that mean I wanted to be a guy?

My answer was ‘no’.  While it’s true that my mental picture of my body, or the body that I am working towards, looks more like a guys in the sense that I am working towards more muscle, it doesn’t mean that I actually want to be a guy.  I like my body.  I like being a woman.  I like passing as a man.  I like being able to move between genders.

I like being Butch.

Dressing in men’s clothes, having a man’s haircut, being more masculine, being a gentleman and even using binders or packing does not mean that I want to be a guy.  I am a woman who is more comfortable wearing these things, doing these things and presenting as masculine.  It’s a difficult dichotomy to understand. 

Honestly, I think that part of it is the mystery that is me.  The mystery that I create by being a Butch woman.  The confusion that I create in this existence.  Part of me is kind of a shit and likes to mess with people’s heads and the other part of me just wants people to wake the hell up and realize that we don’t all fit into those gender stereotypes that we grew up with.  We can all move through the gender binary fluidly.  Back and forth between feminine and masculine.  You can be a femme one day and butch it up the next! 

We are individuals with our own identity.  Express it!  Embrace it!  Love it!  Just be you.

So, I’m curious.  What do you think when you see a Butch woman?  If you identify as Butch, how do you feel about this?  Or, even if you don’t identify as Butch, what do you think about this?

24 comments:

  1. I'm very new to coming out and living out, so I don't have much of a real life handle on the butch/femme dynamic. I do know that when I'm out and about and I see butches I get REALLY excited, because I know for sure I'm seein' my people!!!

    That's about all I got. But thank y'all for bein' out there for the newbies to spot. Fantastic.

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  2. LOL! Congratulations on your new cooking outlook and your new cast iron, by the way!!

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  3. Have you checked out the Butch Symposium? There are some really interesting conversations about this.

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  4. Yes! I wrote for the last one and am working on the current one! Excellent conversations around this topic.

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  5. It's interesting; I didn't ever FEEL like I was trying to be a man, but because of the reactions and comments from other people, I got to the point where I wondered if I really WAS trying to be a man.

    I've worked it out now - I know I'm just me, and I happen to be a butch - but I always found it interesting how I allowed the reactions (and fears) of others to shape my perspective.

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  6. I hear ya! That's what got me thinking about things myself. It was all about other people's reaction to me.

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  7. I clicked over from your Butch Lab symposium post -- may I just say how incredibly sexy and sweet it is when butch women are gentlemen? I want to see those words linked more often!

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  8. Of course you can say that! I completely agree!

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  9. I am a African American butch who is also a minister. The challenge that face within myself is finding a word or classification that truly represents who I am. I can use transmale because I have transitioned from the gender that I was talk to be; however, I am not called to be transsexual. Butch for me, does not speak who I believe we really are. I am looking for dialogue because I am looking to bridge the Gap between the transgendered community and butches.

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  10. Hi PastorDe! I think there are a lot of people out there looking to bridge the gap between the transgendered community and butches. I, for one, am one of them. I don't see why there needs to be a gap, but a lot of butches seem to want to keep it there. I'm not sure why, although I think a lot of it comes from their feminist perspective. They are women and proud of that fact. I've thought on this a lot and can't seem to figure it out. I wrote about it more here: http://astrangerinthisplace.blogspot.com/2011/08/thoughts-on-our-butch-and-transgender.html

    I do hope our communities can figure it out.

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  11. I would love to dialogue with you on this matter a little more. On Sunday at 6:00 p.m, we are having a film screening of the documentary The butch Mistique. After the film, we are going to have Q & A and discuss The Intersections between Spirituality, Sexuaility and Gender. I would like to hear your thoughts in this matter and also invite you or anyone else to come and join the discussion.

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  12. Which church are you with?

    Also, this is one of the better blog posts I've read in regards to this subject. http://www.butchwonders.com/1/post/2011/08/post-title-click-and-type-to-edit5.html

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  13. I am with A Church For All Metropolitan Community Church. We worship at Pioneer UCC on 28 and L street at 1:30. The church that is hosting the film screening is Imani United Church of Christ. They are located on 21st and J street at United Methodist Church.

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  14. That doesn't sound like it's in Portland, Oregon where I am. What city are you in?

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  15. I am in Sacramento, Ca. I thought you were here as well. Well, I guess if you ever get to cali, you can look me up

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  16. Hi Wendi, I currently identify as a lesbian, but I am not a butch. However, I am beginning to feel that I might be FTM. I am not sure if I just want to be a butch or I want to be a guy. I am pretty confused, how do you know whether you prefer being a woman to a man despite displaying masculine traits? Thank you, your reply will be appreciated.

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  17. Unfortunately, there is not a general answer to your question. It's a very personal thing that you'll have to figure out for yourself. Some of the things you'll have to figure out are whether you're comfortable in your body and really how you feel inside, if that makes sense. There are counselors who can help you figure it out and I highly recommend finding one where you are. If you feel you might need some help with finding one, let me know and I'll see what I can do from here.

    Also, feel free to email me. You can keep it anonymous, too, if that's what you're most comfortable with. Wendikali@gmail.com

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  18. wow i came out late but dressed the way I felt yet now Ive come out as a gay person in class Iam allway stero type to be butch woman and on dating site and etc that is the first thing you get asked are you butch .fem or yes i wear boots I did before and not going to stop wearing what i like it amazes me that we tend to put each other in a certain stero type and some of us feel that we have to fit in that mould, I think we should be taken as a person first and not keep putting each other in boxes but in class in a never ending stero type

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  19. I agree. Boxes are so limiting.

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  20. I think what some people sometimes don't understand about being Trangender as opposed to be being "Butch" identifying, is that GD or "Gender dysphoria" as it is being called right now, has a range and specific symptoms. Just playing with "boy" toys and and dressing like a guy and working out don't make your transgender. It has more to do with How you expected your body to look in after puberty, (ie. genitals ect.), How you think and interact with the people around you and how you feel most comfortable in this life and in this skin. For me, I tried the butch/boi route. I gave it a try. Who wants to go through all the surgery and medical stuff if you can be happy with making other lifestyle changes and enjoy the body you've been given? But ultimately, I was still very distressed, withdrawn and unhappy as a woman. You're right. it's a common misconception that Butch Identifying women "Should just be guys". This speaks to our societal lack of understanding of gender. Basically just because a Female assigned at birth person doesn't want to fit the stereo-typical roles for a female in our society, doesn't mean they are Transgender or have GD. As stated above in so many words.. Boxes suck. I wish everyone could just be who they want to be w/o having to worry about what others will think.

    Since starting my transition to male every major step I have taken has made me feel better about the person I see in the mirror. And ultimately, that's what matters. if you being "you" makes you feel more comfortable about the skin you live in, than rock-on! Your friends and family think you're awesome and rightly so. I am glad you posted this, because I hear this a lot from the queer community when they see a Butch woman or a really femme guy. (Why don't they just become...?" Well, because maybe that's not who they are. :)

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    1. "Since starting my transition to male every major step I have taken has made me feel better about the person I see in the mirror. And ultimately, that's what matters. if you being "you" makes you feel more comfortable about the skin you live in, than rock-on!"

      Awesome and wonderfully written! Rock-on, E! I'm so glad you've found you!

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