Help My Brother Recover from a Hate Crime

My brother Loba’s home was burned down by a homophobic neighbor (an uncle) and they are now homeless.  Loba has an Indiegogo campaign with a goal of $8000 to help buy a small camper, to give Loba a place to live and self-reliance.  They are currently couch surfing with friends and dealing with the legal aftershocks of the arson.  For more on the story and how you can help, please click this link, Help Buy Me A Camper.

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As an incentive, if you contribute $100 or more, I’ll send you a printed copy of my e-book when it’s completed. Email me from the account you used to make the donation to let me know.

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NaNoWriMo 2014: time to get ready

As a friend pointed out, there less than a week until the beginning of NaNoWriMo 2014.  Yes, it’s that time of year again and I once again will be working on my novel-in-progress, Guys Like Us.

I had planned to spend most of this year working on it, getting a manuscript completed and getting feedback but my personal transition took center stage and my novel gathered dust.

Last year, I posted excerpts of my novel writing throughout the month of November and I will do the same this year.  If you were a reader back then, you might remember watching the sweet romance of Buddy and Desiree form and develop.  And you might remember how things turned sour at the end.  I realize that I need to read through what I wrote last year and figure out what portion of the novel I’m working on this year.

Here’s where I left off on Nov 29 and 30, 2013:

It’s hard at this point to remember how I got through those next few days.  I was doing a lot of compartmentalizing, numbing myself against the pain and trying not to see what I didn’t want to see.  And what I didn’t want to see most of all was Desiree hanging out with Bobby.  She started sitting with him at lunch and he was walking her to and from class.

I finally got a phone call from her after school on Monday.  Two full days since her date with Bobby.

“Hi.”

“Hi.”

Yeah, this wasn’t going to be awkward at all.

I tried to keep my voice light, but the tightness in my throat threatened to choke me.  “So, how are you?  How’d it go?”

I wanted to say, and ask, a lot of other things.  And I also didn’t want to ask or say any of those things.  I could feel my soft, vulnerable parts begin to retreat, holing up deeper inside me while the harder elements surrounded them.

Deep sigh from her side of the phone.  “It was… well, I hated it but it wasn’t as bad as I was worried it would be.  He didn’t push too much once I said ‘no’.”

“What did you have to say ‘no’ to?” My voice rose up in panic.  “No, no, never mind, I don’t want to know… dammit, that fucking bastard.”

“Buddy, I’m sorry, you know I don’t want this, I don’t want him, I want you.  I’m doing this for us, you know that, right?”

Yeah, I knew that, and at the same time it felt like betrayal.  Wasn’t there always another way?  She’d asked a question I didn’t really want to answer, the hurt feelings I had were making a stand.

“Buddy… please, talk to me, I can’t stand this if you won’t talk to me.  I love you, Buddy, he doesn’t mean anything to me.”  She was pleading with me, nothing like the take charge attitude she’d had in the gravel pit, she was begging me. Begging for what?  Understanding?  Forgiveness?  Could I give her either of those right now?

“I know you’re doing what you think is right, I know you think this is the only way”  Now that I’d started, I had to keep going.  “I just believe that if we’d put our heads to it we could have come up with another solution.”

“Oh, really?  What solution, Buddy?  What are we going to do to keep Bobby from telling everyone that you’re my girlfriend?  That we’re lezzies?”  She snapped it out angrily, like a whip crack.  “You think you’re so smart, you tell me how we keep Bobby from ruining our lives?”

I didn’t have an answer to that, that was the problem.  I just knew I hated her solution, couldn’t stand it, wasn’t sure I could live with it.  “I don’t know, Des!  I just know that I love you and I don’t want to keep pretending I don’t.  I hate that you are with him, even if you are pretending.  Even if you are just doing it to keep him from talking.”

These were words that I’d been holding back for days, words that now felt like hand grenades and balls of barbed wire crowding my throat, eager to be set free.  There was a destructive energy in them that I’d been afraid of allowing into the light but I was feeling reckless.  Or maybe it was just too much to hold back anymore, I was hurting myself in my attempt to shield her from how I really felt about ‘the arrangement’.

