A friend of mine went to a presentation by the fabulous Janet Mock
recently, and took this photo. Part of the presentation talked about how non-trans* people be allies to trans* folks. She fleshed these points out a lot more at the presentation, but I want to share her list and add my own thoughts as well [my additions are in brackets]. I hope that trans* readers will comment!
10 Things You Can Do Now [to be an effective ally to trans* people]:
What do you think of this list? What would you add?
- Allyship is not a badge. [Nor is it a "door" you walk through. Just because you have trans* friends doesn't mean that you're allowed to break #'s 2-10, or make fun of trans* people, or anything like that.]
- Educate yourself.
- Work with local groups. [I know that sometimes female-ID'd butches don't want to start getting involved with FTM groups because then people will think that she (the butch in question) is trans herself. To that, I say: so what? You're not butch enough to take it?]
- Include "gender identity/expression" in nondiscrimination policies.
- Welcome trans people into spaces & groups. [I'm not a fan of "women-born-women" policies. I do think it's okay, in limited circumstances, to require that everyone in a given group ID as a woman. Yes, this excludes trans men and non-binary trans people from certain womyn's music festivals. And I am personally uncomfortable with this, but I think it's (again, rarely) necessary for groups to be circumscribed sometimes--e.g., for trans men to have their own groups that exclude female ID'd butches, for lesbians to have their own groups, etc. But why the *!@# would we exclude trans women?]
- Educate others. [But don't presume to speak for trans* people.]
- Use preferred names & pronouns. Don't assume. [Also, realize that there are non-binary trans* people who ID as neither a man nor as a woman, and eschew gendered pronouns altogether.]
- Never "out" someone.
- Never inquire about surgery or genitals. [If you want to learn, there are ample books and websites.]
- Recognize that trans people are people too.
One of my favorite newish bloggers, A Lesbian in Pensacola, contacted me and said she'd like to post on BW about suitable butch beach gear. I agreed; it's hard to get more beach-experty than Pensacola, after all! Here she is:
Memorial Day Weekend is almost here, and tens of thousands of queers will head down to Pensacola Beach for a massive party. Whether Pensacola is your destination or you choose another beautiful beach this summer, a few essentials will keep you happy and healthy while enjoying your vacation.
[BW note: Pics like this make me rethink my resolution never to live in Florida...]
The first rule of beachy butchness: nobody likes the boiled lobster look. Wear sunscreen (regardless of your natural skin color)! The beach is a lot more fun if you can go back the next day instead of lying in bed with ice packs and Ibuprofen.
[BW note: Not all tankinis suck. See?]
If you're a softer butch, your style options have expanded in the past few years. Tankinis
that used to consist of generic-looking shorts and squared off tank tops now run the gamut of triathlon-ready to super femme. Athleta
offers tons of sizes, and while a lot of them might be too femme
for some, I love the running-ready variety
. The tops fit like sports bras, and solid colors abound. [BW note: what do you wear under that for a bra? 'Cuz my girls aren't gonna be tamed by that tankini alone.] What we call the "
classic Pensacola dyke" look is easily achieved with a women's bra-style top and men's boardshorts.
[BW note: I have this one.]
Rashguards will keep your skin burn-free and scrape-free. If you’ll be surfing, snorkeling, or on a boat, a good rashguard will be your friend. Rashguards are also a stylish way to cover your upper half, if you’re not excited about any of the bathing suit tops.
[BW note: Non-pastel colors!]
For butches who hate wearing women's swimsuit bottoms, the ever-present boardshorts are still ragingly popular. Women's boardshorts
are often short, fitted, and involve pink
. But there's been a lot of color and style progress recently, though most men's boardshorts
will do just fine, as long as they're not so
long as to inhibit your knees when you're playing in the water. It's maddening to try to stand on a surfboard and get stuck in a squat because your knees are locked in your shorts.
