I'm lucky enough to have a fabulous relationship with my mom. We don't always perfectly understand each other, but we know each other better than almost anyone else knows us. And I really wish I could be celebrating Mothers' Day with her today (albeit one of those arbitrary holidays that we celebrate largely because Hallmark tells us to--but that doesn't change the fact that it's a day we all think about moms).
Anyway, in honor of Mothers' Day, I thought I'd combine Butch Wonders themes with mothering and pose the following questions to readers:
- When you were a kid, did you think you'd be a mom?
- Where were you when you came out to your mom (if you're out)?
- What are two major traits you and your mom share?
- What's something your mom taught you?
- Name a mom you wish you could be with today (besides your own).
I'll go first.
- No way! I wanted--maybe, at the most--to be a dad. To me, this meant going to work all day and not being involved in childcare.
- At a PF Chang's. We were out to lunch and I said, "Mom, I have something to tell you." And then I burst into tears right in the middle of P.F. Chang's. My mom asked, "Are you okay? Are you going to die? Do you have cancer?" I shook my head. "Is someone you love or I love about to die?" I shook my head again. She said, "Well, then whatever it is, it'll be okay." Then we ate lemon chicken. I think it took her some time to accept my sexual orientation, and maybe a little longer than that to accept my butchiness. I guess "process" is a better word than "accept," because I've never felt "unaccepted" by my mom. And I've never regretted not being open as my "whole" self to her. After all, she's the one who taught me that it was not only okay but great(!) to be quirky and different from all the other kids.
- Tenacity and creativity.
- The importance of being a surVIVor, as she says--meaning persevering in the face of adversity. When life throws her lemons, my mom does not get discouraged, nor does she "make lemonade." Instead, she catches the lemons and stacks them into a pile, then uses the pile to get somewhere she'd rather be. Or she, like, makes a car out of lemons and drives away. She is pretty darned awesome.
- My mom's mom. She died many years ago. I still think about her a lot. She was an amazing, philosophical, totally self-made woman.
How about you
, dear readers? What are your answers to some of these questions?
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!
Edie and Thea in the 1960s
A few of you have asked what I was going to write about Edie Windsor, so I thought I'd go ahead and post what I wrote, even though it's kind of incomplete.
The day before the Supreme Court arguments, I dreamed about them. For some reason, they were taking place in a high school gymnasium. And one of my biggest heroes (who was involved in the case, but didn't actually argue it) was arguing on behalf of Windsor. My parents were in the audience for some reason, and so was I, but I didn't seem to have a seat, and kept darting about the folding chairs to get a better view.
If you follow the case at all, you probably know some of the details: Edith Windsor's 40-year relationship with Thea Spyer, her longtime care of Thea after Thea was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, and the financial blow dealt to her after Thea died (because their marriage--in NY and Canada--was not recognized by the federal government).
Edie and Thea in the 2000s
When I think about how hard it was for me to come out in the 2000s, and how much anti-gay rhetoric I heard as a kid, I'm especially amazed by women like Edie and Thea, who were out and proud when it was much harder to be.
Regardless of how the case comes down, I'm overwhelmed by my gratitude to Edie Windsor and the many others, young and old, who have been fighting this battle for a long, long time.
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?
I'm excited to share this guest post from a BW reader who's working as a Peace Corps volunteer. I hope you enjoy her insights as much as I did! For reasons that this piece makes clear, she's chosen to remain anonymous. Discovering the Lesbian Underground in Rural South America
Peace Corps is a two-year commitment to do development work in impoverished countries. I am an Agricultural Peace Corps Volunteer (PCV) in South America. My site is a very rural, impoverished, and conservative village in a conservative country.
I generally present myself as androgynous. Short hair, comfortable clothing, and a slim build make this easy. I didn’t tell my Peace Corps recruiter about my sexual orientation, but I scoured the internet trying to find information on queer life in the small, culturally isolated country to which I was assigned (and on the experiences of queer PCVs worldwide). To my dismay, I found little information. The Peace Corps welcomes queer PCVs, but warns that in many countries they will have to stay closeted—sometimes to work smoothly with host country counterparts, but frequently for the safety of the PVC.
In my village, miles away from paved roads, surrounded by banana and pineapple crops, I am very deeply in the closet. I still dress androgynously, but I have not, and likely will not, tell anyone in my community the direction in which my romantic interests generally lie – the señoras
trying to match me up with their sons don’t know how much of an uphill battle they face. Due to my unfeminine hair and clothing, I also receive far fewer cat calls and less sexual harassment than other female volunteers.