“I hate this, Des.  I understand that you’re afraid of everyone knowing that you love me, that we love each other, but imagine how it makes me feel to see you walking around with him. He taunts me, do you know that?  He walks by with you and gives me that stupid smug look and mouths ‘lezzy’ at me.  He’s rubbing my nose in it, he thinks he’s won.  Every day it’s like getting a knife to the gut watching you two together.”

“He and I are not together, Buddy, I don’t care what it looks like!”  She shouted defensively.  “Why do you care what it looks like?  You know the truth!”

“Yeah, why do I care what it looks like… Well, why do you care if people know you love me?  Tell him to fuck off!  We’ll have each other and even if people gave us shit, we’ll be together, we could take care of each other.  Besides, we’d have Jamie and Sarah May on our side.”

“Right, I’d lose all my friends and get the freaks instead, awesome.  That’s exactly what I’m going to do.”

“Oh, I see, my friends and I are the freaks.  And you’re going out with a thick headed, bullying idiot instead of me because you care what people think.  That’s lovely, Des.  I guess now I know where I stand.  You love me as long as no one else knows.  Got it.”

We sat there in an acidic silence.  Then I could hear her breathing hard, heard her sniff.  Oh, shit, I made her cry, dammit.  I gulped and struggled to keep my tears inside.

“So what are you saying, Buddy?  Do you want to break up?”

I guess that was the logical question to ask, but as soon as I heard it, I thought my heart would lurch out of my chest, I was close to hyperventilating.

“No, Des, no.. I don’t want to break up with you.. it’s just.. dammit, this is hard, this is so fucking hard!  You act like this is nothing, like it’s no big deal.”

“Buddy, baby, I know it’s not nothing, I know it’s a big deal.  I’m sorry it hurts so much, it hurts me, too.  I just … maybe I’m just not strong enough, not as strong as you.  I don’t think I can handle everyone talking about me and losing my friends.”

And your place in high school society, I thought.  Let’s not forget that your popularity ranking would drop like a lead weight if this scandal came out.  It wasn’t a very nice thing to think, but it was real.  It was the kind of thing Sarah May would point out.  And I knew very well how it felt to have people talking about you in not so great ways.

“Buddy, please trust me.  I love you, no matter what happens with Bobby.  You’re the one I love.”  I wanted to believe her.  I did believe her but maybe the problem was I didn’t know if that was going to be enough for me.  Was it enough to know she loved me more, if I wasn’t able to be with her?  If I had to watch her with him?

I took a moment, “Ok, Des, I believe you.  I know you love me.  When can I see you?  I need to kiss you, Des, hold you in my arms.”

The way she exhaled told me I wasn’t going to like her answer.

“Oh, baby, I’m not sure, soon, I promise.  I’ve got a bunch of things to take care of and he wants to see me later.  We’ll do it soon, baby, I promise.”

There was no reason to push, I could imagine her face right then, the way she set her jaw when she wasn’t going to be argued out of something.  Or into something.

“Ok, just… I love you and the sooner the better, alright, babe?”  I knew I needed to get off the phone soon, not just because I had stuff to do and it was almost dinner time, but because I couldn’t stand having her so close and feeling so far away at the same time.  “I, uh, I need to get going.  Homework and stuff.”

“Yeah, me, too.  Love you, Buddy.  See you soon.  Goodnight.”

See you soon.  It echoed in my ears as we hung up, kept coming back to me as I stared at my math homework and my dinner plate and the dishes I was supposed to be washing.  See you soon was a promise and also a potential lie.  Would she see me tomorrow or continue to train her eyes away from me in class and the hallways.  Would she make time for me after school or would she keep letting Bobby monopolize her time.  See you soon felt like an empty promise at that moment, empty and yet potent for it’s ability to cut into me every time the phrase popped into my mind.

