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.
When I started this blog, I swore that I was never going to apologize for not posting frequently enough. I'll just post whenever I want
, I thought. It's not like I'm going to feel guilty if I don't
I'm going to go back on my word: sorry it's been so long since I posted! A few things have happened in the last month-ish of time that have taken me away from blogging. Want to know what they are?
So there it is, dear readers; you're totally caught up on my life. Now stay tuned for our regularly scheduled programming...
- Someone I respect immensely recommended a job to me that I wouldn't have considered on my own. Now I've applied and have that kind of excitement that buzzes around in your head and throat and prevents you from doing anything useful. I'm not sure if I'm more scared that I won't get the job, or that I will. Either way, it's shaken things up in a way that is not at all unpleasant.
- I am taking two classes, just for fun. Haven't done this in a while. Readings! Homework! Papers! It's madness, I tell you!
- My DGF and I turned some kind of indefinable "corner" and I feel closer to her than ever.
- I broke my foot and it has to be in an "air cast" for two more weeks. Then I get another x-ray. And only then am I allowed to even think about getting back to hiking. Gah!
- My DXH and his DGF are engaged! Whoa! I am immensely happy for both of them and excited because they are totally happy and make a phenomenal couple. (Actually, they got engaged more than a month ago, but they sent me their wedding website the other day, and that was when I realized: OMG. They're getting married!)
- I met Butch on Tap when she took a work-related trip to my neck of the woods. It was fun! We agreed that we are officially friends, and I'm hoping we'll collaborate on some stuff in the future. Stay tuned...
- I thought lot about the gay marriage arguments, listened to the oral argument in Windsor, and started to write a couple of different pieces about it, none of which came to fruition because they all devolved into rambling about how much I admire people like Edie Windsor, and how grateful I am to the LGBTQ folks who paved the way for us.
Last March, I wrote a three-part Field Guide to Butches, which you can check out here if you missed it: Part I
, Part II
, Part III
. I decided it was time to make some additions:
The Butch Class Clown
Example: Jane Lynch
Pros: Hilarious, great with your friends, quick to reconcile after arguments.
Cons: Sleeps in late; may be slightly self-centered; financial stability varies.
Looks Especially Good: Smiling, which is nearly all the time. (Seriously, check out the pic--is there anything in the world cuter than Jane Lynch with a puppy?)
Care Instructions: If you don't understand her sense of humor, the relationship is doomed. May need occasional assistance juggling projects and managing household tasks, but a quick learner. Ego more fragile than first appears.
The Oblivious Butch (not pictured)
Pros: Unconcerned with her identity (and possibly yours), has no interest in discussing related topics, even though everyone else considers her butch.
Cons: See "pros."
Looks Especially Good: If you can wrangle her into slacks and a tie.
Care Instructions: Unusually low-maintenance. Fashion sense may vary, so be vigilant. May grow bored in conversations about LGBTQI-related topics. Probably does not know what the "I" stands for and doesn't particularly care.
Example: Michelle Ragussis
Pros: Excellent hair, great tattoos, creative, spunky.
Cons: Works long hours, may not want to cook at home (check on this factor before committing).
Looks Especially Good: Sampling your sauces.
Care Instructions: Whether she's a line cook or the head of her own restaurant, Chef Butch is committed to her trade and will expect your support. Works crazy hours. Ensure that she doesn’t just cook veggies; she also eats them occasionally. Low-maintenance with little need of wardrobe assistance.
Barista Butch (not pictured)
Pros: Can make a mean latte, has great fashion sense; creative.
Cons: Moodiness; varied reliability; easily bored.
Looks Especially Good: Steaming up your foam.
Care Instructions: Hard to engage in casual conversation, the barista butch is every bit as creative and mysterious as she first appears. Many in the species hold a PhD in the humanities or social sciences and may be starved for intellectual discussion; provide literary or other conversation as needed.
Example: Jack Halberstam
Pros: Smart, well-read, patient and attentive (if occasionally forgetful), finds most things interesting.
