A visit from the butch patrol

The other day, someone left a comment on this blog’s “About This Butch” page. She informed me that it was impossible for me to be a butch because I had been married to a man and had had a child with him.

Stop “appropriating” the word “butch,” she ordered me. images (1)As if she had the authority to do so. As if she owned the word “butch” and got a royalty every time someone used the term. Or was in charge of deciding who can be a butch and who can’t, perhaps based on some scale that takes into consideration how many pairs of cargo pants a person owns, if they’ve ever played softball and whether they drink Earl Gray tea.

download (1)Not too long ago, I wanted to be a gold star lesbian pretty much more than anything in the world. (Well, not as much as being Olivia Newton-John’s dance partner in the Shake Shack at the musical number at the end of Grease.)

I’m a work in progress, but I’m learning to accept my journey. That’s what makes me who I am. Or at least that’s what they say.

This might be what most makes me a butch:

I didn’t bloom like a flower.

I cracked myself open like a geode.

And took a risk that everything I had hidden deep inside would shine.

images

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78 responses to “A visit from the butch patrol

  1. I’m sorry about the nastiness. I know who confronted you about butch appropriation. She has done the same thing on my blog, my girlfriend’s blog, and my Facebook business page. It leave a bad taste in ones mouth.

  2. Oh, Fuck! I must be a butch too! It looks like you got a ticket from the butch police. Such silliness. I don’t know who came up with the term “gold star”. As if it means you are a higher grade of lesbian or something. Pleeeaaaaaaaassssssssssseeeeeeee. I grant you the butchest in all the land with my magic fairy wand. Go ahead on and appropriate.

    • I’ve always wanted to write a story about a lesbian who dreams of being a gold star. She finds a time machine but every time she goes back in time she ruins her chances of being a gold star. Which just goes to show that you can’t change your past.

      And now that I’m the butchest in all the land, I think my head has grown two sizes too big and my butch swagger is now off the charts, but who’s complaining. Not this butch.

  3. So sorry to hear that. I have read your first book and lots of your blog posts and it’s clear to me that you are a real butch. It would be nice if we all knew it right away, but some of us don’t.

  4. As purplesagefem said, it would be nice if everyone knew it right away, but some don’t. I suspect there’s a story there, one of heart-wrenching hurt. Or at least I’d like to think that’s what drives her to be so nasty to the people she should be considering her tribe. Nothing like isolating herself even more. It’s all so sad in a way. (I’m trying to be sympathetic here even though I’m still very pissed about what she said to you and the others. Grrrr….>:-( ).

    • Like you said, not everyone knows right away. I grew up in the 70’s and 80’s, and it was a very different world. I know my story is not unique. I’ve met many women who have traveled a similar path. I appreciate your friendship and how you always see the best in people.

  5. p.s. I love the geode imagery. 🙂

  6. You really missed my point about dysphoria. I Never said anything about “gold star”, in fact I said that some lesbians do marry men. I am talking about butches specifically who by nature are lesbians with extreme dysphoria. Dysphoria means that they shy away from sexual contact, especially with men. Being a butch is not about your choice of clothes etc, it is how you are born and butches born into het society suffer from dysphoria. My butch partner never chose to be butch, she doesn’t perform “masculinity”, her actions are not political statements. Also, lesbians don’t usually give a fuck whether they are gold star or not, that’s a straight way of thinking. Being a lesbian is what you are not what you do. Just as being a butch is what you are, not what you do. But, because a butch is a butch she will never have sexual contact with a man and she certainly won’t give birth to children because her dysphoria will prevent it. Please learn about what butch dysphoria is and how it affects behaviour. Also, if you are going to talk about my comment, at least publish it on this post so that people can read what I actually wrote.

    • Not all butches have dysphoria. There are plenty who don’t.

      • Genuine Femme

        Yes they do. Those you identify as butch but who dont have dysphoria are not butch.

      • @ Genuine Femme – Your use of ‘they’ tells me you do not consider yourself one of ‘them’.
        I am.
        You do not speak for me.In fact it is the height of self-entitlement to think you can speak for anyone other than your Self.
        Please stop.

    • Your original comment follows:
      “Some lesbians may get married to a man and have kids, but not butches. The dysphoria felt by ALL butches makes this scenario impossible. It has never happened and will never happen. Please stop appropriating the term.”

      Like I said above, I’m not ashamed by my journey. You’re certainly entitled to your opinions and worldview, but I know who I am and where I came from.

      I admire you for having it all figured out. Wishing you nothing but peace.

      • Genuine Femme

        You shouldn’t be ashamed and I did not mean to imply that you should be. It’s a matter of terminology.

    • So, by your logic, a butch who is sexually assaulted by a man, against her will and without consent, is suddenly and by some sort of unseen judging hand (perhaps yours?) no longer a butch. Huh. What a sad, misguided space you live in.