I know she believed what she was saying, all along.  She loved me and thought she could continue loving me while giving Bobby what he demanded as payment for his silence.  She couldn’t see that he’d already won, he’d already ruined what we’d had.  The light-heartedness, the sweet innocence of what we shared — and yes, even with the sex, there was an innocence — that sweetness, and the ease we had had with each other had been destroyed.  Bobby had made it something horrible, something that had the potential to ruin our lives.  That was Des’ viewpoint.  I didn’t see it as ruin, I was pretty romantic, I thought true love was the most powerful substance in the world.  I always thought we could make it together as long as we stuck together and loved each other.  Bobby fucked that all up.  He made it into a dirty secret, he turned her love for me into a bargaining chip. It seems obvious now that this would change me, change my romanticism into something more pragmatic and cynical but at the time I wasn’t looking into the future that far.  I couldn’t see much past the fact that he’d taken my true love away and ruined everything.  I was going to have to share her with him and no amount of ‘I love yous’ from her was going to make that any easier to live with.

High school suddenly looked an interminable sentence in hell.  The halls had become potent with potential violence and grief from Bobby and his friends.  I had previously looked forward to school, not just because of Des, but even before that because I enjoyed learning, I actually didn’t mind homework.  But right then, after that phone call, I couldn’t stand the thought of going through those front doors the next morning.

And Bobby hadn’t even shown all of his hand yet.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

At one point, before I’d resolved to stop looking,I had to learn to stop looking when the two of them were walking past me in the hallway.  Bobby kept up his practice looked directly at me and mouthing “lezzy” or “faggot” or something else, before turning to her and saying something that made her laugh.  She usually didn’t look at me at all which was fine because I got tired of seeing the apology on her face.  ‘Sorry’ wasn’t nearly enough to make me feel better.

For a while, Sarah May and Jamie did their best to console me, but once they realized I didn’t want to be cheered up, they kept up a constant chatter to cover the almost complete silence I maintained.  Sarah May, who usually got to the cafeteria before me, started sitting in a different spot. I knew why but didn’t say anything.  Nothing needed to be said.  The new spot made it harder to see the table Desiree and Bobby were sitting at.

Jamie’s favorite topic was a girl she had her eyes on.  I remained cynical and sarcastic, earning me a lot of dirty looks.  Somehow Sarah May’s clinical detachment didn’t get the same reaction.

“So you believe that the girl you are attracted to you is amenable to your advances?” Sarah May asked Jamie.  “And you believe you have a specific ability to detect persons who are lesbians?”

That almost made me laugh.  Jamie guffawed.  “Wow, well, you know how to squeeze the believability out of anything, don’t you?”

Sarah May continued to stare at Jamie, she was waiting for an answer.

“Alright then, number 1, yes, I do believe Rebecca is open to my charms.”  Jamie paused for a sip of soda.  “And as for number 2, yes, I do believe in gaydar.  I do believe that with a high degree of accuracy I can tell who’s gay.  Even if they don’t know it themselves yet.”

I snorted and looked at Sarah May.  She had raised a cynical eyebrow.

Jamie put up her hands in surrender, “Fine, you don’t believe me, that’s OK.  I know what I’ve got and it works… I invite you to observe.”  Jamie packed her lunch and got up with a wink back to us, she walked a few yards away and sat down next to a brunette, Sophie Winchester.  She and another girl were talking and laughing.  When Jamie sat down, and Sophie turned to her, puzzled look on her face.  Jamie leaned over and and appeared to say something in her ear at which point Sophie’s expression turned into a huge smile.  Jamie said something else, and Sophie laughed loudly enough for us to hear.  Jamie continued and Sophie’s smile changed, becoming a little coy and flirtatious.  Jamie was nodding her head and smiling and shortly thereafter, Sophie began nodding her head and smiling.  Jamie stood and gave a small bow, then turned and walked back toward us.

“Well, did you see?  My mojo is totally online.”

