Guest Post: 50 Shades of Gay
This guest post was written by Jesse MacGregor-Jones, who also blogs at Butch Ramblings and is also the author of multiple books.
Butch, stone butch, soft butch, baby dyke, bull dyke, bulldagger, femme, stone femme, high femme, lipstick lesbian, genderqueer, queer, gay, FTM, MTF, transsexual, transgender, gay, homosexual, fag, faggot, womyn, boi, sporty butch, bisexual, butch daddy, twinks, bears, tops, bottoms, subs, doms… Labels, labels, and more labels. I bet you can think of more that I have not mentioned.
I identify as butch. I don't identify as stone butch but I used to identify as soft butch. I have a woman in my life that I care about a great deal. She is femme. I am a femme-loving butch. I've never been attracted to other butch women. I know several butch women who are attracted to other butches and I don't see a thing wrong with it. It just isn't what works for me.
My personal path to who I am today is complicated and I daresay that most of us have had a complicated road. Life really isn't easy for anyone. Many of us continue to evolve as we grow older, which is good and normal. Someone who is a high femme now may eventually just consider herself femme later on. I've seen butch women evolve into femme and vice versa. As I said, I originally identified as soft butch. In fact, there was a time in my life when I wore dresses, makeup, and got my hair permed every 6 to 8 weeks. I used to get my nails done and I enjoyed it to some extent. Yes, I was somewhat femme. (I have destroyed the photo evidence, so don't bother to look. <grins> )
I “evolved” as I got more secure in who I was. I have come to learn that the only real difference between me and someone transgendered is the fact that I have no dysphoria with regards to my breasts and I enjoy being touched physically. I've come to terms with my body and have no desire to actually transition. Nope, I really like to be touched. I'm good with that. Therefore, I am not stone butch. My stone butch friends assure me that they also enjoy being touched, but there are more rules involved and many of them don't like their breasts touched. Some do. The point is, we all have wants, needs, desires, likes, and dislikes, and that is just normal, We all have to get used to new relationships and how to touch people in ways that are loving and unique to each relationship.
The current woman in my life is very confused by all the labels. I think she thinks they are somewhat insulting and come across as derogatory. Some can definitely be used in a derogatory fashion. I personally don't care for labels, but they seem to have become important to the way we relate to each other. She is new to all this and she's very confused. She's never dated butches and she's never lived in a way that her sexual identity has been important. The smartest thing that she has recently said to me was that she doubted I was “typical” of other butches. This makes me laugh. I realize that while many of us have things in common, there is no such thing as “typical.”
I can only speak from my own personal view and I really hope readers will chime in and tell me what they think of the labels that they most closely identify with. I'm curious to know. For example, as I continue to evolve, I'm realizing that I also am considered 'genderqueer' because I feel more masculine and I like to be called “he” or hy. I don't see myself as pretty, beautiful, womanly, or anything female-identified.
As a butch woman, I often feel completely misunderstood. Often I feel as if I am loathed by a large portion of society. Femme women who only date femme women have a tendency to scorn women like me. We are treated as 'ugly women who try to be men.' But gender is more mental than physical. I don't want to be a man. I'm just not completely comfortable as a woman. I don't think like a girl. I can't help that. I don't want to be a man either. I just want to be me. Isn't this what we all want?
Butch woman are somewhat caught in the middle. I don't 'pass' as straight, so I don't have any of that 'straight entitlement' that so many femme women enjoy. They do not get the dirty looks, the condescending attitudes, the outward hate and even the shunning within their own community the way that I do.
Being uncomfortable as a woman, I didn't get the life education that women get from dating men and living in a straight world. Straight women, and femme women, are tough with feelings. They are so in control sometimes that it is just plain scary to me. For this very reason, I don't quite fit into the male world either. I'm emotional. It is that one damn part of being a girl that I cannot control. I hate it. Almost as much as having a period once per month. That comes along once every 28 days or so and slaps me upside the head and reminds me that even if I wear a tie and suits, I'm a woman and I can't hide from that. It has taken many years, but I finally do embrace myself and love me as I am. I am neither male nor female, in my own humble opinion. I'm something of a hybrid, the best of both worlds.
You see, I've come to learn that when it boils right down to it, I'm human. All the sub-categories and groups really don't matter that much if we get down to the root of things. We are all attracted to those we are attracted to because we see something in them. That's all that matters. I just thank the stars for the one femme who likes this butch. That's all that matters to me. I think we all have the right to be who we are and love who we want to love. I also believe that we should be more tolerant of each other, as a community, if we expect the rest of the world to accept us as well. Practice less judgment and more compassion beginning today. Take the time to listen to someone else. Their story may surprise you and it may be more like your own than you imagined. In a world filled with hate, we should start practicing love, both with ourselves and with each other.
2/19/2013 11:30:16 am
I identify as a stone butch. I date and have dated some incredibly beautiful femmes. In my last relationship I was finally able to relate to my femme my needs and in a way I finally figured out who I was and what I liked. I have since found a new femme who thank the universe I didn't need to embarrass myself with all the "read between the lines." She already knew. It's been amazing with her and she treats me like her true butch which plays on my feminine and masculine side. So shout out to the universe for sending my princess along!