Other beach necessities include:
- Any of the Dykes to Watch Out For books make great beach reading. The comic compilation books are fairly small and easily tucked into a beach bag. Dykes to Watch Out For is like an illustrated soap opera, and strikes a good balance of humor and activism—just the right mix for a long day in the warm sand.
- Sunglasses are a must. Oakley Frogskins have made the rounds back to popularity, and there are myriad color combinations. I remember begging my parents for a pair in middle school, and now I can buy my own if I want to represent my 7th grade self (I'm tempted, minus the braces and long hair). These days, I prefer Oakley Bottle Rocket. They're lightweight and reasonably durable, plus, they wrap around the sides of the eyes, providing extra protection from glare off the sand.
- Flip-flops! Butch styles abound. I've had the best luck with Teva and Reef. Plain black flops complement every type of swimsuit, but plenty of cool designs are out there to give you a little extra color.
- A good beach towel goes a long way. Since your towel is likely what you’ll be intimately familiar with at the beach, don’t skimp. I have yet to find a rainbow towel of any decent quality, but I know they’re out there somewhere.
- Frisbees are perfect for the beach. They don't weigh much or take up a lot of room in a bag, and water and sand won’t ruin them. There’s not much hotter than a beach butch doing something sporty.
- A waterproof case for your phone is a great asset. As long as your phone has a decent camera, you'll probably want to leave your heavy photographic equipment at home. I'm too nervous to dunk my phone regardless of the case, but waterproof protection will definitely come in handy if you get splashed while documenting favorite beach memories.
- Most beach towns don't allow glass near the sand. But one bonus of a developed beachfront is bars. A local drink in a to-go cup—in Pensacola, we chug Bushwhackers—will be fresh, cold, and readily available. For the sober butch, coconut water makes a nice alternative to plain water, and it's available in plastic, cardboard, or aluminum containers.
- If you'll be hitting the sand for more than a couple of hours, you'll want a cooler. All are bulky, so a small, manageable one is your best bet. In addition to drinks, snacks will help you play longer. Even though everything will be on ice, pick something that has a low likelihood of spoiling or melting. Mixed nuts, oranges, and granola bars should hold you until it's time to explore the local restaurants.
Safe travels, and see you on the beach!
[BW note: Thanks for those awesome recs, Pensacola Lesbian! You've not only inspired me to consider putting a "beach" section in the Butch Store, but you've made me want to visit Pensacola!]
Occasionally I get email from other aspiring queer bloggers asking for advice, and I received another one recently, so I thought I'd share some general, hard-won blogging advice. Take it all with a boulder of salt.BW's Tips for Bloggers
I'm sure other bloggers feel differently about lots of this stuff, and I hope they'll weigh in with other thoughts they have. What about you, dear readers? What are your favorite qualities in a blog?
- Assuming you want an audience, your blog should revolve around a theme, not just be a diary. For a following, you need an angle. (Once you have a following, it's okay to deviate sometimes--regular readers are forgiving... As, I hope, you all are right now...)
- Let your personality shine through. Whether it's nerdy, quirky, punny, whatever--it's genuine you, and this is the fun of it.
- Keep a running list of possible topics. Then on the weeks you're running dry, check the list and see what inspires you.
- You don't need to know anything about coding or building websites. Personally I use Weebly, because I like their templates and options and easy-to-view stats. But there's also WordPress and a bunch of others.
- Reach out to more experienced bloggers. After you've got 10-12 good posts, ask if they'll put you on their blog rolls.
- Don't feel obligated to post every day. It's nice if you can, but you don't want the blog to feel like something you have to do.
- Give people an option to subscribe to your blog via email.
- Do it for love, not money. I'm positive I've spent more on BW than I've earned. Would I like to make a living writing BW? You bet. Am I willing to post ads all over my page and pimp products I don't care about? No freakin' way.
- Have patience! It can take a really long time for your audience to grow.
- Some people will hate you, disagree with you, and/or think you're stupid--and won't be afraid to say so. Pay attention to thoughtful critiques; ignore the morons.