“I saw you talk to her and I saw her laugh at you.” I responded a bit sourly. “Is that your mojo?  Getting girls to laugh at you?”

There was a pause as Sarah May and Jamie both registered the fact that I’d spoken.  Then Jamie gave a chuckle.

“She wasn’t laughing at me, she was laughing at something I said, which is totally different.  And what you couldn’t hear was that she agreed to go out with me Friday night.”

I was back to being silent, though this was from complete shock rather than lack of interest in the world.  Sarah May had a quizzical look, my mouth hung open.

Sarah May, who had gotten savvy to Jamie’s tendency toward braggadocio, raised an eyebrow, “So, exactly what did you propose and exactly what was her answer?”

“What is this, an interrogation?”  Jamie laughed. “I asked her if she liked ice cream and movies and she said yes.  I asked her what movie she was hoping to see and she told me and I responded that I hadn’t seen it yet either and would she like to go with me this Friday.  I offered to spring for ice cream afterward.”

Jamie sat up straight and smiled smugly, “She said yes, she’d love to and we agreed to meet at the theater.”

“So you consider this to be a date?”  Sarah May pressed on.

“Yes, I do, and I understand that she may not.  Yet.  But give me time, I have my ways.”  This was Jamie to a tee, never losing her cocky optimism, no matter what the odds were.

I was confused about one point, “What did you say that made her laugh so loud?”

Her face became shrewd, “Oh, I can’t tell you that, that’s a trade secret.  You’re gonna have to come up with your own lines, Buddy, my boy.  I’m not gonna give you mine.”  She winked.

“Well, that’s OK, I don’t need lines, do I.  I have a girlfriend.”  Which of course, brought the realization of exactly what I had and did not have squarely down on my head like a truckload of bricks.  “I have to go.”

I walked out without waiting for them to say goodbye.  I’d had enough of socializing.

 

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Swimming in the Deep End

My girlfriend, Oregon Girl, has a blog called Swimming in the Deep End. She’s smart and clever and writes insightful posts and sexy posts and poetry like this:

real love
tastes like freedom
uncaged and limitless
smells like petrichor
earthy and ancient

I encourage you to check it out :-)

The title of her blog encapsulates her philosophy:  don’t be shallow when you can be deep.  Don’t waste your time doing things that don’t feed you, life is short and you should always be doing your best to get the best from life.

I couldn’t agree with her more.  Love, and life, are best served deep.

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How I Make Love

I make love to her with my hands

my lips, my tongue, my thighs

my teeth and my cock

I make love to her when I kiss her softly

or more urgently

I make love to her when I hold her hand

or run my fingers up her thigh

I make love to her when I look into her eyes

and listen to her stories

I make love to her when I put my arm around her

and walk down the sidewalk

I make love to her by resting my head on her shoulder

or cradling her against mine

I make love to her by writing letters

with stamps and doodles and hearts

I make love to her through song dedications

and compilation CDs

I make love to her by saying thank you

to the stars, before I fall asleep at night

I make love to her by saying good morning

every morning, no matter how good

or bad it is

I make love to her with my intention

by being myself, by loving fully

I make love to her by loving all of her

by holding out my hand, in dark moments

and light

I make love to her with every thought

in every moment

of every day

 

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Sexy Fun with a Friend

A few months ago, I was chatting with my friend Evoë about some pictures she’d taken with another friend and I said, hey, we should do a photo shoot sometime.  I figured either she could use her picture taking prowess on me or we could do something together.

That idea brewed for a while until she texted me not long ago with this proposition:  She invited me to a hotel room in downtown Olympia to take pictures.  She and Harold would be there and she had an idea for a fantasy sequence starring her and I.

That morning I put on a nice shirt and a tie and pulled my bomber jacket on to ward off the chill.  I hung out with the two of them for a couple of hours and the results are posted to Evoë’s blog, My Whole Sex Life, in two installments.  The first, Room Service, is that fantasy sequence she envisioned.  The second, Authenticity, includes shots of us talking, getting silly, being sweet.

