a-z challenge: b

Yup I made it all the way to day two of the challenge.

I rarely talk about queer things on my blog, so I decided to now. Herewith, a rainbow b.


And b is for butch, and butch is me. When I was younger, it was b for boi, but middle age made me mannish. Let me get one thing straight clear; I do not wish I had a penis. My gender performance is masculine of centre and frankly that’s about all the definition I need for the way I look. In binary terms, I’m a mix of male and female things, inside and out. In and on my own terms, I’m just me. I love butch, because butch is brave and because it’s the real me. Being a butch woman, a butch dyke – it takes courage.

I wear clothing from the men’s department, they’re comfortable and look good on me and they never have fake, decorative pockets. Pockets matter, because I’m not overly fond of handbags and manbags. I fit the category used by Kate Clinton – stylish butch; I think Ellen DeGeneres fits that description too. I’m working on the silver fox aspect too. I don’t like the size of my breasts and if surgery was cheap, I’d get ‘em lopped off, but I don’t want it enough to sacrifice stuff for it; and anyway, women have al…erm none of your business. I don’t bind, because it sounds problematic, so bras are a necessary evil. Shifting south, it’s boxers or commando. I’m told that I walk like a man, and when I’m feeling cocky, I strut (insert dirty laugh here).

I get called sir at least once a day, both face to face and on the phone. I get called ma’am too and I don’t pay any special attention to either. I’ve been mistaken for a boy since I was seven, and when I was 22 and wearing a skirt at work, a guy shook my hand and said I was a brave man to wear a skirt. Sometimes the male or female tag sticks, and sometimes people get confused and disconcerted, but that’s their issue, not mine. Choosing a public bathroom can be entertaining and occasionally, frightening. And sometimes I have a little fun (if I’m getting funny looks) by saying I’m so glad I had the operation. I get insulted too, mostly covertly. Whether it’s covert or overt, I react by saying something along the lines of wow that’s rude, because it is. I’ve been yelled at on the streets in the UK, but never in SA. I could tell you at least a hundred stories about reactions to me; I usually make those anecdotes funny too.

Women … sometimes I fit into that heterofuckwit concept of but which is the man and sometimes I don’t. In my own little queer ghetto, plenty of hot women are fans of butches. My sex life, when I have one, is an extremely, mindblowingly intense kind of amazing. If you’re wondering about things like strapons, keep wondering.

Doing and being allegedly feminine things do not affect my perception of myself.

I shave my head and my underarms, I do not shave my shapely legs and … my groin is still none of your business. The old buggers who live round here have pretty much stopped gazing at my legs slack jawed; my policy is to force eye contact and stare right back. Freaks them out completely. My policy is a fabulous one, unless there’s a chance of being queer bashed. The policy there is throw shoulders back and stride confidently off. Alternatively, sidling away quietly with your heart pounding your eardrums is another decent option. Okay okay, if you’re a lovely lesbo, my groin might be your business. Applications on a postcard etc etc.

What else … Ivan Coyote’s Butch Roadmap is brilliant. Watch that and read this (the spoken word video version makes my eyes leak).

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