7/31/2015 06:18:45 pm
Are u guys still together ? Just curious ..
2/19/2013 11:41:55 am
2/20/2013 06:59:32 am
Well spoken! Excellent points! Brava!!!
2/22/2013 10:01:53 pm
Relatable and well said.
I'm not big on labels, but for the sake of this conversation, I'll identify as femme. And I have to disagree with Amanda Lynn. It's a little like when my younger son tells me boys are equally objectified to girls because he feels the need to lift weights so he looks good. Not quite, son.
2/19/2013 05:24:28 pm
"I am neither male nor female, in my own humble opinion. I'm something of a hybrid, the best of both worlds. "
2/21/2013 10:03:35 am
perfect .......that is a great term....it fits me also
2/19/2013 09:21:32 pm
Great article. And I agree with Amanda Lynn's qualification regarding femme identity.
2/20/2013 05:51:23 am
I identify as Gender Queer, I am a Stone Butch, I am not touched anywhere, I orgasm when making love to a Femme. I do not think that the labels are important ,but to me personally, if I was not happily married and was dating I would want the label to let a Femme know who I am.
2/20/2013 06:43:55 am
You ladies are awesome for writing. I am heading into late 40's and am finally being me, just a regular ol’ classic butch with a twist of gender queer. (OMG I cannot believe I am writing this.) I am ok with being a woman, but I so wanted to be a boy when I was a kid. Sexually, I think an act like a man but I do not want to be a man on a daily basis. I also love physical affection and being touched a lot. I am masculine in dress and mannerisms and I feel other women do not feel comfortable around me. Their loss, I am sensitive, loyal, charming (I hope) and darn fun to be around. I can also be a total emotional mess ggrrrrrrr.
2/20/2013 07:14:05 am
What I really mean to say is I think it's tremendously important that we as butch women, who want and need to define and Identify who we are, have to talk candidly about our sexuality not just the way they dress. For the longest time, I have felt so frustrated to say the least sexually because I thought I was abnormal.
5/15/2013 07:44:09 am
The sexuality part is where I find it hard to communicate with other butches, or anyone for that matter. I have felt different from other butches (and anyone I know) in the way I like to have sex. But, since I haven't talked with other butches about it, I really don't know. I am always attracted to femme females. And when I have sex I become, in my head, a straight guy. I once knew another butch who referred to the feeling of a "phantom cock", which resonated deeply for me. I do not feel like a butch with a penis or strap-on. I feel I am a straight guy, and my fantasies during sex are all centered on that theme.
Thank you again Jesse, a thoughtful post and I'm glad to see the resonses above from other Stone Butches
2/20/2013 07:01:23 pm
Loved this blog! I am soft butch, and who mostly likes soft butch to butch. I just want to tell u (laughingly) that u are missing out on so much when u haven't tried a butch....THEY ARE F**KING AWESOME!! IT has taken me many years and i used to be clasified as femme, and lived as straight for over 15 years of my adult life, so I can still pass lol. the thing is that along the way, I too have become more and more comfortable with myself and have become more butch too, and more PROUD OF IT! very grateful to those of u who blog about these things, so that we can all have something of a written history some day!
I'm sorry that you sometimes feel scorn from the rest of the world. Especially if you are feeling it from the gay community of femmes who date other femmes.
2/22/2013 05:56:57 am
WHY do we not acknowledge each other in public? Regardless of how you see yourself or how you're labeled? What's up with that? And why aren't straight people labeled as to the degree of their 'straightness'?
I guess I just wanted to reiterate that femme women can often find butches secretly, agonizingly attractive and intimidating. this isn't really examined enough, but it's true. what you may have perceived as "scorn" might have been earnest curiosity with the inability to make the first move or admit they, as femmes, desired you. just a thought, because i never got along with butches until i figured out i wanted one for my very own. ♥ love your blog!
So interesting. I wrote my own post on labels (Beyond Labels), but even as I was writing, I wondered what I might be missing. In the end, I think we're still better off without labels, but this post has made me think about how much easier it is socially when you blend (I do), and how, perhaps, identities with names (like Butch) might give us some collection of support until such time as society relaxes into acceptance... at which time, just maybe, we can let go of the labels. Thank you for the thoughtful post.
11/12/2013 09:05:32 pm
i have been going through a gender transition for 1/half years now FTM...and recently decided to stop, deep down i know i am a women i know this by the way i connect with femme women, i fell in love with this amazing women 4years ago and only spent a short time with her, recently she came back into my life and i must say it has made me question so much about what ive been doing,...she loves women and i am physically changing into a man, i haven't connected with a women in such a way before she means the world to me, and i cant handle the thought of loosing her. whatever happens though i know i need to accept myself. but thankgod she showed me what its like to feel loved and accepted as a women..i cannot an will not take that from her. i thought i liked straight women and always felt more like a boy but to be honest once i started living as male and dating straight women i lost myself and couldn't connect with them i yearned for that feeling to be seen and appreciated as a women.
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