Tag Archives: butch

Gender musings

IMG_2991I took my cat to the vet for a wellness check this week. Her name is Magic the Cat and she is nine years old and she is beautiful and she is my best friend.

“Hello, tiny man,” the vet said to Magic, who is obviously a tiny lady cat.

She called Magic a “tiny man” two times.

This was worrisome on multiple levels because Magic is a girl and a cat and not a man at all and where did this vet study veterinary medicine?

Perhaps projecting my own feelings about being misgendered onto Magic, I was too embarrassed to correct the vet.

They who?

I got “they’d” a few weeks ago.

I was waiting in line at Petco. Another register opened up. The cashier waved over the woman standing behind me.

“They were here first,” she said, motioning to me.

It felt weird. Not bad. Just weird.

IMG_2972Gender Memoirs

I have a story in a new book, Nonbinary: Memoirs of Gender and Identity published by Columbia University Press.

It’s an essential read if you’re curious about gender and everything associated with that six letter word. These stories will make you laugh and cry and re-think everything you thought you knew about gender.

I found myself identifying with many of the stories. Especially this feeling of invisibility that so many of the contributors write about, as well as a constant questioning of one’s other-ness. Am I trans enough? is a question that comes up in many of these stories, as well as a section of the book.

My takeaway is that gender is overrated and you should live your life in a way that makes you happy. Whatever that looks like.

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Cue the Charlie’s Angels theme song.

I mean, who doesn’t love Cheryl Ladd?

I did a book reading a month ago or so at a local LGBTQ center. It was mostly attended by a bunch of older lesbians who fully appreciated all of my Charlie’s Angels references. (After the reading, one person shared that she came out to her mother by explaining she was in love with Cheryl Ladd. We all nodded our heads. Us, too, Cheryl. Us, too.)

After the event, a woman who identified as butch approached me and asked if she could ask me a personal question. Basically, she was questioning whether she qualifies as trans and whether her life would be easier if she allowed herself to accept a trans identity. She wanted to know if I felt the same.

I have.

I’m still figuring myself out.

I’m not a “he.” And “they” feels wrong.

In fact, I don’t really like “she” or “her.” They just seem more socially acceptable in my case.

Butch is seen by some as its own gender, and that has resonated with me for the past decade or so.

I’d rather be called handsome than pretty.

Boi has a nice ring to it.

I have a Pretty Boi tee that makes me happy.

I try not to worry so much. The only thing I really know is that who we are is constantly changing and evolving. If we allow it to.

I always come back to this quote by Herman Melville from Moby Dick:

“It is not down on any map; true places never are.”

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How about you?

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The Flannel Files is Dyking Out

CoverArt (1)The Flannel Files has a new obsession (besides Bryce Harper, Captain Marvel and my new Instant Pot).
It’s a podcast called Dyking Out hosted by New York City-based comedians Carolyn Bergier and Sarah York.
You had me at Dyke, Carolyn and Sarah.
On each weekly episode, Carolyn and Sarah invite a guest to “dyke out” with them about a topic relevant to the LGBTQ world. But if you ask them, it’s really just another way to advance the gay agenda.
Dyking Out is smart and fun and bingeable, much like a canister of Pringles. And very, very queer. So, yeah, think gay, rainbow Pringles, which really should be a thing. Call me, Kellogg’s. It’s the perfect podcast to listen to when you’re using your Instant Pot, driving to a dyke march, browsing online for a new pair of sneakers … oh heck, it’s the perfect podcast to listen to when you’re doing pretty much anything.
Carolyn & Sarah photo by Jenni Walkowiak 2

Please note, Carolyn and Sarah passed our flannel test prior to this interview.

The Flannel Files is riding a streak of good luck these days. The Phillies are 4-1 and I had an opportunity to chat with Carolyn and Sarah about Dyking Out. Here’s what they had to say:

Flannel Files: There are so many podcasts out there today. Why should folks tune into Dyking Out?
Dyking Out: Anyone who wants to take a break from heteronormative content and have a good laugh while learning something new about queer living will get just that out of Dyking Out with us. Also, our guests get to talk about topics that they normally aren’t asked about or don’t get to dive into on other podcasts, so I think we offer up some pretty diverse perspectives and unique content.
FF: In the show’s description, you talk about advancing the “gay agenda.” How do you define gay agenda?
DO: The gay agenda to us is taking the shame that societal norms, religion, and conservatism has instilled in LGBTQIA people and replacing it with joy and pride. We do that by inviting people in the community to share their truth, from struggles to triumphs and everything in between, so that our listeners can hear relatable stories that help them feel less alone or othered.
FF: I heard you scored Rosie O’Donnell as a guest on an upcoming podcast to be recorded during Pride Week. Who else is on your dream guest list?
DO: Our dream guest is really anyone with a perspective different than ours with whom we can have a fun/funny conversation. Some of our favorite episodes have been with people who have very little name recognition. But also Wanda Sykes, Samira Wiley, Ellen Page, Senator Kyrsten Sinema, Abbi Jacobson, Leisha Hailey, Desiree Ahkavan, Lena Waithe, Alanis Morissette, Gillian Anderson … not that this is something we think about constantly.
FF: What are you listening to and watching these days?
DO: Most recently I watched that Queer Eye episode with Jess, the rad lesbian in Kansas City. (I don’t usually watch the show.) I cried a lot. I’ve been listening to Sir Babygirl and also revisiting Tracy Bonham’s “The Burdens of Being Upright.” I just met her at one of Jill Sobule’s shows, and she wants to play our show at Stonewall sometime! Sarah’s re-watching The L Word from the beginning, and also watching anything BUT Buffy The Vampire Slayer.
FF: That episode of Queer Eye is a real tear jerker. I mean, if a butch like me ever cried. So, let’s get really personal. Who’s your celebrity crush?
DO (Carolyn): It’s always changing for me but right now, Gillian Anderson for sure.
DO (Sarah): Kyrsten Sinema
FF: You’re stranded on a desert island. What three things stored in the pockets of your cargo pants keep you sane?
DO (Carolyn): A notebook, a pen and sunscreen
DO (Sarah): A charged cellphone and two power banks to re-charge it.
FF: On The Flannel Files, we talk a lot about lesbian stereotypes. What’s the most stereotypical thing about you?
DO (Carolyn): I’m legit grossed out by 95% of men. The sound of a man snorting back his snot triggers a very unpleasant, visceral reaction in me. I briefly had a male roommate and just hearing the force of his stream when he peed made me cringe.
DO (Sarah): My favorite thing I own is my leather jacket, and I want a motorcycle to complete the aesthetic.
CarolynSarahFF: Speaking of stereotypes, who’s the butch and who’s the femme?
DO: When we go to H&M, Sarah shops in the men’s section and I only look at lady suits.
FF: What’s one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
DO (Carolyn): In college, I made out with a lot of men to score free drinks because I hated being at straight bars and that was my way of coping.
DO (Sarah): People are always shocked to learn that I was in a sorority
FF: You’re both from New York City. What are a couple of queer things to do in the Big Apple?
DO: Dyke out with us the last Monday of every month at our stand-up comedy show at Stonewall! Also, there are SO many queer things going on. There’s a happy hour meetup called C U Next Tuesday at 3 Dollar Bill in Brooklyn, there’s Switch N Play, a queer burlesque collective that performs at branded saloon.
* * *
Listen to Dyking Out on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify and follow on Patreon, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. You won’t regret it.
* * *
What are you dyking out over these days?

 

Praying to Saint Bryce

I’ve been in a funk lately.

Not the good kind of funk like Prince’s “Housequake” or Rick James’ “Superfreak.”

But the other kind.

Let me put it another way. My mood has been Orange Is the New Black, Season 5, which everyone knows is the darkest of all six seasons.

I haven’t been blogging or doing any other kind of writing. I haven’t been doing much at all, besides watching cooking shows. For some reason, I find them comforting.

IMG_3004The Phillies had their home opener yesterday.

I lit a candle like I do every year and prayed to the baseball gods.

This year, I prayed to Saint Bryce, the saint of the long ball and beautiful hair. W bought me this overpriced Bryce Harper candle the last time we were in the city.

I asked Number 3 to help power the Phillies to a winning season. And also asked for some hair-styling tips. I mean have you seen the magnificent head of hair on this guy?

It is truly glorious, said the envious butch.download

What do Bryce Harper’s hair and opening day have in common? Both are magical.

Opening day is a fresh start. With 162 games in front of you, anything is possible.

As I watched the candle burn and stared into Bryce’s intense steel blue eyes, I felt a little lighter and a little brighter.

IMG_3006P.S. I ordered these custom Nike Air Force 1s to match my baby blue Phillies cap with the heather gray brim. They are so beautiful that I cry each time I take them out of the box and hold them.

* * *

Are you a baseball fan? How did your team fare on opening day?

Thanks

Your favorite butch blogger is thankful for many things.

Xena, Melissa, sneakers …

You know the list.

Heat, however, is not one of those things.

At the end of October, we discovered that our oil furnace was broken. We got a new furnace installed the day before Thanksgiving but are still waiting for the utility company to run a gas line to our house.

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Our cats lined up for precious heat.

So, we’re living on space heaters. And flannel. I have never been more grateful for flannel.