- Don't be defensive. You will screw up. When you do, admit it.
- You're going to offend some people, even if you try not to. This is not a nice feeling, but it's a virtually inevitable one.
- Readers love pictures, especially if you take them yourself.
- Have fun! Be silly, be weird, be random. If you're laughing while you're writing, your readers will laugh while reading it.
- Keep a separate email account for blog-related email. This will keep your blog life from leaking into your work life, and vice versa.
- Think carefully about whether to be anonymous. It's a hard choice. I'm still closeted for professional reasons (and deeply ambivalent about it), but plan on coming out in the next couple years. Once you're "out," you can't go un-ring the bell. While being up-front about your real identity will increase your credibility (and get you a bigger following, I bet!), it may limit what you feel comfortable writing about.
- Social media is your friend! Lots of people have stumbled across BW randomly through Twitter and Facebook.
- Don't write about friends/family who read your blog, unless they've told you it's okay, or you specifically let them know ahead of time. Some will get pissed off; it's hard to predict who. Also: use pseudonyms.
- Interact with your readers! Most of them will be awesome, and eventually you'll probably get more emails than you can handle, but if you see blogging more as a conversation than a mouthpiece, readers will be engaged (and they'll share smart, interesting ideas that will teach you cool things and inspire you to write more!).
- You're allowed to vary: sometimes you may be funny, sometimes reflective, sometimes informative. Don't feel like you have to keep up some kind of consistent "persona."
- Don't get too obsessed with your numbers, and certainly don't write in response to them (e.g., "People like posts about fashion so I'd better write about nothing but fashion").
- Don't apologize if you go a while without blogging. (Yeah, I broke my own rule recently. Sue me.) Just roll with it.
- Focus on creating good, interesting content. Rachel Maddow said recently that there are too many great content-container creators and not enough great content creators. Be one of the great ones, and strive to get better. I'm talking about technical stuff (for grammar tips, there's no better source than Strunk and White) and non-technical stuff. Think of the bloggers you admire most. Why do you like their posts? Strive to embody the qualities you admire.
- Good writing takes way more time than you think it will.
- Understand that you have something to say. If you're thinking about blogging, it's because you want to tell something to the masses. Don't second-guess yourself. Everyone's an expert on his or her own corner of the world. A blog is an awesome way to share your point of view!
I just received a note from a reader who's having trouble communicating with her butch DGF ("dear girlfriend"). She asked if I could "translate" some common butch idioms.
One mistake many butch-lovers make is assuming that butches are just like the stereotypes they have of heterosexual men. If you Google "what men really mean," you'll find hundreds of sites purporting to explain exactly this. Let's leave aside for a moment the offensive nature of most of those articles, and assume for the sake of argument that there's some truth to them. Even so, [non-male-identified] butches are not men, and "rules" of "understanding men" apply to us only sometimes.
It's impossible to write something like this without giant, whopping dollops of stereotype. I figure I'll get flak for this, but I went ahead and made a list anyway. I'll will be interested to learn whether any of it resonates with you.
IF A BUTCH SAYS:
"Nothing is wrong."
"I guess you could invite your friends."
"Are you tired?"
"I was not checking her out."
"Nah, she's not hot."
"I'm not looking for a relationship right now."
"I'm not looking to commit."
"I'm going to go take a walk."
"Sarah is so cool!"
"It's more romantic with the lights off."
"We should probably get going soon."
"I'll fix it later."
A BUTCH MEANS:
"I'm not ready to discuss it."
"But I wanted it to be just you and me!"
"Are we having sex tonight?"
"I'm embarrassed--can't you give me a pass this time?"
"Maybe she's hot, but you're the one I find attractive."
"I don't want to date you (but I might sleep with you)."
It could mean exactly that, or "I'm just not that into you."
"I am mad or sad, but I have to think about it alone for a while."
"Why are we still talking about this?"
