Living up to Our Words

I read this at Olympia’s Equality March for Unity and Pride today:

This is the Equality March for Unity and Pride

Pride … Unity…. Equality….

Powerful words, powerful enough to bring us together today. But what do they mean? I’ve been thinking about what they mean to me…

What is Pride?.. I have been joining my community to celebrate pride during the month of June for a long long time. It’s been awhile since I gave much thought to what that word means to me. Some people equate Pride with Boastfulness. I equate Pride with not being Ashamed I don’t march to boast about being queer and trans. I march because I’m not ashamed that I am a queer transgender man.

I gather with my community every June, because I am not ashamed of who I am and I am not ashamed of who you are either. I am proud to come together with all of you to celebrate our ability to survive and to work for social justice and to see the joy we have in community.

How about Unity?… this one’s a bit trickier, I think. Can we achieve Unity even if we don’t completely agree on everything? Can we be unified on the basis of some overarching truths and goals, even if we don’t agree on how to reach those goals?

For example -

Can we agree that trans women should not keep getting the shit end of the stick any more?
And can we agree that trans women of color should not have a gigantic target on their backs any more?

Can we agree that our gender and sexual minority children and youth should be allowed to grow into adulthood, to be healthy and happy and allowed to pursue their dreams without threat of assault and rejection?

Can we agree that our gender and sexual minority elders deserve to be cared for, cherished and protected as they become more vulnerable?

Can we agree that immigrants don’t deserve to be labeled enemies and that our indigenous people deserve respect and acknowledgement for what they have given up in order for the rest of us to be standing here today?

Can we unify around the fact that this is a dangerous time for all marginalized people and we really do need each other? We need all of our efforts, and all of the methods, tactics and ideas we can come up with to counter the hatred that endangers our most vulnerable people every day. I would like to think we can unify around those ideas.

So what is Equality?… my son and I were talking about this the other day. What does equality mean to you? Does it mean we all get equal portions? Is it about a level playing field, whatever that is? We arrived at this explanation – Equality means no one should get an automatic disadvantage based on the color of their skin
or who they love
or how they relate to gender
or how their brains or bodies work
or their economic class
or where they came from before they were where they are now.

Privilege is advantage. Working toward equality means working toward a time when there are no automatic advantages for being a particular skin color or gender or class.

There are a couple more words I think relate to our purpose in coming together today:

One is Inclusion. What does it mean to be inclusive? Is it enough to put the right sequence of letters on the flyer for your event? What are we doing to make sure people know they are included? Words are not enough, actions speak much more loudly.

Actions like, choosing venues that are accessible to people with mobility and transportation challenges.
Actions like, paying attention to where we are advertising, what publications and media do we choose and what businesses do we post our flyers in. Are those locations being accessed by the people we want to feel included?
Are we choosing venues that allow for participants of all ages to join us?
What message are we sending based on who we choose to be up on stage, with a mic, getting the opportunity to share their thoughts and truth?
.
Being inclusive is not just about the words we put on our flyers, it’s about the whole process of planning, organizing and advertising.

I have one last word — Connection. This work we are doing for ourselves and each other is hard work. We can’t do it alone so we gather in groups. These groups usually form around similarities, that’s how we’re wired as humans. These groups can do a lot of good and there is no doubt that we need to gather with our peers at times to recharge and be seen. I believe we also need to reach outside of the comfort of those group and connect with others.

Imagine a strong network of people of all ages, all colors, all origins, all abilities uniting behind common goals, even if we don’t always agree on everything. How do we make that happen?

I think part of the answer is by making Connections with each other. Take a moment to look around I’m betting there are people here you haven’t met yet. I’m betting there are people here representing viewpoints and contexts you aren’t well versed in.
Are you up for a challenge?

Before you leave here today, make a connection with someone you don’t know, someone who can teach you something new.

Maybe you’re shy and that seems like a daunting task. So maybe the connection you can make today is eye contact and a smile.
Eye contact and a smile … that’s some powerful stuff right there, even if you don’t exchange a word.

