Dear Middle-age Butch,
My family and friends know and accept that I am a lesbian, though they’ve only known for a few years now, and I think they are still getting used to the thought of it. My mom, however, is not really accepting of butch lesbians. She’s never honestly given me a reason, but she is very judgmental. I only dress femme because I live in her house, but I’m getting rather tired of suppressing the fact that I am butch. Do you have any advice or suggestions?
Dear Suppressed Butch,
That’s a hard one. You live at home with your mom, so you don’t want to make waves. But you’re not being true to yourself. What’s a closeted butch to do?
Try talking to your mom and telling her how it feels for you to “dress femme” to please her instead of butch to please yourself. Do you feel sad? Angry? Humiliated? A girl’s desire to live her life as a flannel-loving, sturdy shoe-wearing butch is something most people don’t get.
Keep the lines of communication open. Encourage your mom to ask questions. Be patient. It took you awhile to figure out how you feel most comfortable expressing yourself.
Butch women don’t fit societal standards of feminine beauty, and there’s the problem. Why on earth would you want to wear cargo pants and a V-neck tee when you could wear strappy sandals and a floral sundress?
I remember when I got a real short haircut.
“Rae, your grandmother would be so disappointed,” my grandfather said to me. My grandmother was dead at the time, so I don’t think my short hair was really bothering her.
I remember going to a college bar all butched out and having a guy grimace when he looked in my direction.
I remember the first time someone called me “sir” in front of my mother. I thought she was going to die.
But enough about me.
What I’m trying to say is that it takes balls to be butch.
But some see great beauty in our special blend of feminine and masculine. We are handsome devils. Ask any femme. Check out some photo projects like Meg Allen’s Butch. Maybe a pictorial approach would help your mom understand.
In the meantime, read anything you can get your hands on by Ivan Coyote. Read Leslie Feinberg’s Stone Butch Blues. Listen to “Ring of Keys” from the Broadway musical Fun Home and try not to cry. I dare you.
Connect with other butches in your community.
Connect with other butch bloggers. There’s a bunch of us out here.
Remember that butch is more than what you wear. It’s who you are. No one can take that away from you.
Hope that your mom comes around, but find other people to support and celebrate you until that happens. Maybe when she sees how happy you are being you, she’ll get it.
Be your best butch.
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This was an actual question from a young butch. What do you guys think? What advice would you offer?