Cons: Her hotness makes it hard to pay attention in lecture; everyone in the class has a crush on her (straight women, too); may use words like "hegemonic" in casual conversation.
Looks Especially Good: On her couch during office hours.
Care Instructions: Requires steady diet of books and caffeine (switch diet to baked goods following paper rejections). If weather is temperate, set outside at least 20 minutes daily to infuse with Vitamin D.
The Sports Fan Butch (not pictured)
Pros and Cons: This type doesn't occur in isolation, but co-occurs with any other kind of butch, and may emerge only on weekends. Identify one or more other species and refer to those pros and cons as applicable.
Looks Especially Good: Wearing a jersey... Just a jersey.
Care Instructions: Follow her instructions while her favorite team is playing. She may believe that she can somehow affect a team's performance through elaborate rituals such as wearing "lucky" clothing Play along. Do not block the television. Though she may appear inflexible, the Sports Fan Butch is an excellent bargaining target and will agree to anything in order to watch her game uninterrupted. (Q: "Honey, when the game's over, will you take out the trash, then take me to a movie?" A: "Uh-huh, whatever.")
Example: Edie Falco as Nurse Jackie (Yeah, she's straight, but she’s totally butch. Plus, we all know she'd go lesbo for Dr. O'Hara).
Pros: Straightforward, decisive, quick-witted, employable.
Cons: Unapologetic, reluctant to express emotion, works long hours.
Looks Especially Good: In scrubs, barking out orders.
Care Instructions: Will be exhausted after 20-hour shifts; don’t expect her to engage in conversation. Instead, give her a shoulder massage and send her to bed. Plan fun for days off. Be firm; she may try to boss you around.
On a whim last week, I posted a question on my Facebook page
: "What do butches do that bugs you?" I invited anyone--butches, non-butches, whoever--to answer, and got over 200 responses from BW readers. Responses varied, but some distinct themes emerged. (To be clear, I'm not saying that butches have these traits--or that I'm not guilty of any!)
Whether there's truth in any of these is highly debatable. But these are some stereotypes people hold, and I think it's worth knowing about them, engaging with them, and taking them seriously. For example,
- Ignoring other butches. Several butch readers said that they'd love to have more butch friends, but that other butches ignore them or are unresponsive when they reach out. I've had this experience--but on the other hand, I've had the opposite, too (which is how I became such good friends with my buddy C). Check out my post on butch-butch friendships.
- Too much time in the bathroom or on their hair. [BW averts her eyes.]
- Dressing too sloppily. One reader wrote, "I love butch girls but [it] bothers me it they wear their pants super baggy and walk around grabbing their crotch. It's disgusting when a man does it but when a sexy, beautiful butch woman does it it looks ridiculous." Another reader opined that there are many butches "who think that tracksuit bottoms, a t-shirt and wearing the same deodorant as a 15 year old boy is acceptable first date attire." No BW readers, I hope! (Oh--and a few readers specifically mentioned that they've seen a lot of butches in bras that don't give them enough support. That's no good. If you wear a 38D, a $15 sports bra from Target doesn't cut it.)
- Excessive "swagger" or cockiness. This was a big one, mentioned by more readers than any other trait. One butch wrote that "super rude, cocky, puff-out-your-chest butch women irritate [her]." Another said she disliked the "hyper-ego." she occasionally saw among butches. I agree that arrogance--which is very different from confidence--is never attractive. And I hate that so many people associate this kind of behavior with the word "butch!"
- Trying to police butchness. This includes telling soft butches that they're not real butches and stating "rules" like, "You can't be butch if you have long hair" or "If you wear women's underwear, you're not butch." What? I acknowledge that it's hard to define "butch," but I believe that identity policing is rooted in insecurity. (One butch reader wrote, "I hate when femmes think I'm too butch and butches think I'm too soft. Can't we just agree that I'm cute and will make your mom love me and make your dad wish I was his dyke-in-law?")