Evoë and I have been friends since we met in 2011 at a SEAF where we were reading the erotic stories we’d written as a part of the Literary portion of that event.  We’ve flirted, had serious conversations and supported each other through really hard personal times.  It was nice to have some time for lightheartedness, playing sexy and feeling sweet.  Thank you, both of you.

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the whole of me

The me that you see is not the whole of me
I’m looking out through these eyes
longing for a wider view
longing to be viewed

to be seen
for all you are
good, bad, misguided, enlightened, lifted and low
there is no greater high

look into my eyes
see the me in here
peeling off, layer by layer
becoming a furless horse
more real than ever

this cocoon is cozy
a safe nest
hiding place, nursery, rich soup of growth
the time has come
stretching my wings

time to fly home to me

 

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What Does Poly Mean To Me

It seems that I’ve answered this question numerous times over the years but the answer keeps evolving.  So when Oregon Girl asked me this morning, I realized that I did have something slightly new to say about it.

It used to mean freedom to pursue sexual relationships with people other than my primary partner.  That’s where I was at the time, feeling sexually stifled and in need of a way to explore without losing out on my primary relationship.  And I’m no cheater, so poly was the only way to stay honest about what I was doing.

I’ve certainly taken advantage of that freedom over the past 7 years.  That freedom has served me well, allowed me to see into myself in ways I only dreamed about in black and white.  Though at times heart ache — for myself and others — resulted from my sexual adventures, I can’t regret it all because I gained so much.  I do regret hurting others in the process.

That was then and this is now.  I’m still interested in sexual exploration but more interested in relationships and connections. I’m interested in quality over quantity.

When Oregon Girl asked me this morning, “What is poly to you then? What is it you want?”, my answer was “Poly is not about fucking everyone I can and having some gigantic score card. It’s about love and relationships and connections.”

Now, I probably wouldn’t have ever said in years past that “Poly is about fucking everyone I can and having a gigantic score card”, but sex and kink explorations were a big part of how I came into poly.

So what changed?  Oh I suppose I could say maturity, but that would imply that I’m grown up and mature and I’m not sure that’s what this is about.  What really happened was I met someone.  I met someone who amazes me every day, who satisfies me on every level, who loves all of me.  She is my safe place and the starting point for adventures.  She does crazy wonderful amazing things to me sexually and when we’re together, I forget about everything else around us.  We went to a concert on Saturday and all I remember is the show – which was awesome – and her.  Ask me to describe the people sitting next to us and I can’t.. I mean, I think someone was blond, somewhere nearby.  But all I saw was her.

I feel so satisfied and full in our relationship that I have no desire to seek new sexual partners or adventures.  She offers plenty of adventures and besides, spending time with her is a pleasure no matter what we are doing.  It is totally worth it to spend two hours with her when she’s on her way home from Seattle because spending any time with her doing anything is a peak experience.  So, yeah, you get the point.  I’m a goner for Oregon Girl.  I connect to her on all levels and that’s what I really want now in my life.  I want deep, quality connections and that’s what I have with her.  I am full and satisfied with the relationships I have now and she is a big part of that.  I feel stable and whole and loved and that’s the best thing, that’s what I want from life.

Thank you, baby, for turning my world around and upside down and showing me how amazing it can be to be loved in all the ways.

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Show Me, Daddy and other hot stories in Elust #63

Subbee-HEADER-300x200

Photo courtesy of A to sub Bee

Welcome to Elust #63 -

The only place where the smartest and hottest sex bloggers are featured under one roof every month. Whether you’re looking for sex journalism, erotic writing, relationship advice or kinky discussions it’ll be here at Elust. Want to be included in Elust #64? Start with the rules, come back November1st to submit something and subscribe to the RSS feed for updates!

