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Big Dyke from SF Dyke March

Big Dyke from SF Dyke March

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Note to Radical Lesbian Feminists who reject Butch identity as valid

I am also a Butch lesbian who has all her life resisted feminisation. I prefer relating to other Butch Lesbians, who understand both my oppression as a Butch Dyke, and share it, but also have similar sensibilities and passions...this aspect of Lesbian sexuality is rarely addressed, often denied and ignored in favor of the whole Butch/Femme debate. Being a Butch is NOT just who I sexually relate to as a Dyke, but who I am inside. I can appreciate both Butches and Femmes, though my preference is for other Butches, my last relationship was with a Femme, my current relationship is with another Butch loving Butch.

It's NOT just about 'roles', it's about who I am inside. Along with Bev Jo and others, we are creating a Female Identified Butch Dyke group realtime for Butches resisting the pressure to transition, who honor and love their female bodies and other females, and for a place to talk about our issues and how we've basically had our Butch Dyke identity coopted by the trans movement. It is a safe place we hope to create exclusively for bio female Butch Lesbians who are Female identified.

For all the reasons above, there are many Butches fearful of taking on the Feminist word, because it seems not to include us, or demonizes us in a way, like the individual one of you mentioned on the stairway. Her behavior was plain rude. Many other Butches would be more respectful, but Butches alone don't have a corner on rudeness. We don't want to be pushed further into the background either by other radical feminist dykes or by the trans community either which is actively coopting our identity and our young Butch women at an alarming rate. We are a different kind of female, and for me, in many ways I see Butches as Amazons, those who are in touch with their female power and pride and don't kowtow to men, having resisted femininity and feminisation much or all of our lives....


  1. Another great post! You know I'm not butch, but thank you VERY much!

    You reference the stairway-incident as described at redmegaera's. I was not happy about that comment and mildly perturbed that no one responded.

    Was that woman saying that the stairway-incident was REPRESENTATIVE of her other experiences with Butches? Or was she saying that the singular stairway-incident was enough to make her dislike ALL Butches FOREVER? Personally, I don't know of a single Butch who would support that kind of behavior. It's very MALE. Not Butch. Totally different.

    I'm also interested in whether you would describe Butchness as non-feminized OR as masculine? I realize that it depends very much on the person, but I think there is a distinction between women who are simply not feminine and those who are affirmatively Butch--which I characterize as female expressions of "masculinity." In other words, traditionally masculine traits-- separated from men-- embodied by female persons.

    I think this may get back to the validity of the Butch identity: can women be "naturally" "masculine"? I think Yes, but that's just my opinion. And I don't think it has to be understood as a ROLE-- it can just be a pre-conscious preference for particular types of things or behaviors. Many times the majority of these preferences will fall on one side of the Gender Divide or the other.

    I, for example, love Flamboyant Fluffy Foo-Foo and I value behavioral maternalism; therefore, I call myself "feminine." But it's not a Role I play. It's just what I Like. Many lesbian feminists would prefer A> if I did not describe the things I enjoy with the F word, and B> that I reject all "femininity" because it is inherently bad for women.

    Along the same lines, Lesbian Feminists may perceive "masculinity" the same way: they aren't willing to separate it from its conceptual origin, which alleges a natural connection between these SETS of things (masculinity/femininity) and biological sex. I reject the connection and believe we can Move Forward with the dis-embodied concepts.

  2. I get the impression that radical feminism splintered in the mid/late 1970s and 1980s. Andrea Dworkin et al., the forerunners of queer theory, celebrated androgyny and pansexuality and tried to escape from womonhood. Mary Daly, Janice Raymond, et al., pushing cultural feminism, denounced androgyny. And although butchness is not androgyny, many cultural feminists opposed butchness as much as androgyny. Perhaps some were trying to create space for the expression of their own tweener-dyke identities.

    As long as queer theory erases the [various] differences between femaleness and maleness [regardless of the spectrum, many if not most people are one or the other, not in-between], queer theory is doesn't look like suitable soil for the expression of butch female identity.

    As long as cultural feminism mistakes butchness for androgyny, it looks equally unsuitable.

    But it's not my fight. If I ever was butch, I don't think I can be butch.

  3. Butchness is NOT androgyny, that I agree with, they're somewhat different. K.D. Lang is decidely Butch, Ellen is Androgynous, or on the soft Butch/Androgynous line.

    I do differentiate between masculinity and femininity as ways of expressing ourselves(all the gay boys who are the ice skaters in the Olympics and their coaches are WAY MORE feminine than me, like Jonny Weir, but even Evan Lysechek who took gold, but they're STILL men, nonetheless)and male and female. I dont' believe in transition, I do believe in androgyny. If there are those who don't want to be read as either, or right there on the borderline, and truly are genderfluid, so be it...it's not my role to stop them. However, if they feel they have to 'fit in' to one role or another, and they're way too feminine a male to survive and must transition, or way too masculine a female(beyond Butch in my opinion, because Butch is a DYKE identity)and want to be a dude...then I'd much rather support their androgyny, their genderfluidity,whatever, than their having to take hormones and do surgeries.

    BUT, and this is the big BUT for me...the body parts are still the body parts, and I have no interest in penises of any type, or those who have had theirs chopped off, cuz no matter how 'feminine' on the surface they may appear, and an extremely small percentage of MTF's 'pass' as female anyway, I can spot 'em a mile away, they are STILL MALE. They think male, they act male, and they treat dykes and women as males do, while coopting our spaces.

    On the other hand, the FTM's I've been around, many are so male identified, and NOT ALL are from the Butch Dyke community, in fact many would be considered more 'androgynous' 'soft' 'tweeners' and maybe not even Lesbian, but rather bisexual/pansexual/faghags, that they take on a male identity and male attitudes once on the testosterone. There are those that become so male that they're absolutely toxic to be around, and others, the more queeny types, often who are also having sex with gay men, where I can feel the female underneath them. It is very confusing times indeed.

    Nonetheless, whatever anyone else does, I STILL have a right to my boundaries and my Butch Dyke identity, as my Sister Butches do, who DON'T want to transition, ONLY want to be sexual with other womyn/dykes, and are proud Butches who are resisting that pressure to transition that is being put upon some of us so they can feel better about their body mutilations.

    There IS a huge difference between bio females and bio males no matter what the stripe, and only in bio-female Lesbian centered space do I feel the most alive and the most whole. WBW space is absolutely sacred to me from the sexual to the spiritual level and on every level inbetween...emotional, psychological, psychic....and more....

    Anyway, read my post as response to you on Butchness, Marjaewin.....and thanks Punk for writing in too!I made it a separate post so I wouldn't have to cut it down.
    -In Sisterhood,