- Hating on butch-butch couples; hating on trans men; hating on bisexual women. You don't have to understand (or even like) people who are different from you, but why not try to be kind to them?
- "Puffing up" when they see another butch. Another big one. When you pass a butch you don't know, there's no need to glare at her (or studiously ignore her), pull your girlfriend closer to you, and use your body language to let everyone know that it's "your" McDonald's.
- Being too butch. Of all the critiques I read, this was the only one I really got annoyed at. A handful of people wrote things like, "I know you wear guys' clothes, but don't overdo it," or "Stop wearing men's pants," or "I once knew someone that wore men's underwear! Can u imagine?" (Uh, yes. Yes, I can.) This is another form of identity policing. Please don't tell me the "right" way to be butch. Geez.
- Being chauvinistic. This garnered the second-largest number of complaints (right after the swagger/cockiness one). Readers wrote that some butches want too much control in the relationship, or want to be "the guy" (or a hyperbolic, cartoon version of a guy, in any case), or expect "their woman" to wait on them, or belittle their girlfriends. No one claimed that it happened often, but most said that when it did, it tended to be in the context of a butch-femme relationship. One person wrote, "I don't want my Dapper Gentlelady... to save me, or treat me like I'm weaker or lesser than her... Just because she has an impressive tie collection (no, seriously; it's something to behold) doesn't make her the 'man' in the relationship. There isn't a man here, just two equal women; one in a bow tie, the other in heels."
- Cheating or being a player. (Most readers acknowledged that this isn't specific to butches; it's just that I asked about butches. Maybe I would have gotten the same answer by asking about femmes.)
- Wearing dresses just because it's what's expected of them. Readers weren't exactly "bothered" by this--more like "disheartened." It made them sad to see butches conform to social norms when they clearly didn't want to (although readers also acknowledged that sure, some butches might feel comfortable in a dress).
- Not respecting their elders. This quote summed it up: "I would like to hear less [sic] derogatory comments about older butches. I hear too often insults about their clothes, their mannerisms, and even their looks. I think we all forget the struggle they went through, coming out in a much less forgiving era. They essentially paved the path we all so 'gayly' walk now."
- Playing it too close to the vest. Many people commented that butches seem more difficult than most to get to know. They used phrases like "ultra protective of everything" or "not letting people know them." Hmm... I can certainly relate to the disinclination to make oneself vulnerable (once bitten, twice shy, and all that).
one straight reader (I LOVE that straight people read BW--you rock, straight readers!) wrote that in contrast to, say, gay men, she finds butches a little intimidating. I was surprised at first--me
? But I appreciated her honesty. And although, sure, I wish people didn't assume things about butches based on our appearance, it also reminded me that I might need to go out of my way sometimes to make myself approachable (I'm not suggesting that everyone needs to do this--it just matters to me personally).Do any of these ring true? Can it be productive to talk about them?
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?
Hey all! So I've been in bed with mono for two weeks. I'm definitely starting to feel better, but DANG mono can last a long time. Being sick has gotten downright mono
-tonous. Har, har. I've eaten boatloads of saltines, grown tired of red Gatorade (the original kind--this G2/G3 business is cray cray), and played dozens (hundreds?) of rounds of Gems with Friends.Meanwhile, the out-of-doors has become downright fall-ish in my neck of the woods. Though I've yet to consume my two favorite autumn foods, candy corn and pumpkin pie, I'm in a November mood. Some people are posting one thing for which they're grateful every day this month (thanks for the tipoff, Bee Listy).
But I thought I'd shoot my proverbial gratefulness wad all at once (yes, I really did just write that sentence) and list 30 things here and now. Boom.
What's on your gratefulness list, dear readers? Comment below and list at least three things, large or small.
- The election results! A president who isn't scared to mention The Gays in his acceptance speech! Elizabeth Warren! Maine and Maryland! There is much to celebrate.
- Fiction! The pleasure of reading stories, of turning pages, of becoming subsumed in the printed word. Right now I'm reading Murakami's Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman and Bolano's The Savage Detectives, and am enjoying both very much.