I believe there is great power, even in that simple and brief connection. When I meet someone’s eyes, my humanity recognizes their humanity, and for a moment we are connected deeply, even if our contact is a few seconds of eye contact and a smile while passing each other on a sidewalk.

I invite you to make connections today and to consider what these words mean to you – Inclusion, Unity, Equality and Pride.

I sincerely hope you leave this event ready to take action. I know each of you can make a huge difference for all of us.

Thank you for your time.

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What I’ve been up to

I recently realized that it’s been quiet a while since I last posted, since October 2016. I’ve been busy working on what I consider my most ambitious writing project to date – a full length fiction novel.  I’ve got some very specific goals and in order to meet them, I needed to narrow my focus.  To that end, I’ve gone on a hiatus from actively updating this blog.  While on my hiatus, I’m considering whether I’ll come back, and if so, what I will do with this space. For the time being, I’m going to keep Butchtastic online and available.

I can’t guess at your emotions in reading this, dear reader.  You can certainly tell me via comment or email if you choose.  I want you to know that I’m excited about what the coming year has in store for me artistically.  This project, the one I’m putting my efforts into, it’s a lot of fun and engrossing and I am super excited every time I sit down to work on it.  I do have a recommendation for those of you who wish to have an ongoing source for fresh butch erotica – BD Swain.  There’s a writer to swoon over, for sure.  BD is a regular on eLust and on any list of top sex bloggers in recent years, and will be for years to come.  I haven’t met BD yet, but I know that when I do, I will enjoy that meeting.  It’s going to happen.  Please make BD Swain’s blog a regular part of your internet routine.

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Quick direct message to those who have left comments on other people’s blogs asking about me:    Your concern is touching, however I am curious as to why I’ve not seen your questions here, or in my email inbox.  Leaving messages elsewhere and getting impatient at the lack of result is a bit like standing on someone’s door step and demanding they get a message to someone living several streets away, and getting huffy and pissed when that person closes the door on your face.  It’s just not efficient or polite.  As always, you can ask any question you want of me.  Remember that I reserve the right to answer or not answer – asking a question does not entitle anyone to an answer.  Even though this is the internet, people tend to respond best when we act the way we would when meeting someone in person.

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Celebrating 8 Years of Butchtastic

On October 6th, my blog turned 8.  Eight years of blogging about sex, gender, relationships, parenting, and whatever else comes bubbling to the surface.  Throughout those years and all those posts (1,148 total), I’ve posted some pretty vulnerable stuff, digging into the heart of relationship troubles, gender identity and depression.  This post is from that first month in October of 2008 and touches on vulnerability (The Fear of Being Important to Someone):

The other night, I said something that I didn’t fully understand at the time.  Do you ever do that?  Have the words come out before you really know what you’re saying, or why?  I was responding to something said to me, “That scares me.”

“What do you mean, what scares you?”

“Um, it scares me to be important to people.”

I couldn’t explain it at the time, and luckily wasn’t pressed to, but I’ve been thinking about it today trying to figure out what I meant.

Why does it scare me to be important to someone else?  Being important to someone tends to imply responsibility and expectations.  Not that I want to be a loner, not at all.  I love the people in my life, I want to be needed, that makes me feel good and gives my life much of its purpose.  I guess my problem is that I worry.  I worry about not being able to live up to the expectations people have of me.  I worry sometimes that I won’t be able to maintain relationships to the level I, and they, have come to expect.

Sometimes I want to run away, hide, to ‘turtle’ until my batteries are recharged, until I feel like I can manage all the expectations in my life again.  I’ve worked hard to be where I am, to have a family, a career, a very nice life but sometimes I want to run away from it.  That’s all kinds of fucked up, I suppose, but that’s how I feel sometimes.

I guess I probably sound ungrateful.  You might not have times like this yourself, where your accomplishments and the things you have actually feel like burdens.  Maybe I sound like a whiner, maybe I am.  What I know is that when I’m feeling this way, it’s frustrating and I get angry at myself.  I know I have a good life, I know it’s inconsiderate and ungrateful to feel this way, but this is my truth.  Sometimes I want to be anonymous, I want to make choices and do things and act in ways that I can’t anymore.  Because I have responsibilities, because people depend on me, because I’ve gotten what I wanted in life.