"Maybe Sarah can be our friend." (Note: this is not the same as "I want to sleep with Sarah.")
"I'm self-conscious about my body too, you know!"
"I am faint with hunger and my stomach is digesting itself."
"I have no idea how to fix it, but I'll Google it in secret."
(Writing this, I realized that while I would like to think that I'm incredibly straightforward and literal practically to a fault, that's not always true...)
How about you? Did any of these examples sound familiar? What's some other "butchspeak" that needs to be translated?
I've gotten eight zillion emails from readers who identify as "of size" or "fat" or "bigger" or "hefty" or "rotund," and want to know how they can dress stylishly and comfortably as larger butches.
If you're non-gender-conforming OR on the huskier side, you've probably felt self-conscious about your appearance. Combining BOTH can leave you feeling like a fashion pariah simply because you don't look like other people (and you challenge two
mainstream ideals of attractiveness).
The attractiveness bias has been well-documented, so I'm not going to go on and on about how all bodies are beautiful (they are), how health is more important than size (it is), or how we should accept ourselves for who we are now while striving to be who we'd like to be (we should). Instead, I'm just going to give you some advice about how to look your best.
Some General Fashion Principles for Husky Butches:
And now, some specifics!Don't Wear:
- Some people perceive overweight people as per se slobby. If you care what these nitwits think of you (and if you don't, good for you!), then you can overcome this assumption by extra attention to detail: shiny shoes, spiffy glasses, sharp haircut. The same hair people might call "tousled" on a skinny boi may play as "slept-on" for you.
- Confidence (not cockiness) is sexy! Walk with your shoulders back, not hunched over to hide your weight.
- Don't assume that people won't find you sexy. They will! You can still look great and get dates with hot people. I promise.
- Buy clothes that fit you now. I'm sure I'm not the only one who's bought a pair of pants whose fit is--erm--aspirational at best. Don't worry about sizes or draw lines in the sand ("I'll never buy an XL, no matter what"). Just worry about finding clothes that fit. And don't put off buying clothes "until [you] lose weight." It's hard to feel good about yourself in ill-fitting clothes. When it comes to fashion, live in the now.
- Understand that while there are downsides to being overweight, there are also downsides to being teensy. For one, you aren't mistaken for a little boy, which the featherweight bois sometimes are. This means that you can go all-out on dapper looks they might not be able to pull off.
- Skinny ties or skinny jeans. You aren't skinny, and your clothes shouldn't be, either.
- Super baggy pants. They don't make you look thin; they just look ill-fitting.
- Double-breasted jackets. Unless you are comfortable looking like you weigh 20 lbs more than you really do, in which case, no problem.
- Clothes that bunch around the waist. This doesn't actually flatter anyone, but it especially doesn't flatter the fatter.
- Pleated pants. Ever. (Actually, the only place for men's pleated pants is on the golf course--and even then, you're veering toward smarmy).
Any other tips you'd like to share? Any other questions you have about how to dress as a bigger butch?
- Dark colors. They're especially yummy on you, big butches: navy blue, dark grey, dark olive, chocolate brown... Consider these colors if you haven't.
- Tailored clothes. Yeah, I know it's expensive, but tailoring can do magic for your clothes. If you can't get something that fits you everywhere, get something that fits the largest part of you. It's easier for tailors to make things smaller than larger. (This is especially important if you're short and stout, since it's harder to find the right clothes off the rack.) It's better to have two pairs of pants that fit than five that don't.
- Suspenders. I've never tried them, but I really should--they're supposed to be awesome because while a belt can squeeeeze your midsection, suspenders help you cut a svelter figure (or so I'm told).
- A blazer and jeans, This is a look you can totally rock. To prep it up, go for a dark blue blazer. Your shirt should roughly match the darkness/tone of your jeans.
- Corduroy pants with thin stripes (not thick ones). The most underrated pants ever!
- Pants that sit at your hips--below your belly button, not at it. (No need to look extra short-waisted, after all.)