- My DGF (dear girlfriend)! Her mischievous smile, her dancing, her sense of humor, her curiosity about the world--all of these things make me happy, and I love her more every day.
- A sense of relative security! Sure, I have student loans up the wazoo and earn a rather wee salary, but on a day-to-day basis, I don't wonder if I can afford groceries or heat, and that is an incredibly comforting feeling that many people do not get to have.
- Succulents! Recently my DGF and I have gotten addicted to succulents, and have been having a lot of fun growing them. You can propagate them from leaves! How cool is that? (Answer: very.)
- BW readers! I love that I get to write something a lot of people enjoy reading. I am very grateful that you read this blog.
- Friends! BB, CB, KC, MK, JG, DD, SJB, E&E, MT, LR, TH, and many others. Friends give me perspective and make me feel loved.
- Warm showers!
- Being a butch lesbian! I'm grateful that I can present the way I really am, be out, and be me--fleece vests and all.
- My dog, Scout! Scout is my buddy. Loyal, smart, playful, and absurdly well-behaved. When I go running, she goes with me. When I'm sick, she never leaves my side. Especially if I'm eating something.
- Dr. W! My therapist is amazing. She helps me understand who I am, gain courage, work on my strengths, and be a better person. She also has a fabulous BS-detector (important when working with me).
- Projects! I love having projects going. Research projects, art projects, writing projects. Projects, projects.
- Fruit! Particularly pomegranates and Fuyu persimmons (the flat kind).
- Trail running! I want to work up to doing a lot more of it, because I find it exhilarating and challenging.
- Rainy days!
- Sunny days!
- Music! Music can elevate my mood, stir up memories or make me dance. I am also grateful for the ability to make up my own songs (something which is almost certainly not on my DGF's gratitude list).
- My new shoes! They're making my plantar fasciitis feel a little better. Plus, they are orange, and I love orange.
- My parents! I am absurdly similar to them in some ways and absurdly different in others. My relationship with them has evolved a great deal and their support for me has been unwavering. I love them immensely.
- My friendship with my mom! This deserves its own list item.
- Home! I live in a place I really like--both the house and the region.
- Writing! Of all kinds. Words to paper. Words to screen. Words to napkins in ballpoint pen. Words words words.
- My brother, sister-in-law, and niece (+1 on the way)! They're an awesome family, and I can't wait to hang out with them next month.
- The smells on my drive home! There are all kinds of trees on my way home, and I love how they smell: piney and earthy and dewy.
- Humor! God, I'm grateful for humor. I find many things amusing or silly or ironic, and I love seeing the world this way.
- My DXH! I've written a whole lot about him in the past, but suffice it to say that I have an incredibly loving, supportive ex-husband, and I'm grateful that he's such an important part of my life.
- Second chances! Whether it's a relationship or a writing rejection or a dozen push-ups, second chances are the best.
- Things to look forward to! I love having things to look forward to. Vacations, down time with my DGF, books to read, plans with friends, cool work projects... There was a time in my life when I lost the ability to look forward to things, and I think that makes me especially grateful for it now.
As many as you want.
Hi BW readers! It's been almost a week since you heard from me. I've been uncharacteristically tired and had a weird constellation of other symptoms, so I went to the doctor, and... I have mono! Mononucleosis! For the third time. I am writing this with a pillow wedged beneath my upper left side to ease the constant pain of my swollen spleen. Awesome!
Anyway, I miss you. Not all
my readers--I love them all, but I miss YOU specifically. So I wanted to say hi. And what better way to say hi than sharing a list of the weirdest search terms that brought people to Butch Wonders in October? Here you go:
- "bride requiring bridesmaids nipple piercing" (Not okay, people.)
- "are chukka boots gay" (These days they prefer to be called "queer," but yes--they live an alternative lifestyle.)
- "whats the best way to flirt with dike" (A "dike" is a rock embankment that prevents floods. I'd try splashing it playfully with river water.)