I’m ambitious and driven to do more and challenge myself.  I want to maintain and create new friendships and close relationships.  So this pattern continues and I’ll be here again, thrashing around like a hormonal teenager who doesn’t want to buckle down and do her homework or take out the trash.   It’ll happen and I’ll get over it and I’ll move on.

I don’t think it’s being important to people that scares me, exactly.  What’s really happening is that in these moments when I need to shirk my responsibilities to others, when I need to turtle and hide from the world, I’m afraid that I’ll hurt the people I love, the ones who are important to me.  I’m scared that they’ll need more than I can give them, and that I’ll try, but never quite fill the need, and in the end, I’ll lose them anyway.  I’m scared of not being enough.

I’ve been non-monogamous for over nine years now and I’ve learned a lot. I’ve learned about relationships, certainly, but I think I’ve learned at least as much about myself.  I’ve learned about the rewards of vulnerability, about how to be open and honest and scared but not withdrawing.  I’ve become much more aware of the way I react under a lot of different situations and even better, how to communicate with my partners about my reactions.

Evoe reposted a blog talking about poly and trust and consent that really resonates with me.  In any kind of relationship, we should be there by choice, we should be actively consenting to all that the relationship entails.  Well, I guess we can’t choose our family, but otherwise, we’re in a position to choose.  I find it liberating and empowering to acknowledge that every time my partner and I have sex, we are actively consenting. I know that we are together by choice and that choice is actively given and not taken for granted.

There are still times when I feel overwhelmed by the responsibilities of being in relationships, of creating a situation where I might mess up and fail my partner in some way.  I don’t feel it as strongly now as I did in the post above, and a lot of that is because I have many years of experience now.  That experience has taught me that when engaged in an honest, vulnerable relationship that is consenting and respectful, it’s OK to make mistakes, it’s OK to not always be your best self. Showing up and being present is key, accepting both your partner and yourself for where you are in that moment is essential.  I am very blessed both in the relationships I have now and in the ones that I have had, for all they have taught me.

Nine years of poly and eight years of blogging…. and still so much to do and learn.

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Unpacking Privilege: Some Things I’ve Learned as a Trans Man

You’ve probably heard the term ‘privilege’ used to describe an advantage some people have over others.  I actually prefer the word ‘advantage’ because I think it accurately describes the impact of privilege, which is generally what we are looking at as social activists and allies.

I’ve posted about privilege before, but like an infinitely big onion, there always seems to be a new layer to peel back and more insights to examine.

There are advantages I have always had as a white person, as a person with a particular kind of education, and as a person who grew up in a stable home, with healthy and abundant food.  More recently, I have become the recipient of advantages due to masculinity, and then to being perceived as male.  And with my male passing privilege, and a lack of obvious stereotypical signs of queerness, people often assume I am straight.

Straight, white men are at the top of the privilege pile in this country. By virtue of how I am perceived by the outside world, I am one of those guys.  I didn’t ask for it, additional advantage was not the goal of my transition, but I have it regardless.  Trying to deny it on the basis of who I know myself to be would be disingenuous and hurtful to those who do not receive those advantages for equally unearned reasons.

I bring this up because in a recent thread on Facebook, someone I perceive to be a white male was trying to argue a point about not writing people off because of their choice of who to vote for.  Specifically, someone had posted that they weren’t going to respect people choices if they chose to vote in a way that endangered them, their families and loved ones.  The specific subject was Trump, but this applies to many candidates and measures. The poster further said that those who crossed the line would be written off, excommunicated.

A counter point brought by the man was that if your response to oppressive comments and actions was always to build walls and shut people out, there was no way to open a dialogue and possibly change minds. He argued against self-segregation and further asserted that if he wanted to be part of a better future, his duty as a citizen was to engage people he disagreed with.

On the one hand, this makes sense and other the other hand this assertion chock full of privilege.

