Drumming Amazon

Drumming Amazon
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Big Dyke from SF Dyke March

Big Dyke from SF Dyke March

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Lesbian short by Catherine Crouch, "The Gendercator"

I finally got a chance to watch this infamous film(by many trans standards) "The Gendercator", which got censored from the San Francisco Gay/Lesbian Film Festival 'Frameline', after it had been accepted. Certain members of the trans community sent 130 identical emails to Frameline, and they gave into the pressure. What about the Dyke and Butch Dyke community who desparately wanted to see the film?

After seeing it, I just wish it was a bit longer, developed the character a bit better, and was acted, shot and plotted a bit better, as well as lit with better cinematography than what Catherine Crouch offered up in those infamous 15 minutes, NEVERTHELESS, she got across the struggle many of us Female Identified Butch Dykes are facing these days. I'm not one much for the display of the stoner days, which I certainly participated in from the late '70's onwards till I got clean and sober in 1990, but such is the times of the film she is displaying.

The Butch she chooses to play the main character in her flannel as she wakes up in the hospital, is really adorable. She keeps stating she loves the 'sisterhood', and enjoys being female as all others around her cannot accept her for who she is, and that she must transition to survive in the future culture. This is about the size of it these days, as I see so many young Butch/boyish types making these very same choices, in a culture far more conservative than in the heyday of the '70's where feminism was burgeoning and our lesbian cultures were being built in an out loud and proud manner, and our lesbian institutions coming fully into place in the '80's. All that has been tattered and slowly eroded away as our lesbian businesses, from Osento hottubs, Artemis Cafe, The Brick Hut, The BayBrick, Amelias, Ollie's, The Driftwood, Old Wives Tales Books, Woman Crafts West, A Woman's Place, Mama Bears, Boaedecia's Books and even the gutting of the gay bookstore 'A Different Light', have all gone by the wayside. So many of our Lesbian institutions, refuges for our culture, our voices, mini Lesbian community centers, our Dyke Female oasises, all gone.

It has been replaced by LGBT/Queer/Genderqueer/Gay Male institutions that no longer reflect Lesbian sensibilities or a strong Lesbian voice, including that of Female Identified, Female Centered Butches. The talk is of surgery, hormones, transitioning, gender rights, and trans workshops, organizations, groups. Most women's/lesbian groups in San Francisco are for 'women and trans', or 'past, present and future females', completely diluting Lesbian and Dyke consciousness and our bio female proud to be female centered ways.....there is so much pressure on Butches and young boyish/androgynous/butch potential dyke types to transition, take hormones, genderqueer or consider themselves something male instead, to make that choice, that female=femme or something very soft, and butch=he, hy, hym, something male. Yes, a dualistic thinking.

Here's a quote from an article about the film, with Catherine Crouch herself:
"Jennifer Curtis: What motivated you to make The Gendercator?

Catherine Crouch: While we once believed that transsexuality was a relatively rare medical condition of gender dysphoria that is unbearable for a person, in the last six years I have seen a sudden increase in the number of young women who opt to take testosterone or undergo voluntary mastectomies. Why is this happening now? What has changed?
If we situate this in terms of the larger culture's misogyny, it seems to be a rejection of the female part of the masculine female. Why does a woman do this? Most often, the reasons given are: to avoid harassment, rape and ridicule as a gender variant ( i.e: butch or androgynous ) . It seems to me that what is also going on, but has not been explicitly addressed, is the desire to avoid being perceived by the world at large as female, and/or to avoid the label of lesbian. We should also acknowledge that it has become a trend among some young people who formerly identified, or would be considered by the lesbian community, as butch lesbians. Why can't we talk about this?"*

Yes, WHY CAN'T WE TALK ABOUT THIS? Why have we effectively been silenced? This affects us Butch Dykes most intimately, and YET we can't talk about our fears, our sadness, our grief at so many young Butch sisters going under the knife, because they can't accept themselves as both masculine and female.....or Butch/boyish/androgynous not fitting into feminine roles and female. That there seems to be no power in the female anymore and that feminism is dead. Why is it not o.k. to be percieved instead as a different kind of female, including our dykeness? Have we failed, or has the backlash against feminism, radical lesbianism, and the new carving out of womyn's roles, potentials and possibilities been so strong against us, that the only way our youth can reconcile their womon loving desires, and their tomboyishness, their rejection of socially constructed feminine roles, is to become 'male'?

This is an important film for all Lesbians, Dykes and Butches to see, whether you agree with it's premise or not. It is indeed thought provoking. And then the narcissism evidenced by the masculinized FTM's who brag about their surgeries and show off the results of their newly acquired 'manhood'. Then wrestle each other in a macho way, fitting into the male/female dualism that the main soft butch character defies as she resists becoming 'male', still proud of her femaleness, and craving her Dyke Sisterhood!

Also, Catherine Crouch herself identifies as a Butch, and several of her films have to do with being Butch/tomboy and not 'fitting in'. You can get on her website and see for yourself, order the film on DVD, along with 3 others, 2 out of the other 3 I liked, especially "Pretty Ladies", horny diverse Butch characters who are friends craving companions, and "One Small Step" about a young tomboy who falls in love with her girl neighbor and wants to marry her...I found all 3 of these films, to be thoughtprovoking and affirming, as a Dyke, a Butch, and as a Lesbian and growing up as a hardcore tomboy myself!