After working with men in the community to rebuild a wall of my house, someone joked that a "man"
would be moving in: me. This comment from a community member made me anxious, and led me to worry about every interaction—to an unhealthy extent. Indeed, my self-censorship has been one of the most stressful parts of being here. I am fearful that they will “guess,” but I actually haven’t altered much. I don't change my appearance or flirt with men, though I certainly don’t flirt with women in my site either. My second year, I’ve loosened up because I know the people in the village, and they know me. For example, when señoras would ask me if I had a boyfriend I used to say, “not right now,” but now I say, “I don’t need a boyfriend.” It’s a small, but significant, difference.
One of my queer volunteer friends says that this is a country of “open secrets:” Secrets everyone knows, but tacitly agrees not to talk about. It makes me wonder, am I living an open secret too? Is it possible everyone in my site knows and are electing to keep quiet?
One of the biggest personal changes I have experienced here is the role my sexual identity plays in my sense of self. Like many people in their mid-twenties from accepting backgrounds, I never viewed my orientation as a big deal. However, here in rural South America, I needed to hide this part of myself for the first time in my life… so it has become more important. I am open with other volunteers and the Peace Corps support staff in-country, but I miss being in an active queer community.
Once every month or two, I travel to the country’s capital to get mail and to socialize with other PCVs. If possible, we visit one of the few gay bars in the whole country. Unsurprisingly, it’s usually full of gay men. However, after a conversation with a posse of local gay men looking out for me, we got directions, scrawled on the back of a napkin, to a rumored lesbian bar. It was months before we found the place. When we finally did, we discovered that we had to get past the guards, ring the bell, and wait for someone to come unlock the door. They’re only open one night a week, but have information regarding human rights campaigns, queer film festivals, and Pride activities. Despite their limited hours, it was nice to know that such a locale existed.
However, I still needed a queer community closer to where I live, and as luck would have it, I stumbled across one! There is a town an hour and a half away, and during my first few months, I traveled there frequently to buy supplies to build my house. A PCV there introduced me to a friend of hers (I’ll call her B), a female firefighter. This PCV told me that B was a lesbian and told B the same thing about me. A few months later, B invited me to a secret, underground drag show! Out here, in the middle of nowhere, there was a community! The event was invitation only, with the location announced a few hours ahead of time. Secrecy was a big priority. Drag queens from all over the country performed, and under a blanket of stars, the rest of us queers watched. It was great! But the most valuable part of the experience was finding out that there is a network, even out here in the rural countryside. However, it’s distressing that such a high level of secrecy is necessary.
Now I find myself dating B’s ex (I guess lesbians are the same world over). This
chapter is unfolding day by day…Our interactions are full of cultural misunderstandings and poorly translated endearments. (Also, how on earth does one discuss strap-ons in a country without toy shops?) She is closeted even to those in her family who would be accepting. I worry that I overestimate the level of acceptance around her, and thereby put her in danger. Her internalized homophobia and self-hatred is another challenge altogether.
I am pleased to have been admitted into the secret lesbian underground of this country. I’ve never met any established lesbian couples, but supposedly several pairs live together, frequently raising children from their past relationships. One of the pairs was comparatively wealthy and lived somewhat more openly, and the other pairs just quietly lived together as “housemates.” I never heard of couples in the countryside, only in town. I also met people who had been part of the lesbian community but ended up marrying men. For some of them, marrying was one of the few avenues of independence they had. Outside of the capital, most people don’t leave their parents’ house till they get married.
I can be an example of a happy, queer, woman within the underground lesbian community. Their eyes went wide when I mentioned that my mother once asked my (ex)girlfriend which of the states with legalized same-sex marriage we would be moving to. I’m not sure what blew their minds more, the fact that marriage was an option for us, or that my mother treated our relationship legitimately. I introduced terms like “family” and “gaydar,” and exposed the underground to television shows like The L Word
and Modern Family
. Seeing queer people on TV just like any other telanovela
was a very significant, empowering experience, especially for my girlfriend. It’s been powerful for me as well: by seeing it from the outside, I truly appreciate the strength of the queer community in the US.
Clearly I can only base this off of the lesbians I know, but but at least in this country, there seems to be less gender nonconformity than in the US or other South American countries. But maybe that’s because all the lesbians I know are from the countryside (the town is in the middle of nowhere. The only real “city” is the capital.
Lesbians here either never find each other (sad but true), or find one other lesbian or gay man who introduces them to her or his friends (like what happened to me). Some of the most important work I’ve done my last few months in the site, has been introducing a few teenagers (males) who came out to me to the community in the town. Additionally, I introduced the community in town to the resources and clubs in the capital.
My Peace Corps experience has changed me in many unexpected ways, including strengthening my identity as a queer person. But more importantly, it has highlighted something else to me, the fact that who I am is not just for me alone. I'm a member of a beautiful community, not just underground in a small country and not just causally out in my hometown: it’s a community that's everywhere, worldwide, where I'd most and least expect it. When I pack my bags, say my goodbyes, and leave this country, I'm taking that lesson with me.
