Tag Archives: queer

It’s your boi R-Bango

download.jpgA few weeks ago, W and I spent the weekend in the Big Apple with friends.

On Saturday afternoon, we enjoyed slices of New York pizza, visited a used bookstore and saw Network on Broadway starring Bryan Cranston and the lovely Tatiana Maslany.

In the evening, we caught a burlesque show at a place called The Slipper Room in the lower east side. It was hot and crowded and almost impossible to get a drink, but as W said many, many, many times, “Naked girls are always good.”

On Sunday, we had a late breakfast and then walked through Times Square on our way back to our hotel.

And that’s when things got a little bit dicey, and I became involved in an urban street grift.

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It’s tricky to walk around New York City It’s tricky, it’s tricky

A couple of young people in Adidas tracksuits–think Run DMC but younger and without the gold chains–were handing out something to folks passing by.

Initially, I waved them off and said, “No thanks.” But they were persistent.

“It’s free,” they said. “Free, free, free.”

Everyone knows this butch loves a bargain, but even I know better than to accept items from strangers on the street.

“It’s music promoting racial equality and gun control,” they explained. “And it’s free.”

At this point, I had become separated from W and our friends and was just looking to make a quick exit.

I didn’t want them to think I wasn’t for racial equality and gun control and world peace and voter rights, so I accepted a CD and square of laminated paper that contained a qr code for a music download and started to walk away.

“Don’t you want me to sign it?” one of the young men asked.

I really didn’t, but I didn’t want to hurt his feelings.

“Sure,” I said, handing him back the CD.

“What’s your name?”

“Rae,” I said.

“You mind if I call you R-Bango?”

“Sure, that works for me,” I said, trying to be all cool and stuff.

“I’m gonna make it out to R-Bango with the pretty eyes.”

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Me ready to move to NYC in stereotypical lesbian fashion.

This guy was as smooth as freshly pressed flannel, and he had me in the palm of his hand. I now had a cool big city nickname and was getting noticed for my best feature, my green eyes. If this is what city life is all about, R-Bango was ready to relocate.

And then he asked for a donation.

R-Bango reached into the front pocket of her jeans and pulled out some folded-up one dollar bills.

“Oh, we try to stay away from the ones, R-Bango. By the way, you should give your barber a big tip.”

This guy knew that the way to a butch’s heart is by complimenting her fresh high and tight. R-Bango reached into her back pocket and extracted her wallet. She handed over a $20. She was on vacation after all.

And then the next person in the group held out his hand. “Aw, hey, what about me? I’m the producer.” R-Bango handed over another big bill.

“What about me?” a third person asked.

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Proof that R-Bango is worldly and street smart. 

R-Bango was starting to figure things out. She had seen Paper Moon when she was a young tomboy and knew a grift when she saw one $40 later. She put her wallet back in her pocket and forcibly made her exit, walking past the outstretched hands before her.

As she caught up with W and her old friends, she wondered if her new friends had really liked her haircut. And if they actually thought she had pretty eyes.

Her wallet was lighter but she didn’t really care.

She had something money couldn’t buy.

A good story.

And a cool new name.

Word. From your boi R-Bango.

* * *

Leave a comment and I will give you your own cool big city nickname. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.”

* * *

How about you?

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?

 

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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Love and salad

imagesW and I celebrate our wedding anniversary today.

We agreed not to get each other anything.

I plan to pick up a small cake and Olive Garden takeout as a surprise. W loves Olive Garden.

We’ll probably watch something on TV. Maybe the next episode of Wynonna Earp.

Nothing fancy. Just comfortable.

We’ll eat our dinner and watch a show.

W will let me raid her salad for all of the toppings she doesn’t like–onions, black olives and pepperoncini–and place them on my own. Hey, I’m Italian.

I’ll think about how lucky I am. All of those extra salad goodies every single time.

And how I’ve found my perfect match.

* * *

Why are you and your partner a perfect match?

 

 

Happy #ButchAppreciationDay

imagesI hope you have someone in your life who:

Likes to run her hands over your slick-as-velvet head after you get your hair cut real short.

Calls you “baby.”

Tells you she gets turned on when you wear that ball cap backward. You know the one.

Likes when your necktie matches her dress.

Rubs your back when you’ve pulled a muscle.

Thinks every flannel shirt you own makes your eyes shine.

Is okay with you wearing your “dressy” T-shirt to that event you’re going to.

Tells you you’re cute and you believe it, even though you’ve never felt cute a day in your life.

Is the yin to your yang.

Asks you what you’d like her to wear when you’re going out on a date.

Still flirts with you regardless of the fact that you’ve been together for more than a decade.

Traces your scars (the ones you can see and the ones you can’t) with her fingertips when you’re lying in bed at night.

Makes you feel like a rockstar, even though you don’t play any instruments.

Tells you your tattoos are sexy.

Appreciates the hell out of you. Not despite those things that make you you but because of them.

* * *

I posted this a year ago. It still holds true.