We still had Thanksgiving at our house and hosted a party of 16. On that day, we were thankful for many things, including all of that body heat.

W’s birthday was on Saturday and we celebrated in true W fashion, wringing every possible ounce of joy out of the day. We started with an early breakfast and then walked around the Philadelphia zoo. We did a bit of shopping before catching Bohemian Rhapsody, which was better than I had anticipated. We capped off the day with dinner at an Italian restaurant, cake and presents.

I got W a bunch of things, including this sign that I had made.

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W always thanks me for finding her. We met through Match.com, and I was the one who first reached out.

“I found you,” I always say. “I was driving along and there you were on the side of the road.” Or something silly like that.

What I never tell her is thank you for waiting for me.

* * *

Hope you all had a very Happy Thanksgiving! What are you feeling thankful for these days?

 

When life gets to be a drag

W called me a few weeks ago from work.

“Martha just announced that she’s doing an afternoon show on Saturday. Can we go?”

Martha, also known as Martha Graham Cracker, is W’s favorite drag queen. I had already agreed to go to an evening show.

“Yes, if it will make you happy,” I said. “And if I can drink beer.”

So, last weekend, we took off for Philly for back to back drag shows at a dive bar called Bob & Barbara’s.

The timing could not have been worse. I have a big writers’ event this weekend. We’re having 16 people over for Thanksgiving. And we’re in the middle of a whole bunch of home repairs, including having a new heating system installed.

But it was good to get away. Once we were in the city, there was nothing for me to do but relax.

We watched Martha’s first show.

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And Martha’s second show.

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56296697199__2B1A26EB-5015-4BF1-AD6C-095851CC7DE5We drank what is know as a “city wide.” That’s a can of Pabst Blue Ribbon and a shot of Jim Beam for $4 ($3 during happy hour). We drank many city wides. The city wide is, without a doubt, the best bargain in all of Philadelphia.

We got a deal on a fancy hotel room through Priceline Express.

And just when we didn’t think the weekend could get any better, we found a great little diner for breakfast the next day.

I don’t think we wanted the weekend to end, because we stopped on our way home to see A Star is Born.

So, here’s some advice from your favorite butch blogger: When life gets to be too crazy, take a timeout, toss back some cheap booze and find thee a drag queen.

* * *

What’s your go to when you need to blow off some steam?

 

 

 

 

With thanks on National Coming Out Day

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Just this giant tub of popcorn. Oh, and these three lesbian films.

Thank you to the clerks at my local Blockbuster store who rented me all of those lesbian movies when I was trying to figure out if I was a lesbian. You were always kind and professional and never gave me a sideways glance, even when I rented When Night Is Falling two times in a row for, ahem, “research.”

Thanks to Melissa Etheridge for her 2001 memoir The Truth Is … that I read and re-read when I was coming out. And for the album Yes I am, which turned 25 this year. If Melissa could announce to the world on the cover of an album that she was, I knew I could tell the people in my life that I was, too.

Thanks to the Indigo Girls. Along with Melissa, you provided the soundtrack to my coming out. Rites of Passage was so aptly named.

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I still love you, Jess. Always and forever.

Thank you to Jessica Stein. I was coming out in real life when you were coming out in the movie Kissing Jessica Stein, even though you weren’t really gay and ended up with the guy at the end. Helen was super sexy. What were you thinking? Anyway, when I was sitting in the movie theater with my Raisinets and newfound knowledge, it was like we were both coming out together.

Thank you to my therapist who organized coming out groups for women married to men. I thought I was the only one in the world. And to all of those women who participated in those groups. It was an honor to come out alongside you.

Thanks to Sisters, the lesbian bar in Philadelphia, that provided a safe meeting place for people like me. And the cute bartender who always called me “hon.” (Yes, I know she called everyone “hon.”)

Thanks to Ellen and Billie Jean and Martina and k.d. and Rosie.

Thank you to my brother who told me he just wanted me to be happy. Seemingly small words that I still remember to this day.

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I’m gay! What are you going to do about it?

Thanks to Xena: Warrior Princess, who I caught in reruns that summer. I drew my warrior strength from you. Aieeeeee!

Thank you to my friends who just nodded their heads. “Of course,” they all said.

And to my wife, who has to come out again and again because she’s not a butch like me. You do it with such grace and aplomb.

Thank you to all who came out before me and paved the way. The life I live today is possible because of you.

To everyone in my life who accepts me for who I am, you allow me to be myself every single day. You might not think you’re making a difference, but you are.

Happy National Coming Out Day!

(This post is an edited version of something I posted back in 2016.)

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Who do you need to thank for your coming out?

Girls with guns

W and I are watching Wynonna Earp.