Many thanks to the guest poster for sharing her story. She also wanted me to pass along this link for LGBT Peace Corps Alumni. Do you have an experience worth sharing? I welcome guest post submissions; email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Sometimes I get questions from readers in which the reader is essentially asking me if he or she is some kind of weird outlier. For example:
- Do some gay men find trans men attractive?
- Do some femmes date other femmes?
- Are some people mostly attracted to older lesbians?
- Are some FTMs into bi cis guys?
Due to the sheer, huge, incredible range of human interests and preference, whenever you're asking if some people X, or whether some people of type Y find people of type Z attractive, the answer is always the same: yes
.In fact, we could make a mad lib of it:Do some [type of person, plural] find [adjective] [gender or sexual orientation] attractive?Yes, yes, yes. Some butches are only into other butches (BW raises hand). Some non-binary trans people only want to date femmes who wear leather. Some guys who identify as gay are attracted to masculine cis women. Whatever your preference, identity, interest, or sexual proclivity, I feel safe saying: you are not alone. Just because you haven't met anyone in your town who's like you doesn't mean that there aren't tons of them in the wider world. Heck, it doesn't even mean there isn't anyone in your town like you. Many people are scared to be out and proud about their preferences because they're afraid other people will laugh at them, or tell them they're weird.Well, I'm here to tell you that there's nothing "weird" about knowing what you like. There's nothing odd about having preferences that seem different from other people's (assuming those preferences are legal and don't hurt anyone, of course). And there's nothing wrong or strange about having your attractions change over time. After all, you didn't come out as queer to be like everyone else, did you? Why the heck would you want to start now?
'Tis a homosexual pastry!
Coming Out Day is awesome for many reasons:1.
It reiterates the importance of visibility
.2. It is an excellent excuse for making and/or consuming rainbow cake.3.
It reminds straight people that their queer friends had to go through a (sometimes excruciating) process of explaining/announcing their sexual and romantic preferences. It also reminds queers that the coming out process, different as it is for each of us, ties us all together.4.
Right before the election, it underscores the civil rights issues at stake.5. I
t is an occasion for poetry, tweets, and general tomfoolery.
Recently, I challenged BW readers to encapsulate their coming out stories in one of three forms: (1) as a tweet; (2) as a haiku; (3) as a limerick. A bunch of you were up to it, and in honor of Coming Out Day, here are some of my favorites:
My sister was 59 when she came out. She beat me to it. I came out at 50.
Mom: What's wrong? Me: Nothing. Mom: You're in love, aren't you?! With that girl from South Carolina! Me: Yes. Mom: I knew you were gay!
I didn't just come out of the closet, I jumped out of the whole effin' house!
Everyone was great
Forgot I hadn't told dad
Shocked him in the car!
Coming out to my mother.
False alarm, she's cool.
We thought we were so sneaky,
but everyone knows.
Came out three times now
gayboy, transwoman... tomboy
A snoop I call mom,
Danced around the Internet--
Then learned he is she.
up the right tree of lovin'.
In fact, now I purr.
LIMERICKS (OK, some of these aren't *technically* limericks, but whatevs)
The time to come out was past due.
So I sent the IM to you...
When I looked at my gaff,
We both had a good laugh --
'Stead of "bi," the message said "bu."
We were standing there cooking breakfast,
Nothing on but a smile and some skin
Then OMG, my mom came walking in
No place to run
No place to hide
had to stand there proudly, showing my rainbow pride.
It's enough to demolish the brain
How the Transmatriarchy inane
Demand Bette and Tina
Be the trans girl's Athena...
When I only long to be Shane
There once was a girl who was always laughing
To cover the thoughts she was always having
She couldn't make herself aware
Even though her dad was a gay bear
And being family wasn't nothing but a family thing
For 32 years it was men that I liked
Stubble and bicepts and d*ck got me psyched
Then along came a girl
put my head in a whirl
And I thought, "holy sh*t, I've been dyked!"
i've always been a big butch dyke
but when i came out my mom said TAKE A HIKE
i was homeless for awhile
but all i do now is smile
because i have four kids and a beautiful wife!
Thanks to all of you awesome readers who submitted these great tweets and poems! (And special congrats to the author of the limerick that begins, "For 32 years it was men that I liked"--you win first place and the cool Gadget Wallet from Uncommon Goods!) Happy Coming Out Day, everyone!
National Coming Out Day is coming up on Thursday, and to honor this excellent day of the year, I want coming out stories from you
... But not just any coming out stories. I want your coming out story (or the coming out story of someone you know) in one of three formats:
- In 140 characters (the length of a Tweet)! OR:
- In Haiku form! OR:
- As a limerick!