- Fun things: watches, bracelets, cool sunglasses, bow ties, whatever. Don't be afraid to experiment with different looks--you can be the dapperest butch in the bunch, regardless of size.
You've probably heard of the "half your age plus seven" rule of age differences in dating. The idea is that you divide your age by two, then add seven; that's the youngest person you're "allowed" to date. It's silly, but functions as a supposed "guide" to "acceptable" age differences.
Tons of people reach Butch Wonders by searching for things like "lesbian age differences," "age difference formula gay," and "what's the rule for gay age differences?" I can yammer on for days about how it's silly to have a "formula," how all relationships are unique, and yada yada yada. But at the end of the day, people want an easy answer.
So here's your easy answer. In the gay community, we get a bit more leeway. The acceptable age difference for us is wider than it is for straight people, and the difference grows as we age.
The age difference formula for same-sex relationships is graphed below. We are in blue; opposite-sex relationships are in red. (I know this doesn't take into account bi-gendered people and many other shades of queer, but that involved parabolas and was just too complicated.) The formula is one-third your age plus ten years.
This took extremely difficult, comprehensive, and painstaking research on my part--not to mention, many sleepless nights. Now let's practice.
If you're straight and 30, you can date a 22-year-old. If you're gay and 30, a 20-year-old. 48 and straight? A 31-year-old. But 48 and gay? a 26-year-old. Ka-bam! You've got it!
So, now you know. There's your formula. One-third your age plus 10. If you deviate from it simply to make yourself "happy," or because you've "fallen in love" or whatever, know that you're contravening science itself.
My last post got a ton of traffic; it seems like I'm not the only one out there with gynecologist stories (nor, for that matter, chin hairs). I really did intend it as a public service announcement, *not* a scare story. I hope you'll consider it even if you have a deep aversion to such things. Here are some tips to make your gyno-health-ventures more tolerable:Before making the appointment:
While making the appointment:
- Do your homework. Get a friend's recommendation, look on Yelp, and/or contact your local LGBT center for a list of queer-friendly docs.
- If you're reallyreallyreally nervous, you may want to make an appointment to meet the OBGYN ahead of time. That way if you dislike the person or feel that he or she isn't queer-friendly, you're not obligated to come back. If the doctor refuses or wants to charge you for a five-minute intro, call a different doctor.
A week before the appointment:
- If you have a preference for a man or a woman OBGYN, say so. It's a very common request, so don't feel like you're being a pain.
- Say something like, "I need a gay-friendly doctor who's been trained in lesbian health." Whether you need the expertise isn't the point; you want someone who won't flinch at your stunning butch-osity.
- Book a morning appointment. This way you'll be fresh from the shower--giving you one less thing to think about.
The day of the appointment:
- Arrange to bring a friend if it will make you more comfortable. They can come in with you, wait in the waiting room, whatever you want.
- Make a note of when your last period was, how regular it's been, any problems you've been having, questions you have, etc. This way, you'll have it right in front of you when you're asked.
At the appointment:
- Wear shoes that are easy to slip on and off, as well as clothes that aren't too much of a pain to change into and out of.
- If it will make you feel better, shave your legs and butch-scape your nether-regions. (But they've seen it all, so you seriously have nothing to worry about. I never do anything different from normal.)
- Your feet will be up in stirrups, basically in the doc's face. If you have stinky feet or something, deal with them ahead of time.
Any other tips I'm missing? Please add them in the comments!
- If you want, ask to see the doc with your clothing on first. Sometimes it's easier to meet on "equal" footing, (i.e. when you're not wearing a teensy robe).
- If it's your first time, or you aren't used to--uh--much in-and-out traffic, tell the doctor immediately to use the smallest speculum (pronounced SPECK-you-lum) possible. This will make it far less likely to hurt.
- Remember that you are in charge. It is your body and your appointment, even though it may not always feel this way. Even as I toughed it out with DSM yesterday, I knew that I could call it off any time I wanted to, which made me feel a little more empowered.