A big silent head nod to all of my fellow butches on our special day. I’m going to have a drink and toast to you all tonight. Cheers!

Pretty boy

I finally got my hair cut last week.

imagesIt was so long that I was starting to look like Barney Rubble. You know, with that canary yellow carport extending over his face.

My hairstylist cut my hair a little differently this time around. I asked for a high and tight, number one-and-a-half on the sides, scissor cut on top.

downloadAnd she gave me such a nice cut on top. It was as if she had lassoed the wings from an angel or went back in time and clipped some feathery waves from Farrah Fawcett herself.

“Your hair looks nice!” W said.

“I got you a pretty boy haircut,” I replied.

She ran her fingers through my hair for a while, and I was reminded of how good it is to be a butch.

Last Friday, we went to the Trans Wellness Conference in Philadelphia. W tabled for work. I walked around looking at the various vendors.

IMG_2525When I saw this pretty boy T-shirt, I had to have it.

“I got my wife this pretty boy haircut,” I told the women at the booth as I pointed to my fresh cut. “So now I need this pretty boy tee.”

They smiled big smiles.

“That’s so sweet,” one of the women said as she put her hand over her heart.

And I thought about how nice it was to be in a space where it wasn’t just safe to be a pretty boy but endearing.

 

 

 

The butch is back

So, it’s been a while. Remember me?

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Gratuitous picture of one of my cats.

I’ve been busy with life. Kids and cats. The wife. But mostly life. Ups and downs.

I know, it’s no excuse. You felt abandoned. I hear you, and I’m sorry.

The real reason I haven’t posted in almost three months is because I’ve been thinking about this blog and whether it still suits me.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m proud of my posts and the many on-line relationships I’ve formed through The Flannel Files.

The Flannel Files was the start of so many good things for me. It was my entry into writing and, in many ways, the lesbian community.

I was looking for my voice, and I found it.

At the time, I needed to blog anonymously. I wasn’t strong enough or confident enough to write under my own name. I didn’t know who I was as a writer and was still figuring out where I fit in the LGBTQIA alphabet. I was vulnerable (never, ever repeat this) and needed to wrap myself in flannel-forged armor.

I’m not the same person.

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You know you have 1. Or 3.

I have a new book launching in a few days, and I’m figuring out my intentions for that book. I’m deciding how I want to move forward with my writing. And how I want to move forward as a butch lesbian in a world in which we’re about as rare as a lesbian who doesn’t own a caribiner.

So, this isn’t farewell.

If I do end up leaving The Flannel Files, I’ll give you a proper goodbye. Maybe not a hug but a firm handshake and a silent head nod directed at all the butches out there.

And of course, I’ll hold the door open for the femmes before I close it shut.

Because I owe you all so much. These words are mine, but you’ve read them so gently and with such an open and generous heart.

MyMotherSaysDrumsAreForBoysBefore I get too teary (butches don’t cry, their eyes sweat), I want to plug my new book, My Mother Says Drums Are for Boys: True Stories for Gender Rebels. The e-book is available now for pre-order and will be available for sale on Aug. 1. The print book will be available a few days after that.

Buy it and read a letter from me to my mullet, instructions on how to be an Amazon and a list of songs I was obsessed with that should have alerted me to the fact that I liked girls way back in the day.

“Hot for Teacher” anyone?

 

 

 

The big cover reveal

Drum roll please …

So excited to share this with everyone:

MyMotherSaysDrumsAreForBoys

That’s right, it’s the cover for my second book!

(Oh, the irony of that call for a drum roll.)

Can’t wait for you all to read these new stories about butchness and being a gender rebel. You’ll have to wait for August, if everything goes as planned, but I promise it will be worth it.

For now, you can check out my Author’s Page at Regal Crest.

Look for more book-related news to come, but I’ve been bursting to share this super bad ass cover.

Someday, I hope to be as cool as my book covers.

Happy Monday!

I remember

downloadTo my wife:

I remember our first date.

I remember you being late and rushing in the door of the bookstore like a gust of wind.

I remember you laughing and me smiling, not really sure what to make of you but thinking I would like to know more.

I remember walking to the pizza shop that sat at the top of the hill where we ate cheesesteaks and french fries.

I remember how quickly you handed over the money for your half of the bill as if you didn’t want strings, even for a few seconds.

I remember your big, brown eyes, bright and curious like a raccoon’s.

I remember your mask, too, and wondering what was underneath it.

I remember you letting me buy you a beer at that old bar down the street.

I remember sitting on the bench back behind the shops at the end of the night. The small patch of green grass an island for two. “Can I give you a hug?” you had asked, and I said you could.

I remember how you smelled like flowers and patchouli and how hard you hugged me like you were trying to tell me one last thing before we parted and went our separate ways.

* * *

This was from an exercise in today’s writing group. W’s birthday is on Friday, so I thought I’d post today as a small pre-birthday gift. What do you remember about a first date? First love? Start with “I remember” and see where it takes you.