Here are some fake examples, which won't be nearly as awesome as yours. Tweet
: As a kid, I couldn't take my eyes off Julie Andrews in "The Sound of Music." My mom knew what was up. I came out at 13 and she didn't blink.Haiku: The dog was nonplussed
I came out to him--practice.
Parents were less calm.Limerick:You see, I'm a gay boy from China
Who then moved to North Carolina
When I went to college
I soon gained the knowledge
That I was repelled by vaginaGet the idea? Knock yourselves out. I'll feature the best ones on Butch Wonders Thursday. Anonymous entries are fine. Send as many as you want to me at email@example.com.
Thanks to everyone who responded to the queer college survey
I posted a few days ago. Over 60 schools were represented! Most people who responded are in college now or graduated within the last 5-10 years. Today, I'll share the colleges people
said were "awesome" for queers:
- Bard College: "Safe, supportive and open--Bard is known for the Drag Race where everyone dresses in drag."
- Bryn Mawr: "Open, safe as far as I know, and supportive. There were occasions of misandry, which is a problem as well."
- Columbia University: "Safe, supportive, and open."
- Evergreen State College: "There was a queer group on campus planning activities and doing advocacy. They also had a support phone line, discussion groups. Students and faculty at the college tend to be very politically aware and active." (BW note: this was in the 1980s!)
- Grinnell College: "It was safe and very supportive. It wasn't until I graduated and entered the 'real world' that I really realized most places aren't like that."
- Hollins University: "The atmosphere was completely open and supportive. I attended an all women's university and about 50% of the population was lesbian/bi/curious. Due to this large population, the entire campus was very aware and supportive of lesbians and trans*. "
- Humboldt State University: "There was a women's and multicultural center and most LGBTQ folks congregated there. It was a very progressive area."
- Metropolitan State University in Saint Paul, MN: "Safe, supportive, very open."
- Northwestern University: "More gay men were out than lesbian women. My environment was very supportive - friends, fellow students, even professors."
- NSU Davie: "Really no one cared. My college was very group specific, meaning whatever group of friends you had that's where you stuck."
- Ohio State University: "It was awesome! Columbus has a great LGBT nightlife and people were so friendly and accepting. My experience could not have been better. Being a college athlete may have helped."
- Puget Sound: "It was pretty great. We have a queer club on campus and I've never come into contact with any negativity regarding sexual orientation or gender identity."
- Reed College: "Safe. Supportive. Open."
- San Francisco State: "Safe, supportive - All San Francisco, all the time!" (BW note: OMG, and this was in the 1970s!)
- Skidmore College: "Very open! The professors are awesome and the other queer students are really cool people. I'm a senior but I'm sad to leave such a supportive community!"
- Smith College: "At Smith sometimes it seems like everyone is gay -- there are so many out and proud people that LGBTQ culture becomes somewhat normalized. It's amazing and incredibly empowering. Trans students still struggle with institutional and community transphobia, but there is a strong network of student support that I believe makes Smith an important school for gender-queer and trans folks to consider." Another Smith grad writes: "It was super safe and supportive. It was never an issue and it helped me figure myself out."
- SUNY Purchase: "Awesome and open."
- University of CA at Santa Barbara (see pic and caption below)
Of the University of California at Santa Barbara, a reader writes: "I felt safe and supported by an amazing queer community... We hold an annual Pride Week in which rainbow colored stakes border the bike paths going through the center of school."
I was stoked to see the breadth of colleges that provide super atmospheres for queers these days: public, private, and all over the United States!In one of my next posts, I'll share people's experiences on the other end of the spectrum, and I'll also offer some tips for high schoolers on how to find a gay-friendly college.
- University of CA at Santa Cruz: "open and supportive. Lots of LGBT activities."
- University of Southern CA: "USC has campus-wide Pride events, a queer student resource center, a queer "Lavender Graduation," and LGBTQ student organizations frequently honored as being the most organized and best on campus. When I left, I felt that the events and the leadership was becoming less cis-gay male centric and more female/womyn/queer centric... more things like gender-neutral housing and gender-neutral bathrooms (both of which are works in progress). These things seem to be stalled... because USC's administration is fairly conservative and wants to appease donors... There are lots of opportunities to take classes with professors who are leading scholars in queer studies, gender studies & women's studies and American studies. Quite a few of these professors are openly queer."
- Vassar College: "Extremely open - they even had a whole queer-tastic building that we used a gathering/hang out center, lots of campus wide initiatives to celebrate things like national coming out day and aids awareness, and school supported/student run erotic magazine that often featured same sex photography. It was a happy LGBTQ playground!!"
- Wellesley: "Totally supportive."