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?