In one episode at the end of season one, there’s a pair of sinister twins.

“Sinister twins are my secret fantasy?” I tell W.

“I bet they are,” she says.

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It’s true. I’m an #Earper.

And then before we know it, the Earp homestead is under attack, and Wynonna and her sister Willa are busting out of the barn with guns ablazing to save the day.

They pick off the bad guys one by one. Blam! Blam! Blam!

W and I cheer and then we both make a heh, heh, heh noise, which translates to good lord that was hot.

And then I start thinking about the overall hotness of girls and guns. What is it about that combo?

I’m pro girl but anti gun.

Put the two together and it’s a totally different ballgame.

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Xena, I miss you.

I should clarify. It doesn’t need to a be a gun. Some other bad ass weapon will work like a sword, for example (see Xena: Warrior Princess).

What is it about bad ass women?

I’m talking Charlize in Atomic Blonde, Uma in Kill Bill Vol. 1 & 2, Carrie in Star Wars, Linda in The Terminator.

Do we want them? Or do we want be them?

Are we living vicariously through them? Pretending that we, too, have the power to eliminate our enemies or correct an injustice with one shot from Peacemaker?

I can’t help but notice that most of the bad guys are, well, guys.

Is every TV bad guy a stand-in for men who put us in boxes and tell us to smile? Men who are boys and will always be boys. Men who got but never gave.

Does every bad guy represent sexism or the patriarchy or the system? The boys club or the locker room? Those things that hold us down and push us back and tell us we’re not good enough, never were and never will be.

Is that why we get a charge out of seeing them taken down by a woman after all and in such dramatic fashion?

Or are girls with guns simply hot?

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Is there such a thing as too gay?

MyMotherSaysDrumsAreForBoysI ponder that question on a guest blog on the awesome Women and Words.

Read all about it here.

If you leave a comment, you’ll have a chance to win a copy of my new book.

Or just go ahead and buy a copy. You know you want to.

 

 

Macho Camacho

“You’re certainly a Macho Camacho,” one of the gentlemen in my writers’ group said to me with a big grin on his face after reading my new book.

“Or, butch, as you call it,” he added.

At first, I was puzzled. Macho Camacho? The phrase had a ring of familiarity.

“I’ll take it,” I said, picturing myself in a T-shirt with the words MACHO CAMACHO printed in big, block letters.

download“You know, the boxer,” he said.

And it all came flooding back.

Macho Camacho?

I’ll take it.

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What’s your butch nickname? 

 

Another post on transformation

I’ve been out of sorts lately. Feeling overwhelmed, overtaxed, under appreciated.

I notice a heaviness in the middle of my chest.

Now, I can’t remember a time when the heaviness wasn’t there.

“There’s a lot of change going on,” W says.

Our last two have left the nest. One just got his driver’s license and started community college. The other is off to college in Georgia.

“How many caterpillars do you have?” W asks.

“I don’t know,” I say. “Ten?”

At first, I don’t know what my caterpillaring has to do with my heavy chest. But then it hits me.

“Ugh,” I say at the obviousness of it all.

Every year, I grow milkweed in our yard. Monarch butterfly caterpillars only eat one thing. Milkweed.

The butterflies lay their pinhead-sized eggs on the underside of the leaves. I take clippings with eggs or newly hatched caterpillars into the house and put them into an empty 20-gallon aquarium where they’re safe from predators.

Our cats take turns sitting on top of the cage like furry mother hens.

How many caterpillars do you see?

The caterpillars gorge on the milkweed leaves. If you put your ear close, you can actually hear them chomping away. Nom nom. True story.

IMG_2555When the caterpillars get big and fat, they climb to the top of the cage and hang down in a J. They shed their skin and wrap themselves in a chrysalis. Inside this light green sac, they consume their own bodies (gruesome) and then emerge 10 to 14 days later as black and orange winged beauties (beautiful). It’s a narrative I can relate to.

Usually, I find one or two eggs or caterpillars.

This year, I lost count at 10.

That’s a lot of change, transition, transformation.

There’s so much out of my control right now.

It makes me feel unsafe and vulnerable.

I need to have faith that everything will be okay.

That everyone will transition according to plan.

Me included.

That we will paint ourselves the colors we like best, grow wings and fly.

More transformation, ugh, ugh, ugh

I released a total of 12 (I think) monarch butterflies. The last one flew away today.

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Meet Alvin

I have a new friend, though. This toad that my son named Alvin.

He lives somewhere in our front yard and hops about when I come home at night.

Toad means crossroads, camouflage and watching and waiting before you make a move.

Toads are small but have loud voices. Toad’s message is don’t underestimate the power of your words.

Toad means transformation.

And I have to wonder if this is a stage or if this is just life.