      • Genuine Femme

        I didn’t mention sexual assault. FFS.

      • “because a butch is a butch she will never have sexual contact with a man”

        You, yourself, left no wiggle room. May your words eat you alive.

      • Genuine Femme

        Fine, consentual contact. Happy?

      • what you don’t understand about the complicated reality of being human in a world bigoted against you would fill a thousand libraries. I’m not sure what you think this narrow-mindedness achieves for you, but trying to limit others’ experiences of discovering and understanding themselves so constantly the way that you do only demonstrates that you are uncomfortable with diversity, and so insecure in your identity you can’t accept any story divergent from your own. using baseless pseudo-science to back up your stances only makes you appear more ridiculous and cruel. please, stop harassing other lesbians.

      • Genuine Femme

        I understand bigotry. I’m talking about butch dysphoria, it’s not my story it’s theirs. I’m not harassing lesbians, I’m standing against misrepresentation, usually by straight women.

      • yes, calling a group of lesbians ‘straight women’ in defiance of our experiences and material realities is nothing like harassment at all… sure, okay. and if it’s not your story, why do you presume to have authority over it to the exclusion of actual butchs’ testaments? oh right, because any butch you don’t agree with is really a straight woman in disguise… whatever. I hope someday you find something meaningful to do with your life besides being hostile and aggressive towards other lesbians and getting into endless pointless fights with them online. what a waste.

      • Genuine Femme

        Stop appropriating our biology.

      • once again, baseless pseudo-science doesn’t lend strength to your words.
        I am a lesbian. stop denying my reality.

      • Genuine Femme

        Saying that lesbian biology is pseudo-science is homophobic. Please stop.

      • crafting pseudo-science out of whole-cloth and claiming it’s biology so you can deny other lesbians’ realities is homophobic. calling other lesbians straight women for not being exactly like you is homophobic. you are deeply homophobic. please stop.

    • you again. I knew it was you. it’s always you and your friends.

      middleagebutch, this individual is notorious for this behaviour. she’s part of a small cult who mainly spend their time harassing other lesbians online. she’s come after me as well, and I have seen her in so many groups and pages doing the same thing to others. it’s honestly quite pathetic.

  7. We all have/will have to deal with unwarranted absolutes bestowed on us at one time or another. Guess this is your time. Enjoy your journey, dear butch. It’s yours and yours alone to live and define. Be well.

  8. A person’s identity and how they label themselves or not should be left to the individual. Declaring that someone else’s identity is false based on one’s own perception of the identity is the root of homophobia. Who is one person to tell another person what they “are”? There are heterosexuals who claim lesbians are confused heterosexuals. There are lesbians who claim that bisexuals are confused lesbians. It’s all just more division and separation. Where are the rules that define identity? There are none. It’s one thing to describe identity as you understand it. It’s another thing entirely to run around telling others that they are wrong in how they identify themselves. I don’t get to tell you who you are and visa versa. If there is one thing that we in the LGBTQ community can agree on, it should be this.

  9. Well, what butch wouldn’t want to be Olivia’s partner? 😀

  10. For the record. No, I am not a butch, I am a femme who has partnered with a butch for the last 17 years a D it is for her and other butches that I speak out against misrepresentation and appropriation. Butch is a very rare lesbians type and yes, all butches experience dysphoria. It is what it is. The fact that many misuse the term means that it loses its meaning and causes butches to experiencs confusion, alienation, and erasure. Real butches and femmes who are born this way and do not perform gender roles want respect, not misrepresentation.

    • I’m 100% a “real” butch. And I’m completely capable of representing myself, thanks. Your presumption to speak for those whose experience you share only as a spectator does a huge disservice to all LGBT+ people by disrupting our unity. We’ve got enough outsiders trying to force us into boxes defined without our input or consent. We don’t need one of our own setting us at odds with ourselves by imposing imperfect and unwanted labels on our identities. Please, if you truly want the best for butches and for all LGBT people, stop telling us how we must be in order to qualify for your arbitrary stamp of approval.

  11. Yo, bruh, huge props for your kind, caring response to this misguided soul. We who are butch define ourselves and our journeys are unique to each of us. No one, even others of the queer community, gets to say who or what you are. I’m so glad you give your voice to your truth. The act of opening a geode is brutal and often catastrophic for its delicate internal crystalline structure. That you undertook that arduous, risky work to expose your beautiful truth is heroic and amazing. Fist bumps from afar, my friend.

    • I love this quote by Coehlo: “Maybe the journey isn’t so much about becoming anything. Maybe it’s about un-becoming everything that isn’t really you, so you can be who you were meant to be in the first place.”

      Thanks always for your support.

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