I agree that someone needs to listen to and engage in people with opposing viewpoints.  Much can be learned and sometimes that learning is mutual and potentially this discourse helps to change minds for the better.  It is also true that not everyone can engage in that discourse without doing harm to themselves. So I nominate the guy who is white and straight and full of privilege to be the one who steps forward to engage in dialogue.

Here’s an analogy to illustrate my point:  let’s say you and some other people are in a firefight.  The other side is heavily armed and your group is hunkered down behind cover while bullets spray the area.  Within your group, you’re having a discussion about what to do about your situation.  You advocate advancing toward the other side to listen to their viewpoint and share yours.  The rest of your group looks at you in horror and flatly refuses to move from behind the cover.  You don’t understand why, after all, how will the fight ever stop if you can’t engage them in a conversation.  Meanwhile the bullets are punching holes all around you.  Finally, someone in the group points out what has been obvious to them but that you’ve overlooked:  you’re dressed in head-to-toe Kevlar and are virtually bullet-proof.  You can afford to stand up and walk toward the opposition without concern about your bodily safety.  The others in your group don’t have that advantage, they’re all in regular clothing and some have been hit by bullets in previous fights and are struggling with PTSD.

Privilege is having bullet-proof clothing in a firefight.  Privilege is having a shield that others don’t have.  Privilege comes in the form of advantages you have that you take for granted and don’t even realize other people don’t have.  Allyship is about leveraging your privilege in a way that helps those who have less advantages without further oppressing them. If your allyship includes making assumptions about what others can do based on your own capabilities, you are not being an ally, you are part of the problem.

The Kevlar analogy is just one way to communicate this concept.  Some people respond to sports metaphors.  If you are in a position of trying to bridge the gap of understanding about privilege, I think it’s useful to find out what that person’s interests are and design your metaphor accordingly.

I have come to this place where I am someone who does attempt to bridge the gap, though there are times when I will close ranks and refuse contact with opposing views for my own emotional safety.  I may look like a straight white guy, but inside I still bear the scars of being shit on by society. Sometimes you just have to pull back into your shell for safety.

Regardless of my past, my transition has resulted in me gaining a layer of protection and advantage.  It has also moved some of my social activism from that of a member of an oppressed group to that of an ally.  This element of social transition has been a difficult one.  I’ve spent most of my life dealing with shit because I was a recognizably queer woman, and later as a butch queer woman.  I added my stories about experiencing oppression through homophobia and misogyny to the chorus of others.  I was part of the group, I was recognized and welcomed into those circles and my opinion and ideas mattered.

Now, I’m the guy with the Kevlar suit.  Even though I can still remember how it feels to be disrespected because of my sex and taking abuse because of my sexual orientation, my reality has changed. It has changed not because my past has been erased or my experiences have less validity, but because of external perception.  That’s all it takes. It doesn’t matter that I didn’t ask for it.  No one asks for oppression, and the privileged don’t need to ask for their advantages.  The reality of privilege and oppression is that each is determined by other people based on what they see and perceive.

I have the Kevlar now, but I didn’t always.  That perspective allows me to speak from my lived experience about oppression and disadvantage. As I continue to unpack my privilege, I recognize more and more the assumptions I make from my position of advantage and recognize those assumptions in others.  I can enter men’s spaces and areas of privilege and that means I have a platform from which to educate.  Increasingly, that’s the form that my social activism is taking.

 

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Thank You for the Comments

Several people have taken the time to leave comments for me lately and I super-appreciate each of you.  For those of you who are loving my Daddy/girl stories, I wanted to give you a little taste of what I’m working on, and ask you a question.

“Daddy?” she asked.

We’d been watching TV together in a very non-kinky way after eating dinner.  Speaking that single word brought my whole body to attention.

“Yes, sweet girl?” I answered.

“I have an idea for a scene.” She continued when I nodded.  “I want to seduce Daddy. You’ll be reluctant and I’ll bring you over to the dark side.”

I chuckled, even that short description created a preview in my mind that was very compelling.  “Oh you will, will you? Should I resist very much?  How hard should I make it for you?”