~ This Month’s Top Three Posts ~

I am Sexy at Every Size
Censored? Never By My Hand #DarkErotica #BDSM
Hovering

~ Featured Post (Molly’s Picks) ~

Show Me, Daddy
The pride of being a dom

~ Readers Choice from Sexbytes ~

*You really should consider adding your popular posts here too*
Ask Better Questions

All blogs that have a submission in this edition must re-post this digest from tip-to-toe on their blogs within 7 days. Re-posting the photo is optional and the use of the “read more…” tag is allowable after this point. Thank you, and enjoy!

 

Erotic Non-Fiction

Two Hours of Bliss
Save the Sheets
All He Could Do Was Moan.
I’ll Have What She’s Having
Attitude on the Autobahn
Go get a toy so you can fuck yourself.
Cumslut

Thoughts and Advice on Kink and Fetish

Why I love my Packer
Tools of the trade
On being a feminist and a dirty little slut
Stapled
Getting Acquainted
Not Your Fetish
Why Kinky Women Are All Gold-Digging Trash*
Schoolgirls a Lasting Obsession
Kink-Blocked by Burners

Thoughts & Advice on Sex & Relationships

We Still Have To Work At It
Sex and Motherhood – Part 1
Tips for using sex toys & avoiding infections
How to Have Sex Naked
Bipolar Sex

Erotic Fiction

Oopps Wrong Number
Pour
Minister & Mistress
Surprises: A Threesome Story
Door Frame

Sex News, Opinion, Interviews, Politics & Humor

Sex, lies, videotape & being a decent person
Two Women One Topic

Events

Rubber Band Brilliance

Blogging

Stripping away the Shadows

Poetry

Sweat Slick – An Erotic Sonnet
The Poem Challenge, Day 6: “Owned”
Sixty Years On – A Lusty Limerick
Poetry: I Am….

Writing About Writing

On Writing Daddy Porn
ELust Site Badge

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Everything She’s Asked For

I am working on my e-book in earnest now.  I have a document with 128 pages, including a title page, dedications and a table of contents.  Very official.  I am now considering what I want to do for cover art.

This is pretty exciting.  And yes, I will make sure you all know about it when it becomes available.

Everything She’s Asked For

Remember that title.

 

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Thoughts on Masculine Privilege

I’m writing this post because of a recent question from the Oregon Girl about my thoughts on masculine privilege in female identified masculine-of-center people and how I had seen it manifest.

I am going to answer based on my experience, however, I know from conversations with other masculine-of-center people that I am not the only one to have receive advantages based on my masculinity.  I also know from my conversations with more feminine presenting people that they have witnessed that privilege first hand.

Let’s start with a definition.  When I talk about male or masculine privilege, I am talking about advantages given to those who are perceived male or masculine that are not conferred on the basis of skill, ability or any other objective measure, but rather because of that masculinity.  You can find lists of male privilege on the internet, I’ll leave that research to you but most revolve around a perception of greater intelligence, authority and competency – if there are two people and one of them is masculine appearing, people will tend to defer to the masculine one when it comes to decision making.  There is an assumption that if you are masculine, you not only know how to do stereotypically male things but you also enjoy those activities.   The list goes on.  And on.  And on.  Lots and lots of assumptions.

One example drawn from my own life is an occasion when my lover was taking me out to dinner.  Throughout the evening, it was clear that our waiter – a cute and energetic, probably gay man – believed that I was in the driver’s seat.  He asked me if we’d like a drink to start with.  He stood behind her and looked at me, asking if we were ready to order.  He took the same position when it came time to ask me if we were going to have dessert and placed the check securely on my side of the table when it came time to close out.  I kept trying to direct him to her as the decision maker, and he stubbornly kept coming back to me.

I ended up being amused, she ended up being frustrated.  Then we ended up having a conversation about masculine privilege.  I hadn’t fully realized what was going on so she gave me a point-by-point run-down of how the waiter had deferred to me and had assumed that as the masculine member of the couple I must be in control of the money and decision making.  From that point forward, I started paying more attention to how my masculinity was effecting the way people treated me, especially when I was with someone who presented in a more feminine way.