- "should lesbian sister be made to wear dress" (Read this. Apply liberal douses to all related situations. P.S. You scare me.)
- "how to make a faux hawk without looking butch" (You'll have better luck making Johnny Weir look straight. We have a monopoly!)
- "quizzes on things that can be worn" (Okay, here's the quiz: 1. shoes 2. shirts 3. wild ponies 4. hats 5. volcanoes 6. gloves. Answers: 1, 2, 4, and 6 = yes. 3 and 5 = no.)
- "lesbians pet names" (We've talked about precision before, but this is getting out of control. Are we talking about pet names others have for lesbians, or lesbians' cutsey little names for other people, or the names of cats, dogs, ferrets, etc., owned by lesbians? Is the elimination of ambiguous modifiers too much to ask? Gah!)
- "butch girl signs" (Found one!)
- "lesbian do whatever you want" (Uh... thanks. I will.)
- "do gays wear football jerseys" (In 21 states we're not allowed to, but the Supreme Court may touch on this in the DOMA ruling.)
- "is it gay to hug a gay guy" (Yes. It will make you gay, although if you weren't gay before the hug, you'll still be allowed to wear football jerseys. Freakin' loopholes.)
- "create your own demon name" (Bob. Tom. Alicia. I did it!!!)
- "why do butch lesbians have kids" (Because hamsters die too fast.)
- "why do boys love boy toys" (Maybe there are inherent, biological differences between boys and girls that make boys love trucks and girls love tutus. Or maybe it's the pervasive gender-based socialization in our society. I vote #2.)
- "why are all lesbians in michigan butch" (I don't know, but after all these years, you've finally given me a reason to seek a pleasant peninsula.)
- "who rules the universe" (Bob, Tom, Alicia, et. al. See above.)
- "swimming pool post/2012" (No one knows what post-2012 swimming pools will look like, but we can't wait to find out.)
- "single mom dating kids under age 3 too soon" (Who cares whether it's "too soon?!" Dating kids under age three is illegal and wrong! Seek professional help.)
- "signs that a butch lesbian wants you but is sometimes an ass" (Butch lesbian is interested in you; has a pulse.)
- "samurai haircut lesbian" (The first thing that popped into my mind was a beauty salon version of this [now unfunny] old SNL skit.)
- "make your own demon fox" (Check.)
- "lesbain tattoo" (I hope this person's tattoo artist has spell-check.)
- "if someone asks you for homosexual sex" (You are required to give it to them, unless you live in New Jersey or Columbus, Ohio.)
- "if a lesbian opens the door for you" (It means she is requesting homosexual sex. If you do not find her attractive, I hope you live in New Jersey or Columbus, Ohio.)
- "i want to transition to a girl because i love girls" (In that case, I want to transition to a Butterfinger candy bar.)
- "how to talk to yur children when parents embarc on dating" (Furst talk to yur kidz about importents of spellign.)
- "dark very butch hair nine tits very young" (I like tits as much as the next dyke, but nine of 'em seems like an awful lot.)
- "comma splicing fun teaching for hairdressers" (Comma splice fun teaching for everyone!)
- "can you melt butch" (Yes, if you get the pan hot enough.)
- "how do i tell if clothing is male" (It used to be that you could tell just by looking. But now you have to ask it how it "identifies.")
- "happy monday dogs" (Happy Wednesday, capybaras! Happy Friday, piglets! Happy Tuesday, arthropods! This is like some bizare version of Goodnight Moon.)
- "gay xmas picture" (How about this, this, or this?)
- "gay friend surprise in bed" (Doesn't this sound like an Oprah episode waiting to happen?)
- "what does it mean when a lady ask you if you know a plumber" (It means she wants you to rub Jell-O in her armpit.)
- "what does it mean if a butch lesbian stares a lot" (It means she's a plumber.)
- "butch dog names" (Jojo, Rasputin, Twinkletoes.)
- "butch cat names" (Merlin, Lucinda, Archibald.)
- "how to make a four year age gap work" (Eliminate welfare.)