 

Now, the question… for those of you who have done Daddy/girl play, have you ever flipped things like this and seduced Daddy?  If you have and you don’t mind sharing, I’d love to hear about the experience.

And now, back to writing.

 

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Working on a New Story

I’m working on a new Daddy/girl story… are you excited?

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Smart, Vulnerable Posts on my Partner’s Blog

Red has been doing some deep thinking lately about gender and sex. You should check it out:

Never Say Never: More Gender Stuff

#realtalk #IPEEWHENISQUIRT

This latter one is particularly vulnerable… and this is what I think:  If you temporarily lose control of your bodily functions when having sex, YOU’RE DOING IT RIGHT!  No one has a right to shame you for what your body produces.  Along with unpacking privilege and disabling racism and misogyny  and fat shaming, I think dismantling the norm of shaming sexual practices is important work.  Shame is the root cause of a lot of problems in our culture.  Are you with me in committing to that work?

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Reading is Sexy

10288756_823035587730388_3287626445466034200_n Read something. A book, a magazine, the back of the cereal box, the newspaper, that post your friends are all reposting, the blog  you’re so behind on, the erotic stories that turn you on, the childhood favorite you’ve already read a million times, the book you borrowed from a friend and should get back to them, the instructions on how to do something crafty or arty, the voter’s pamphlet, the HR policies of the new company or agency you’re getting at a job at to make sure they do right by LGBTQ people, the posters on the walls of your favorite social gathering place, the stories people of color write about living under racism, the stories indigenous people write about living on a continent they had rights to before invaders came and made them second or third class citizens, read about history, read about the rise of fascism in Europe and the rise of communism and the rise of democracy and how any political system can be perverted by greedy people who already have the most privilege but want more, read about people in different countries, from different states, from different classes, with different histories and contexts and expectations and biases and assumptions, read.  FUCKING READ IT ALL.

Reading is smart.  Read to children, your own or others. Read to show them it’s fun, to show them reading is meaningful, to animate stories for them, to create worlds and characters for them, read to show them the world as it exists and the worlds that could exist.

And after you read, think.  Think about how there are no new stories and yet people keep writing, think about how history repeats itself, think about your privilege, think about the assumptions you make and the ways your thinking is biased by privilege you have the most trouble seeing, think about how to unpack it, think about how to acknowledge that your perspective and assumptions do not apply universally across the world or the universe. Think about the fact that we are more alike than we are different, we all are born and breathe and consume and shit and fowl our nests one way or another.

Think, read, think, read, think, repeat.  Sit still and think.  Watch the clouds and think.  Watch people and think.  Feel the blood in your veins and the breath in your chest and think. Think about the fact that all feelings are valid.  Think about meeting people where they are.  Think about what you’ve read and how it has opened your mind and your heart and see if it doesn’t enable you to meet people where they are.  Look people in the eyes when you speak to them.  Connect as one living solidity of stardust to another.

Think, read, breathe, connect.  Repeat.

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Almost Butchtastic’s Blogaversary – Time to Pay the Hosting Bills and Celebrate

On October 6th, I will celebrate the finish of my 8th year of blogging here and the start of my ninth.  Not surprisingly, during the first of October, my bill for hosting this blog will also be due.  I’m hoping some of you can help me with that.

My Patreon account has one subscriber so far, and I will be using that money to go toward my hosting expense.  I’ve also got money from the two anthologies I was published in, and those three contributions together will get me almost there, but I’m still short.   For those of you who are new to my blog and have recently discovered my Daddy/girl stories, this is a great way to help me keep those stories available and add more.

There are two ways you can contribute – through Patreon and through PayPal.

(If you contribute through PayPal, make sure to enter a note saying that the contribution is for Butchtastic).

Whether or not you can contribute to the cause, I appreciate you reading and I LOVE COMMENTS FROM FANS!  Thank you for being a part of my 8 year journey.

And, since you are reading this and interested in keeping this blog around, what should I do for my blogaversary?  I’m going to be thinking about special Patreon-only content for the event and also something for all readers.  What should I do?  Do you have ideas?

 

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