This is what I observed:  the more masculine I presented, the more men and other masculine-of-center people treated me as an equal, respected my opinions and trusted what I had to say, i.e., believed I had expertise when I said I did.  I observed that the deference shown to me was in direct contrast to the way they treated my more feminine companions.  Whereas it was assumed that I knew what I was talking about, and space was given to me to express my opinions, my companions are more often talked over, argued with and discounted.

In a recent conversation on this topic, someone asked, well, is all that really privilege?  What advantage does it give?  Well, first let’s start by considering – or remembering – how it feels when you are the one who is not listened to, considered an equal or trusted to have credible information.  On the job, that easily translates into less influence in the workplace, less power and therefore, less opportunity.  In contrast, if I’m receiving masculine privilege at work, I’ll have more influence on decision making, probably leading to my having more opportunities.  And because there are still more male managers than female ones, if I’m seen as one of the guys, I’ll gain favor just on that basis.

Can you get this kind of privilege even if you are a female identified masculine-of-center person?  Sure.  As someone who’s gender identity is rarely recognized at a glance, I can tell you that people don’t know how you identify.  You may be a proud female identified individual of masculine presentation but you’ll still get more privilege than someone who is more feminine presenting.  It’s not about how you see yourself, it’s how the world sees you.

Let’s talk about why some masculine-of-center people might not believe they are the recipients of privilege.  From my experience, that’s because we are all to aware of some of the not so great things about being recognized as a gender transgressor.  As someone who is perceived as a butch lesbian or a trans guy or a ‘what the fuck are you’ in public, I know very well how dangerous it can be to be so obviously queer.  And again, it doesn’t matter how I identify, it only matters how I am perceived.  The presence of oppression (higher percentage of chances of being seen as queer and assaulted for it) does not eliminate the existence of privilege (age, class, ability, skin color, perceived gender).  The femmes and feminine presenting people I know have a flip side to this, they are more likely to be seen as straight, therefore not as likely to be targets of homophobic violence but will be the recipients of gender based oppression plus, often not recognized as queer by their community and therefore not receiving the support of that community.

Lots of us will experience a mix of oppression and privilege throughout our lives.  The presence of privilege doesn’t negate our oppression and oppression doesn’t cancel out privilege.  My goal is to be aware of both and to understand how they each inform my attitude about the world and the world’s attitude about me.  Where I have privilege and power, I might have an opportunity.  Can I start a conversation with the people who are presenting me with masculine privilege?  Can I make space for my more feminine presenting companion to step up and take her space in the conversation?  Can my awareness be a tool in my activist toolbox and can I leverage my privilege in order to lift others up?  Or even better, to step down/aside and make space for them to make the move they desire to make?

As someone who does experience oppression, I have empathy with others who experience oppression, even if it is of a different sort.  I know what it’s like to be seen as inferior, as less capable and having my power taken from me by those who feel they are more worthy of that power.  Now, I could see this increasing masculine privilege I’m experiencing as a prize, something I deserve after all the years of gender and sexuality based oppression.  Or I could see it as the arbitrary boon it is.

And that’s the choice I am making, and reaffirming, every chance I get.  I won’t say I’m perfect at checking my privilege, I’m certainly not, I’m learning more all the time about the internal and external consequences of privilege.  I’m learning all the time how to be a better ally to other people and groups.

It’s probably the topic of another post to talk about how to be an ally but the first step is to ask the group you are trying to support how to be a better ally.  It continues with the art of listening and acknowledging that the oppressed group is the authority and even if we believe we have great ideas, if we are coming from privilege, we need to check ourselves and avoid pushing our agendas.  Our agendas are not important, our agendas need to be about us and our concerns, not a move to hijack someone else’s movement.  When we bring our privilege into a space that does not belong to us, our task is to be in support of that group, not in leadership.  That’s probably enough on that for now, like I said, that’s a topic that deserves its own post and if I write that post, I’d want to get other input for it.

For thoughts on this topic from a feminine presenting person’s perspective, please see this blog post by the Oregon Girl, aka FathomlessFemme.

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