That's a speculum. ---->
Guess where it goes. Wouldn't you prefer a small one?
A number of you have asked what you can do for your butches to let them know how special they are. Here are some sweet everyday gestures that say "I love you." Though the list was written with butches in mind, most of these apply to pretty much any object of your affections. (And thanks to the excellent BW Facebook fans who contributed some of the ideas on this list!)
#1: Love Notes
I don't usually pack my DGF's lunch, but when I do, I like writing a little note or silly poem for her. My mom used to do that in my school lunches when I was a kid, and the idea stuck with me. It just makes a girl feel special.
You can also leave a note around the house for her (e.g., fridge; bathroom mirror), or send her an email in the middle of the day mentioning something you love about her. If you go to sleep after her, leave a note for her to find in the morning. If you get up earlier, leave one she'll find later that day.
#2: Food Many butches say they love when their DGF cooks them a meal. Whether it's beef bourguignon or peanut butter and jelly, there's something special about being cooked for. (I swear, even coffee tastes better when my DGF makes it for me.)
One butch wrote, "I get a special little tingle when I come home to the smell of fresh baking." +1.Not a kitchen wonder? Check out some food blogs, starting with A Butch in the Kitchen (pictured above, right is her latest creation, low-calorie blueberry scones--yum!). You can also have a picnic in the middle of the living room, complete with blanket, bread, cheese, and music.
For many of us, being pampered is awesome. This might take the form of a foot rub (with eucalyptus lotion, mmm), a back massage, a bubble bath (for one or for two...), or a scalp massage.
Of course, while I love all of these things (as did most butches I asked), not every butch is cool with feeling passive, so know your boi or grrl before plunging in.
Pampering can also take other forms: making a batch of hot buttered rum and sipping it together by the fireplace, insisting she play one more round of Angry Birds while you bathe the dog, or doing a chore she usually does but dislikes (hm, I bet my DGF would love if I dealt with the recycling for once).
This post is about gestures you can perform, not stuff you can buy. Still, a small, thoughtful gift can be a gesture in itself--especially if it's something you make for her.
Some cool stuff to give your sweetie:
- Homemade coupons for things she'd love: breakfast in bed; an at-home movie night where she gets to pick the movie (yes, even if Jonah Hill is in it); a foot massage... use your imagination!
- A surprise detailing of her car or truck.
- An interesting new kind of beer, coffee, or whatever she likes to drink.
- Get some pictures--yes, physical photographs--of the two of you developed, and make a surprise collage on the fridge.
- A behind-the-scenes tour of a place she really likes (e.g., the stadium where her favorite team plays, her favorite theater company, a wildlife refuge, a concert hall).
- Flowers! Yep, some butches like flowers (or other plants), too--if yours does, don't forget it. My favorite is orange tulips, though I also have a weakness for (read: obsession with) succulents, and my DGF made me swoon a couple days ago by bringing me a cool little aloe when I'd been in a bad mood.
#5: Adventures, etc.
More than anything, we want to do (1) stuff we love doing with (2) the woman we love. Sometimes those two things don't mix--so mixing them is a surefire hit.
Offer to go somewhere with her that you'd usually turn down (and don't complain while you're there). Does she love action movies, but you hate 'em? Take her to "Skyfall." Does she like arcades, but you think they're dull? Take her to an afternoon of video games and air hockey. Dates like this are a big deal; they tell her you're willing to do things you don't normally like just because she enjoys them.
Other ideas for adventures include high-adrenaline stuff (like skydiving or off-road quad biking), activities that will make her feel like a kid (think laser tag, paintball, sledding, or batting cages), or something sexy (e.g., go on a blind date: tell her where to be, both show up separately, then hit on her!). (Some smash-hit sexy ideas if you guys have the butch/femme thing going: new lingerie for her to see you in; a lace bra/garter belt set; a sexy lap dance; picking her up from the airport in a trench coat and stiletto boots. Are you a butch-butch couple? Awesome: two pairs of silk boxers!)