- "how much do you age in a year?" (Approximately 365 days.)
- "how do you get a girl to like you if your a girl and she is not lesbian" (If she is not a lesbian, you're going to have to make her one. Start by asking her if she knows a plumber. If she comes at you with Jell-O in hand, you're golden.)
Your swollen-spleened Butterfinger-loving demon fox,
My buddy C
and I enjoy exchanging stories about the funny, traumatic, or improbable "sir"-ings bestowed on us. We began talking about manners surrounding the incidents; what do we want people to do after they mistakenly refer to us with male pronouns, then realize their mistake? Here's our advice:Things to do after you make a mistake about someone's gender:
- Just say, "Oops, sorry," and move on like it is no big deal. Because it really isn’t. It's happened to us before, and we won't hold a grudge. Promise.
We'd love to end this post here, but unfortunately, personal experience suggests that a second list is warranted.Things NOT to do after you make a mistake about someone's gender:
- Do not blame the other person. Do not say that our hair or clothes are "confusing" or point out that we are "dressed like a man." Doing so is embarrassing for you and annoying for us.
- Do not overapologize (hint: more than two apologies qualifies as "overapologizing"). We realize that our self-presentation is not gender typical, and don't think you're nuts or a jerk for making the mistake.
- Do not use it as an excuse to tell us how much you support gay rights or trans rights, or about all the friends you have who are trans and/or gay. This takes a relatively innocuous situation and douses it with awkwardness juice.
- Do not use it as an excuse to tell us you love our haircut and "wish" you could wear your hair that short (hint: you can!).
- Do not defend yourself (after following us into the women's restroom and yelling at us accusingly through the closed stall door, "This is the WOMEN'S room!") by saying, "It was an understandable mistake." We will never understand why someone is SO certain that they know what a "real" woman looks like that they honestly believe that a short man with hips and boobs just walked into a clearly labeled women's restroom, ignored the presence of women and the absence of urinals, and blithely sat down to pee. Isn't it more likely that you just might have a narrow idea of what a woman "looks like?"
- Do not switch pronouns, then switch back again. Being "sir--ma'am--sir'd" is worse than being sir'd.
- Do not say, "Oh! Them is little titties! I thought you was a man."
As you've probably noticed, I list a bunch of my favorite blogs in the right-hand column--you should definitely check them all out(!). I try to keep it fresh, so I delete blogs that seem inactive (i.e., haven't posted in 2012).
I'm grateful to my fellow bloggers, who always have something interesting to say, keep me on my toes, and comment thoughtfully on BW. I don't know if these folks know how religiously I read them, but I do(!). And I wanted to highlight some of my favorite posts from the past couple of months:
What else have you been reading online lately?
- Mainely Butch writes about the things she loves most about being visibly butch... and the things she finds the most awkward. My experiences are a little different from hers (though there's certainly some overlap), and I loved reading her lists.
- Butch on Tap gives lots of advice for staying sane through a breakup. I think all of it is terrific, except for the part about avoiding Ben & Jerry's, which seems to me a little rash.
- Butchtastic Kyle writes a terrifically interesting account of coming out to his parents (sort of accidentally) in high school.
- Neutrois Nonsense shares advice about things to do before, during, and after top surgery. (No, I have no interest in getting top surgery, but a friend of mine is planning on it.) She said it was super helpful, so I thought you all might like it, too. (It can also help you help a friend.)
- Bren of Diffuse 5 writes a great post on breast-binding for beginners. I prefer not to wear anything more binding than a nice sturdy sports bra, but if you want to experiment with something more, this is a must-read.
- Can I Help You Sir sometimes posts these great catch-all "links and whatnot" entries. They always contain interesting stuff, and this latest one is no exception.
- DapperQ, always a fun read, has this great post that illustrates some basic how-tos, like tying a bow tie, with amusing old-timey pictures.
- mx.punk has this interesting, thoughtful post on "Internet pansexuals," and takes issue with the statement, "Love shouldn't be based on something as trivial as gender."
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."