Suburban Butch Dad Report, 7/2/2010

I’m writing and posting this early because I’m going to be out of town and I’m not very good at posting while I’m visiting Roxy.  This week has been just as busy as they all are these days, and I haven’t had many moments to just sit and anticipate the visit.  If you don’t mind, I’m gonna do that right now.. hang on

mmmmm ….

mmmhmmmm ….

….

… …

OK, thank you for waiting.  Wow, if I let myself, if I clear out the other stuff crowding my mind, the butterflies make themselves known.  And, yes, it’s true, I still get butterflies about seeing her.  She’s been working her butt off all week getting a space ready for me/us and I certainly appreciate all her hard work.  It’s a very sweet love nest she’s created.  I also know that I’d be excited to meet her and stay in a cardboard box, if that’s all we had.  The excitement is about her and it’s building to a crescendo.

This isn’t one of those ‘lost weekends’ where we can pretend we have no family or obligations.  We’ll be with her family most of the time, so moments alone will be rare and precious.  Since I’ll be there on the Fourth of July, there’s the promise of fireworks as well as Lilith Fair concert on Monday (the impetus for this visit).  Heart is part of the line-up and I’m a long time fan of Ann and Nancy.   It’ll be wonderful to share all that excellent music with Roxy.

My wife and daughters are also heading out of town this weekend, heading for the eastern part of the state to visit her sister and do Fourth of July stuff.  They’ll be leaving tonight, after dinner.  My wife likes driving at night, plus the girls will probably sleep through most of the drive, making it easier on her.  There will be singing for part of the trip, however, most likely to Pink CDs if my ElderSpawn has any say in the matter.  I’m looking forward to my trip and my visit with Roxy, but I know I’ll also miss my family.

If all goes according to plan, I’ll get through my departure checkpoint at SFO without too much drama.   It does give me a bit of pause, thinking about my name being on an airport security supervisor’s list, however.   Will the agent checking my ID and boarding pass look twice at me and then ask me to step aside while they get the supervisor?  I’m a bit nervous about it, but determined to stay calm and pay attention.  I want to be able to offer feedback to Mister A about the whole process, even remember names if I can.

Here’s a quote I lifted from Joe Leblanc’s Facebook,

“When we define ourselves, when I define myself, the place in which I am like you and the place in which I am not like you, I’m not excluding you from the joining — I’m broadening the joining.” – Audre Lorde

I really like this.  It’s right along the lines of things I’ve said about claiming my genderqueer butch identity:  it’s about me being me, not about me dictating who you should be.  It also reminds me of a recent post on Transfaggotry, where Faggot Boi talks about coming out as trans to his butch  mentor.  The result is a not super positive response from the mentor, and both of them feel somewhat abandoned and alienated by the experience.   Faggot Boi feels liberated by opening up, because while coming out is scary, it also feels really good to have less secrets.   Butch Mentor opens up as well, but with some defensive bitterness that must have stung on the receiving end.  One of the things that stands out for me is that Butch Mentor felt betrayed because she saw a butch leaving the tribe and becoming non-butch.  She felt a loss, for herself and the tribe, rather than the potential gain for Faggot Boi.  I’m not proud to say that I once had a similar attitude.  During the early 90s, it seemed that every week we heard about another butch dyke who was pursuing transition.  We questioned their motives, the authenticity of those transitions, wondering if they weren’t just being trendy or taking some ‘easy way out’.. yeah, please don’t throw rotten fruit at me, I feel bad enough about my former attitude.  This is what Butch Mentor expressed, as well, the concern that FTM’s were just not trying hard enough to be butch women.  *sigh* Seeing it in print, from someone else’s virtual mouth, brought my old beliefs back to me, and I took some time to sit and think about those biases.  Why do some of us react strongly  butches choosing to transition?  Why do we take it personally?  When I go back and sit in that previous version of myself, I can remember feeling a sense of abandonment and also some envy.  A choice to transition is evidence that a person has come to a conclusion about who they truly are, and to be willing to act on that knowledge.  At that point in my life, I was just coming out of a 10 year relationship and doing a lot of rediscovery and exploration of myself, trying to find myself.  I was trying to find my place in the community as a newly minted single person but I didn’t have the kind of confidence my butch-to-trans friends seemed to have.  I wondered if I was missing some vital clue, was I just afraid to look at the possibility that I might be trans too?

But I didn’t see trans as an option for myself, instead I saw friends who seemed to be leaving my community.  If they left their butchness behind and became men, it also seemed like they were leaving behind those of us who chose to remain butch.  They were removing their contributions from our group experience, removing their support.  Like Faggot Boi, I now have a different, more mixed and flexible view about the queer community, but at that time, in that place, the community was still made up of lots of subgroups.  You were in one or the other, there wasn’t much cross-over.  Now, I see myself as transgender, genderqueer and butch, rather than having to choose one over the other.  I’ve learned and grown a lot in the last 17 years.