The bottom line? No one knows your DGF better than you do. Especially if you're not naturally observant, pay attention! Make mental notes about what she likes, stockpile your ideas, and brainstorm ways to make her feel special. Even if your idea isn't a home run, she'll love the effort. One reader put it perfectly: "Simply having the woman you are with think that you are amazing just as you are and precisely as you are is the best gift of all."
What have you done to make your butch feel special? What has she done that's made you feel special?
Last week, I posed five writing prompts to BW readers
. (I'm still taking answers, so feel free to send yours in
.) One of those was: "Write a letter from your 2013 self to your 2003 self." Here are five of my favorites:Dear kid,
I know you're reading this at age 31 but I know you still feel young and dumb, sometimes. I want, no, need to let you in on a few choice secrets. First, you have a lot of growing to do. You may feel like you are stagnant and the gears have stopped turning in your identity formation. I'm here, 10 years down the road, to urge you to hang on and keep your mind open. You're in for some heartbreak, which will make you question everything but you'll survive and only get better with age. Also, bear in mind that within the next decade, you'll become so comfortable with the you who you are that you won't give a tinker's damn what other folks think of how you present or label yourself. You'll be a fine person, who has expanded beyond terms like tomboy and lesbian and will embrace new aspects of self like boi, genderqueer and butch while never neglecting what it is to be female. In short, you will create a pretty balanced synthesis where you can appreciate your masculine and feminine qualities. You don't need to be afraid that you'll be unappreciated or unloved because you rock that short haircut and tie. You won't bow to societal pressures to conform, get married, wear attire that doesn't mesh with who you are, etc. You'll be a work in progress, even in 2013 but you will be a happy butch, who exudes confidence and class... and you will not be alone.
Dear Self from 2003,
Do yourself a favor and come out of the closet now. You know you're gay and so do your friends. I know you're scared that your family won't be fine with it but they will be as long as you are happy. Also never leave any of your girlfriends for someone else. It's lame and will rob you of true happiness. Keep trying to lose weight... it definitely pays off. Never give up!!! Life out if the closet is so much better than the life you have now.
Me from 2013
The third letter is from Whitney, who chose to send it in in video form. I totally love this--click here to check it out
Kiss a girl. One of those long lingering soft kisses that you can feel right down to your toes. When you are done don't feel guilty and don't feel ashamed; but most of all don't be afraid.
Your life begins here. YOUR LIFE. Not the life you just assumed you should have. The life that you were conditioned to believe was the proper, moral thing for a good girl to do. This kiss will allow you to start really living.
What you want is important and it matters. You will feel for the first time that you have found what you've been searching for. The thing that lingers just outside of your reach. Finally understand why you have always felt so different from other girls.
Love yourself for who you are. Start to look how you feel inside. Dress how you've always wanted to. Be comfortable in your own skin. Take advice from Dr. Seuss "Be who you are and say what you mean because those that matter don't mind and those that mind don't matter."
With this one simple act, do for yourself what years of therapy will not be able to do for you. Understand your relationship with your husband, then let him go. Give yourself the opportunity to experience real romantic love for the first time.
Trust in your family to understand and to be there for you no matter what. Believe that they love you and feel that your happiness is all that matters in the end.
Be brave. Be true to yourself. I'm not saying it will be easy. The sacrifices will be many. Some of them easy to take, while others will leave you heart broken and change you forever. But I promise you will never regret any of it for a second. The rewards far outweigh the hardships. Everything that you have ever imagined for yourself is what's at stake.
Kiss that girl! Then sit back and enjoy the ride.
Stevie LoveHi there, Laura.
I know it's a pretty confusing time for you after just breaking up with Jade. I know you think you're a little bi-girl, but let's be honest; we both know you're gay; don't pretend any more--it will be so much easier. You will meet people in your new secondary school who will find you with other girlfriends, will bully you and you shouldn't let it get to you like it did to me. The bullying got quite bad for me and I let it get to me but ignore them, actually in a few years the main ones have themselves come out.
