Sinclair’s symposium #1: on butch identity

Not long ago, Sinclair Sexsmith announced on Sugarbutch Chronicles that she was launching a new, as yet unnamed, project centering around masculine of center gender identities… from her mission statement:

to promote a greater understanding of masculine of center gender identities, expressions, and presentations, through encouraging: 1. visibility, because we feel alone; 2. solidarity, because there are many of us out there, but we don’t always communicate with each other; and 3. an elevation of the discussion, because we have a long history and lineage to explore and we don’t have to reinvent the wheel.
In that post, she invited writers and bloggers to participate in a symposium on butch identity.  Each participant was asked to post a blog entry answering the following:
What is butch? How do you define butch? What do you love about it? What does it mean to you?

Here’s my contribution:

My feelings about the word ‘butch’ have changed over the years.  When I was a high school queer, butch was an identity I chose because the only alternative at that time was ‘femme’, and I knew I wasn’t one of those.  Over the years, my understanding of myself and knowledge of available words to use in describing myself has expanded, but ‘butch’ is still part of my story.  Now when I talk about identity, I say that my sexuality is queer, my gender is genderqueer and my presentation is butch.  I’ve also managed to separate my butch identity from the need for a femme companion.   In the past, I saw butch-femme as a logical combination, one fitting and enabling the definition of the other.  Now I understand that identities can and do stand by themselves.

I love the word butch, it looks and feels exactly the way it should: tough, masculine, a little hard.  For me, ‘butch’ evokes images of blue jeans and leather jackets, sturdy footwear and strong hands.  ’Butch’ is strong, handsome, capable, ready to help, there to back up a friend or a stranger in need.  And while I realize it’s not true for all who embrace the term, for me, butch is all the great things about being a woman, wrapped in the great things about being a man.  My butchness is about chivalry, bravery, taking care of those I love while appreciating the strength of my partners and knowing that they are also strong enough to take care of me.  My butchness despises sexism and misogyny, recognizing that I sometimes am guilty of those faults, and always looking for ways to eliminate them.  My butchness embraces my masculine and feminine sides, knowing they contribute to a whole that is strong and sensitive, nurturing and protective, playful and serious.

 

 

This content is published under the Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported license.

This entry was posted in butches, ButchLab, community and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to Sinclair’s symposium #1: on butch identity

  1. Roxy says:

    Your butchness is damn sexy, baby, and it fires me up and thrills me every time. I’ve learned so much from talking to you about identity, and I’ve loved watching you change and grow as your courage grew and you reached out to others. You’ve been a trail-blazer your whole life, carving out an identity that is the best of all worlds – strong and loving, brave and sensitive, moving towards integrity, a moment when you can be on the outside the person you are on the inside.

    It’s a privilege to be by your side, lover. Thank you for being the guy of my dreams.

    thank you. thank you for being witness to my growth and being a kind of miracle grow for my identity. I know I’ve progressed faster having you to talk to, getting your feedback, receiving your love and patience. You’ve been very generous and patient while I’ve convulsed through some pretty ugly growing phases, some ugly and unquestioned sexism and misogyny. Thank you — K

  2. ulla says:

    Hey thanks for commenting on my symposium blog entry, it’s always cool to get the chance to write about butch. Do you contribute to butch 360 at canihelpyousir.com too? Can’t remember lol.

    Ulla, I haven’t participated in the 360 yet. Have a lot of writing assignments outstanding and trying not to over extend myself, but I’ve enjoyed reading them, I think it’s a great series — K

  3. Holden says:

    It’s always interesting to read what others think and feel about their butchness. Butch wasn’t in my vocabulary when I was young (even though it was me) so it’s good to see how your perspective has expanded. Well said.

    I agree. We all have our own way of understanding and expressing butchness. I do think that we should see identity as something that grows and changes with us. I enjoyed your perspective as well — K

  4. Kaitlin says:

    I love reading how different (and similar) butch is to each person.

    Thanks for sharing :)

    You’re welcome. I’m looking forward to Sinclair’s launch so we can see all the contributions to the symposium — K

  5. G says:

    I’m late getting to this (my job is really interfering with my blogging and commenting), but I really enjoyed it. Like everyone else who has commented here, I really like getting diverse takes on what this identity means to each of us.

  6. Pingback: Symposium #1: What is Butch? | The Butch Lab

  7. Pingback: Symposium #1: What is Butch? | Butch Lab « This Side of Changed

  8. Pingback: Butch Symposium Number One Made Of Words | Made Of Words

  9. Pingback: Butch Lab Symposium #1 – What is Butch? « Uncommon Curiosity

  10. Ali Oh says:

    “butch is all the great things about being a woman, wrapped in the great things about being a man”

    I love this. My genderqueer partner just teared up a tad reading it.

    (It also reminds me of things wrapped in bacon, for some reason. Tasty on both the outside and the inside.)

    Ok, first of all, I love bacon, did you know that? So saying that my post reminds you of bacon is a very high compliment. Thank you.

    I’m glad it struck a chord with your partner, I think that’s what any of us are trying to do when we write and express ourselves. It’s good to be heard, to be seen and recognized. When I can express something that makes a connection with someone else, that’s when I feel the most successful — K

  11. Pingback: Butchtastic » Blog Archive » Butchlab: Sexsmith’s new experiment in butch identity and community

  12. Pingback: Butch Lab Symposium#1 | Packing Vocals – The Holdall

  13. J-Rob says:

    “For me, ‘butch’ evokes images of blue jeans and leather jackets, sturdy footwear and strong hands. ’Butch’ is strong, handsome, capable, ready to help, there to back up a friend or a stranger in need.”

    Spot on!

    Thanks! So are you going to watch Butchlab.com for the next Symposium question and participate? you totally should, and I should get your blog on my Big List o’ Butch/Trans/Genderqueer Blogs — K

  14. jolie says:

    “I love the word butch, it looks and feels exactly the way it should: tough, masculine, a little hard. For me, ‘butch’ evokes images of blue jeans and leather jackets, sturdy footwear and strong hands. ’Butch’ is strong, handsome, capable, ready to help, there to back up a friend or a stranger in need.”

    This. All of this. Love it.

    Thanks for turning me on to the Symposium, you and Roxy both. These are the kinds of conversations that keep me tied in to this little corner of the blogosphere.

  15. Pingback: Butch Symposium #1 Update | The Musings of a Lesbian Writer

  16. Pingback: butch, identity & a little catchup-ketchup « lesbian neurotica

  17. Pasupatidasi says:

    Lovely kyle!
    so enjoyed reading your succinct post.
    Now to subscribe so as not to miss one.

  18. Wendi says:

    “…butch is all the great things about being a woman, wrapped in the great things about being a man.”

    Exactly.

    Thanks, W, that quote seems to be one of the more popular ones from my post — K

  19. Pingback: Symposium #1: What is Butch? : Sugarbutch Chronicles

  20. Just stumbled across this. Thanks. I was beginning to feel more misunderstood than i did 28 years ago when I first figured out that being Butch was okay.

    That’s awesome, Lu. Glad to provide something that helps you feel understood… there are many, many ways to be butch. We owe it to ourselves to be who ever we are in the most authentic way we can – K

Leave a Reply