I understand now that making choices on the road to becoming oneself isn’t a statement of criticism about a person who chooses differently. My path isn’t better than your path, it’s just a different path.

Another quote, this one from Ivan Coyote’s latest Loose End column, ‘Words Worth” on Xtra:

“We shall not cease from exploration,
And the end of all our exploring,
Will be to arrive where we started,
And know the place for the first time.” – TS Eliot

For me, this is what it’s all about.  My life is a journey, an exploration and when I discover something new, I want to share.  My sharing isn’t intended to take away from what someone else is discovering, I want to hear what they have to share as well.  When we share with each other, without agenda, without a motive beyond the joy of discovery, we each have the opportunity to learn from each other.

I hope you all enjoy your weekend.  I’m gonna be busy away from the computer most of the time and you’ll hear about it once I get back.  If you are into fireworks, stay safe and keep everyone around you safe as well.

See y’all later.

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5 Responses to Suburban Butch Dad Report, 7/2/2010

  1. Roxy says:

    🙂 I’ve been working my tail off because you’re worth it, lover, and I love getting ready for you. 🙂 I know you’ll miss your family, and I’m so thankful you’re willing to come spend time with mine.

    As to identity and change, I think everyone goes through a less tolerant period when they’re more apt to criticize rather than celebrate – I know I certainly did. Rejection is hard and humans seem especially prone to finding it where there is none. The trick is learning to appreciate the differences as a beautiful part of life.

    I know you’re working hard, baby, and I know it’s going to be wonderful. Yes, I will miss my family and I also miss you. I miss you with a big aching heart. I’m happy to have the opportunity to fly down and spend time with you and your family. I love you guys and I know we’re going to have a great time. Thank you for loving me so much, baby. I can’t wait to see you, kiss you, wrap you in my arms.

  2. Good luck with airport security. And enjoy your weekend to the fullest (like I know you will)!!!!

  3. Sexy says:

    very sweet indeed! Hope you enjoy the weekend with Roxy’s family and that your family has a nice time too.

    Love the fireworks…

  4. Katie B says:

    I have been reading your blog for awhile now, but I haven’t commented until now. I absolutely love it! Your honesty and humour come across in every post. To be honest with you, I have had difficulty getting my mind around polyamory. Unlike GLBT issues, I am, for the most part, personally unfamiliar with polyamory. That is to say that while I have lots of friends and family who are gay, lesbian, bi, and trans and very out; I don’t know any “out” poly people (I am guessing that I must know some and just not know it).

    One of the things I keep sensing from your blog is that there seems to be some sadness inherent in the arrangement you have i.e you go to visit Roxy you miss your family; when Roxy is with your family, you cannot be open about your relationship. I would love a post addressing this, I don’t know what to call it, “constant lacking”. Perhaps this is just my perception, but I am honestly desperate to learn more.

    Thanks so much,
    Katie

    I appreciate you taking the time to comment, I love comments.

    In response to your question, yes, I always miss my loved ones when I’m not with them. I miss Roxy when I’m away from her and I miss my family when I’m away from them. In terms of grades of sadness, the emotions around missing my family are tempered by the fact that I’m with them most of the time. The sadness and ache of missing Roxy is much deeper and harder to take. Our physical time together is brief and infrequent. It’s intense and saturated with experiences and love. We don’t have much of it, so we make the most of each visit.

    For both of us, there are situations where we can be open about our relationship, and times when we are not. That’s out of respect for our families and our spouses. It’s challenging and difficult at times, but coming out to our children, extended families and friends poses challenges as well and we do not take them lightly.

    Perhaps I will write a post, as you suggest. For now, I hope this response answers some of your questions. And yes, it is something like ‘constant lacking’ or, perhaps, as kd lang put it, ‘constant craving’. Thank you for reading and don’t be shy about making comments.

  5. Faggot Boi says:

    I really appreciate your critical reflections here and on my site on your prior reactions to butches transitioning. I have seen some beautiful friendships between butches and trans men, so I know if can happen. My transsexual friend considers his butch friend one of his “man” friends. He calls her for advice shopping for men’s clothes. They definitely share camaraderie. But I can see how fear, defensiveness, and border policing could make it difficult to believe that this could be the case.

    It sounds cliche, but two of my closest friends are trans guys. I’ve matured in my understanding of gender and identity. I used to have that fear that people leaving their butch dyke identities behind took something away from me. I had a lot to learn. Thank you for acknowledging my growth and progress.

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