Monthly Archives: November 2014

RIP, Leslie Feinberg

“I didn’t want to be different.  I longed to be everything the grownups wanted, so they would love me.  I followed all their rules, tried my best to please.  But there was something about me that made them knit their eyebrows and frown.  No one ever offered a name for what was wrong with me.   That’s what made me afraid it was really bad.  I only came to recognize its melody through this constant refrain: ‘Is that a boy or a girl?'”

-Leslie Feinberg, Stone Butch Blues

With that single paragraph, my entire world cracked open.  I remember reading it over and over again, so in awe of seeing my feelings, my hurts, reflected back to me for the first time.  I knew from that moment that that book would change my life.

And it did.  It was as though I had been wandering in the darkness for years, and suddenly there was a pinpoint of light.  And as I read, the pinpoint became bigger and bigger and bigger until it finally encompassed me.  Until I knew, for the first time, that I had a home, a history, a people.

Leslie, I will never have the words to properly thank you for showing me the way home.  I am so sorry that this world took so much from you, so often.  That you had to suffer as much as you did.  May you rest in peace.

All of my love,

A

Ruminations On the Term “Female-Identified Butch”

You know, it’s funny that I was so surprised to find that I had used the term “female-identified butch” in my About page on this blog.  I’m not sure why it caught me so off guard; I guess it’s because I had sort of forgotten about that term, as recently I’ve tended to use terms like “non-binary” and other related terms.

I’ve been thinking a lot over the last week about the term female-identfied, and my relationship to it.  I don’t feel female-identified at all in a general way, but something about that adjective placed in front of the word “butch” resonates with me.

I think this experience is tied in with other feelings I’ve had lately about some small level of discord with the words I generally use to convey my identity to others.  Over the last year I’ve felt a small but increasing sense of incongruity with terms like “genderqueer”, and I’ve had a very difficult time figuring out why I’m feeling that way.

I think, perhaps, it has something to do with the fact that being vocal about not being male-identified has become more important to me over the years.  I think this has to do with a lot of different factors.  I am guessing a big part of it is just being tired of non-binary erasure, and being tired of having people from within the GLBT community assume that I am a trans guy.  Unfortunately the few trans/trans-friendly resources and people I’ve been able to find here still often have a strictly binary view of gender, and that has been really frustrating.
I’ve also felt a stronger and stronger disconnect from maleness as time has passed.  That is, when I was first questioning my gender identity, I felt a lot of connection with the idea of being a guy, because a lot of things I associated with being male (having a flat chest, being expected to have more mechanical/mathematical/etc interests, etc) were things that resonated strongly with me.  But now that I’ve had top surgery and gained a degree in Doing Cool Shit With Stuff, that feeling has waned considerably.  I am not a guy, and I don’t want to be.   The things that felt most congruent to me in terms of my body and my innate interests just happened to be things that are strongly associated with men/being male.  Figuring out that distinction has been a really big part of my journey.

However, even all of that does not explain my nagging preoccupation with the term “female-identified butch”.  After all, not being male-identified is certainly not inherently the same thing as being female-identified.  That’s pretty much non-binary gender 101, right?  So why do I keep feeling all these swirling, vague, difficult-to-pinpoint feelings about that term?

I don’t identify with the word “woman” at all, so why does “female” evoke such a different set of feelings?

I wish I had answers to these questions that have been prodding my psyche as of late, but I just don’t.  I guess I just need to sit with this a bit longer and see if something becomes clearer to me with more time.

Have any of you ever experienced feelings like this?  If so, what did it mean for you?

Heading West

I’ve been planning to make my way out to California for a long time now.  My urge to go there was even more solidified after visiting for the 2013 Butch Voices Conference.  I fell in love with the Bay Area, and I have been missing it ever since.

And so I plan to move there.  My goal is to make it out there some time between July and August of 2015, depending on how the job search goes.

I am very excited, but also incredibly nervous.  The prospect of moving halfway across the country to one of the most expensive areas in the United States– by myself– is nerve-wracking as hell.  I’m worried about getting a job.  I’m worried about securing housing.  And worst of all, I’m worried that even if I get those things figured out, I am just going to fall flat on my face.  I am nervous that I won’t fit in, that people won’t like me, etc etc.  I am just *nervous*.

But I am going to make it happen.  Because I have to.

The last few years have made it abundantly clear that I cannot stay here.  Growing up in the bible belt has been a largely miserable experience for me, and I am desperate to be immersed in a different, more  gay-and-trans-friendly culture.
That is not to say that I think homophobia does not exist in the Bay Area, of course.  And by no means do I expect moving there to be some kind of magical cure-all/happily-ever-after kind of experience.  But I do expect it to be a place where I can breathe, and finally start the hard work of healing in earnest.

The next eight to twelve months are going to be one hell of a ride, and I have no idea how things are going to turn out.  But I am keeping my head down and working and saving money and building my skill set.  And I am going to make it happen.

Two Years. Oh Dear.

Wow.  It is hard to believe that it has been two years since my last post here.  Over two years.

 

I want to start off by apologizing to my readers (if I have any left!) for my long, unannounced, unintended hiatus from this blog.  And I am especially sorry for all of the unanswered emails I have sitting in my inbox right now.

 

The last several years have been… rough.  A lot has happened.  Not all of it bad, of course, but a fair amount of it was.  And I just kind of checked out in a lot of ways.  I stopped doing a lot of things I enjoyed.  I withdrew a lot from my online presence on a variety of platforms.

 

I just… had to take some time to sort myself out.  And I’m not quite there yet, but I’ve made a lot of progress, especially over the last six months.

Anyhow, I just wanted to say sorry for disappearing out of the blue.  And that I hope to start posting again in the next month, though I can’t say for sure if that will happen, because my schedule is alllll over the place these days.  I will get there, it just might take me more time than I would like.  My appreciation goes to anyone who is still sticking with this blog.

 

Hope you’re all doing well.