Check out: www.catherinecrouch.com
There are also articles of commentary on The Gendercator. Check 'em all out!
-In Butch DykeAmazon Sisterhood,
*Windy City Times

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Female Identified Butches trying to organize

It has been a hard journey the past year to bring Female Identified Butches together. We know who we are. I have already gone through two groups, both which will shortly become/have become defunct partly because the group leaders have not allowed input and democratic process to take place, or even basic feminism/egalitarianism between the womyn. One had a very clear focus but almost too narrow, and expounded upon it without allowing others to really have input, it was a monologue. But at least she has a vision of what she wants the group to be, and in her mind, heart and spirit she truly is a Female Centered Female Identified Butch who is troubled by all her peers genderqueering, taking on the use of male pronouns, identifying with men, or actually wanting to become one by taking hormones or having surgeries.

The other, is a failed FTM, if not worse, an interloper, a traitor, one who wants to harness what little space we have left as Female Identified Butches, who wants to convert us over to the Genderqueer/FTM cause, or at least make as few waves as possible, by actively silencing our voices. She does not represent us. She is NOT us...in fact just a few short years ago she proudly announced at a monthly women's organization meeting I was in that she just had surgery to remove her breasts, and pulled her shirt up to show it off to all in the room....it sickened me, because I knew another Dyke in this same community who was having fundraisers because both of her breasts had been removed due to cancer, and was having trouble with money for all the surgeries and procedures.

My partner and I also followed said individual above at Gay Pride, we didn't know it was her, with 'Butch' proudly on her back, with her shirt off....cuz we love to flirt with other Butches, and when she turned around, she was flatchested, the same individual who proudly announced the removal of breasts...and NOW, fastforward several years later, she wants to lead a Female Identified Butch group under the rubric of 'Butch Voices' a conference supposedly for Butch Lesbians that took place in Oakland, California in August of 2009, and it was completely led by FTM's and Genderqueers. There was only ONE Female Identified Butch workshop, led by said individual above, who had her breasts cut off, an FTM, an infiltrator. It is why I didn't attend the workshop till the tail end. I felt crestfallen when somebody not of our community, somebody who has chosen not to keep her body integrity, her femaleness in tact, not because of serious disease like cancer, but because she no longer wanted to be female, sporting all the genderqueer dress, appearance, scratchy hormone induced FTM voice, and appearance, wanting to represent those VERY BUTCHES who don't want any of that?

Those very Butches who we are constantly told we're a 'dying breed'? Those Butches who are Dykes, Dyke loving Dykes, Womyn Loving Womyn, who refuse hormones, surgeries, male pronouns and male identities being imposed on us? Who had our workshops for Female Identified Butches refused, and turned down by 'Butch Voices', but they have their patsy take over and now 'represent' us? Because we are the DykeAmazons simply too potent to be controlled by them, or to kowtow to their agenda, that we gotta be spoonfed that an FTM, a Genderqueer is as much a Butch as we are? While they run away from essentially what makes a Butch a Butch, is that she is a WOMAN, a DYKE who loves other WOMYN, whether they're Butch, Femme or Androgynous....she has a herstory that is rich, that has resisted men, and male power in the bedroom, and as much as possible in her life. Where she has fought for women, protected them, worked on empowering them, and in honoring both their and her own female body, and Lesbionic Dyke Desires.........so we are to kowtow to them, and accept a stand in who has not lived our reality, in fact rejected it, to 'lead' a group that represents us, and then tell us that now any Butch can be part of the group, any individual who counters who we are at our essence may come, the very individuals that have coopted our identities, who have convinced our young women that transition is the way to freedom from the problems of the Butch Dyke Female position, or even the Female position, that liberation comes at the end of an injection, a surgery or a pill? And that if we imitate maleness, it may rub off on us(at least in our minds) that we might get the same rights men do. Is this right? Not..it's called cooptation. And it has been done to colonized groups over and over again who have fallen for the patsies, the interlopers, the fakers, to sell their lands, their spiritualities, their beings, themselves, and their very souls, like the Native Americans, the Blacks, the Jews, and the radical Dykes.

And on top of that, that the group won't be free, it won't be democratic, or consensus or feminist oriented, it will be under the dominion of the very conference that shut out our voices in the first place, the falsely named 'Butch Voices'. This is my blog for today, my first blog...but I have many more to go on this subject of Female Identified Butches, who we are, and who we are not....but there will be other DyketoDyke topics as well! Women's spirituality, where does it fit for Dykes, and especially where does it fit for Butches? What are our roles in it, and what do we bring to our Female Centered Spirituality? How do we expand our role in that movement, without feeling invisible? We'll talk about all forms of Butch oppression, liberation, empowerment, sex, and sex magic! Yeah! Other topics like Goddess worship/Paganism/Wicca, recovery (clean and sober), creating community for ourselves, or reclaiming community for us Dykes and Butch Dykes...Michigan Womyn's Music Festival, and other Festivals I attend, womyn's space, womyn's land, womyn's and dyke empowerment, and defending those spaces....womyn's and especially Dyke and Amazon Mysteries/Rites of Passage/Ritual....friendships and more....Dyke Identified and centered Leathersex, maybe even Science Fiction, being in the Trades as a Dyke and as a Butch....and our struggles together overall as Dykes, Womyn, Butches or Femmes....taking back our Dyke community one womon, one space, one idea at a time...till we are a force to be reckoned with, not bartered, not coopted, not sold out! We are NOT a dying breed!!!!!