Don't get all worried you won't suit short hair. It looks awesome on you! In the next few years you'll notice you meet some amazing people, especially in 2012, you will meet an amazing woman who makes you very happy. Don't let her go... ever.
I know you want to be with the guys and you've always acted like one but let's face it, you've always checked out the same girls they have without wanting to admit to yourself. Rugby is awesome. Just because you like to wear men's clothes doesn't mean you're weird. Keep smiling; it does get better. It gets a lot better and you are happy in the future. Life is good when you admit you're into women. Oh... you look damn good in a shirt and tie and don't you ever forget it.
Your future self.
I'll share some more of my favorite answers from readers to these and other questions
in the next couple of weeks. Readers' answers are making me wonder what I
would tell my 10-years-younger self. Would I tell her not to marry my DXH? I'm not sure. It broke my heart and sent me reeling for years... but on the other hand, I learned a lot from being married to him, and we had some absolutely wonderful times. In a very real sense, he and I grew up together. Plus, if I'd come out earlier, would I have ever met my hilarious, gorgeous, terrific DGF?
It's hard for me to think about what I'd want my 10-years-younger self to know. Even the things I learned the hard way sculpted me into the person I am now... so maybe that's good. Or maybe it's just cognitive dissonance.
What do YOU wish you would have known ten years ago?
Lots of people get to Butch Wonders through searches for things like "gifts for my butch sister" or "gifts for my lesbian daughter." People who don't align with typical gender norms can be tough for some people to shop for.For specific ideas, I've updated the Butch Store with 25 Gift Ideas for Butches, including gifts for sporty butches, student/professional butches, and dapper butches. (Butches, I hope you'll share other ideas with me!)
Additionally, here are some general gift-giving tips geared specifically for straight or gender-binary people who are having trouble finding gifts for lesbians, butches, or other masculine women (much of the advice applies more broadly, too).
I hope these tips and the butch gifts I suggest are helpful. Meanwhile, I'd welcome questions from anyone trying to buy butch/lesbian gifts, as well as any other tips people would like to share! Does this resonate with you?
- Give gifts without regard to traditional gender. We don't care if something comes from the men's section. We'd love to know that you thought of us, not our sex. There's no need to hunt through the women's department to find the one thing you think we'll like there.
- Be observant. If your lesbian daughter only wears men's sweaters and you give her one from the women's department because you didn't think it was "that feminine," you're probably going to be off the mark. There's a reason she only wears guys' sweaters; factors like cut, length, sizing, etc. are different, even if you don't notice them. (On the other hand, if she wears stuff from both departments, cool.)
- Avoid criticism of our gender presentation cloaked as a gift. If you think we could "dress a little more feminine," giving us a purse is not an effective way to share that sentiment. Gifts are awesome when they show that you get who a person is, not who you wish she was.
- Butches like self-pampering, too. Just because we don't like perfumey stuff doesn't mean we don't like body scrubs and the like. Go for more neutral scents, like mint or eucalyptus (this may mean you look in the guys' section). Many butches also like massages, facials, and other self-care things--just make sure you know whether we'd be comfortable with it (you can ask our girlfriend or friends, too).
- Avoid buying the same thing for all the men or all the women in the family. When I was a kid, men would get flashlights or cologne and women would get bubble bath or chocolate. Personally, I like all of these things, but the fact that gifts were divided along gender lines--rather than tailored to the person receiving them--often made me (a gender-nonconforming little butch in the making) feel uncomfortable. It reinforces gender norms and implicitly says that all people of type x or type y are the same. Would you ever give all your black friends one kind of gift and your white friends another? No! It's incredibly insulting to imagine! Gender is very different from race, of course, but it's useful to think about it this way as a mental exercise: are you seeing the person, or are you seeing the person's sex or gender?