Archive for May, 2008
Lots of great comments on Tuesday’s post about my own frustrations with the discussions on this site – I’m replying to the comments in the thread, too, with more information, so read the comments if you’d like to know more about my thoughts around this issue. You can also subscribe to the Sugarbutch Chronicles RSS comments feed (but that’s really just for the hardcore fans).
I’d like to say two quick things about it, then I’ll move on to more random miscellany:
1. Thank you, thank you, thank you. That post was not meant as a request for praise, of course, it was just an update on where I’m at and what I’ve been going through – but I appreciate the praise, and I appreciate the clarifications about what this site and these discussions have meant for you.
2. I’ve mentioned that I’m implimenting some changes in how this site works, but don’t worry, I’m not planning on changing it drastically. If you have particular suggestions about what you’d love to see more of, what your favorite parts have been, what you hate, I’d love to hear that as I go forward. Really, though, the biggest change will probably not be on the published-side of things at all – it’ll just be in my own psychic process toward the site, and hopefully, in my own boundaries about frustration and internalizing criticism.
2a. I’d particularly like to grow the SSU category here on Sugarbutch – “Sinclair Sexsmith University,” the custom sex, gender, and relationships “program” with 101-level articles and information. I’m not sure exactly how to begin building that, but I’m working on it.
A little bit more housekeeping, random things to mention & file under colophon:
I just found out that sugarbutch has a livejournal syndication. If you use LJ, you can add Sugarbutch as a friend & keep up with me that way.
bzzzgrrrrl emailed me to let me know she’d nominated Sugarbutch for a BlogHer Hero award. She says, “You won’t get it, I’m afraid. The official rules prohibit material that is “inappropriate, indecent, obscene,” etc., and who knows what that means, but I bet Sugarbutch Chronicles qualifies.” Ah, she’s probably right – but I’m still really flattered, thank you for the nomination.
She sent me a very flattering, humbling blurb that she included with her nomination, and I’m reprinting it here with my thanks & gratitude:
Sugarbutch Chronicles changes lives — mine, at least. Sinclair writes frankly, openly, and playfully about gender. My generation of feminists just Didn’t Talk Like That: Transfolk made us uncomfortable. People who deliberately declared themselves “butch” or “femme” but weren’t trans made us more uncomfortable. Sinclair is as sexy as she is smart, and she opens dialogue for and between her readers that inspire us all. Since reading her, I’ve had better sex, better conversations, better jumping-off points for challenging my own ideas. SBC isn’t the only blog about queer theory or gender theory, but it’s the best I’ve found.
I’m attempting not to blush, and instead practicing my “thank you”s with all this praise recently – instead of deflecting I’m just trying to accept. I’m really glad that some – any – of my own thought processes, approaches, and philosophies are useful to others, and I’m extremely grateful to all the comments, emails, questions, and folks out there with blogs & books & further writings who are exploring these topics.
It’s a nice community we’ve got goin’ on here. My gender conversations are a lot less lonely than it used to be, thank you for that.
“This is my fiancé Lauren. She is the sweetest piece of boy I’ve ever had.
And the best friend, too.” – Desaray
I haven’t been posting much of substance here since the heated discussion On Misperceiving Someone as Femme or Butch and the follow up post. This lack of posts has been intentional. I’ve been frustrated, dissuaded.
I feel like every time I attempt to go a little farther, get a little deeper into the nuances of these discussions on gender identities and gender self-labeling, I get pulled back to square one by a barrage of emails and comments saying, “But wait! I’m offended! What about this other thing? What about people who don’t identify? What about me? What about my expeirence?”
And I want to have individual communications with everybody, to go into each detail of what they’re asking and what I’m saying, to break down the moments where I’m being misperceived, to communicate in open discussions about these fascinating issues from various perspectives.
But I can’t – mostly, I just don’t have time.
This is one of the challenges of a blog format of writing, actually: it’s not linear, it’s not one chapter building on another, it is be more of a jump-in-anytime type of format. Unfortunately, with a subject as completely personal, as totally misperceived, as dangerously controversial, and as heated as gender identity in lesbian communities, it’s very difficult to jump right in without adequate explanation as to where I am coming from in my philosophies and explorations.
I’m working on an Official Disclaimer for my discussions of gender, to put some foundations in place to which I will point. There’s so much I want to say about it, and I barely even know where to start. I have began to write this post about why that discussion frustrated me ten times, and I still get overwhelmed and my head gets chaotic when I begin to sit down to write it.
Right now, I want to make a few things in particular abundantly clear:
I do not seek to encourage others to identify as butch or femme. It is not my intention to impose butch/femme gender identities on anyone else, ever.
I seek to break down what it means to be “butch” or “femme.” I seek to apply the deconstruction of feminist methods of sexism, gender roles, and gender restrictions to lesbian gender identities, such as “butch” and “femme.”
I seek to broaden our ranges of experiences, with the underlying goal of encouraging people to be more comfortable in themselves, to come more fully alive, Yes, it’s a lofty goal. But I aim for it, and no less.
If it ever seems otherwise, if it seems like I am saying that someone should identify as butch/femme, or that it’s not okay to reject gender roles and identities, or anything along the lines of gender policing or gender enforcing or gender proselytizing, please do ask me about it. I will clarify, as well as I can.
But please keep in mind that I never operate from that space. Please consider giving me the benefit of the doubt, and come from a place of kindness – and perhaps not defensiveness – when you ask me to clarify things I’ve written.
The very foundation of my beliefs about gender is that our binary compulsive gender system is limiting to our full range of human experiences. I believe we should self-identify, should dress and act how we wish, how we most feel like ourselves, how we are most comfortable and most celebrated.
And, of course, all of these writings are my own personal experiences, observations, and studies of butch/femme and variations of gender expression. It was a long hard road through the gender police checkpoints to get where I am now; I learned a lot about myself, about queer theory, postmodern theory, and feminist theory on the way to where I’m at, and I seek to share my stories in hopes that they can be helpful.
The opening reception for Pink& Bent: Art of Queer Women is tomorrow night here in New York City. One of the contributing photographers, Sophia Wallce, sent me a few of the shots that will be in her show. I love them all, but this one might be my favorite – the colors in the background are so stunning.
I first saw Sophia’s work because of her project called Bois and Dykes, which has some beautiful photographs of female masculinity shot in New York City. It was fascinating to look through this project of hers; the photos are just so familiar. She even shot my weekly happy hour watering hole and the barber I see about twice a month.
Here’s the information about the exhibit.
Pink& Bent: Art of Queer Women
Curatated by Pilar Gallego & Cora Lambert
Leslie/Lohman Gay Art Foundation presents
Pink & Bent, an exhibition of international artwork by queer women.
Exhibit runs May 21-June 28th
The Leslie/Lohman Gallery
26 Wooster Street
New York, NY 10013
(between Canal & Grand-closer to Grand)
Hours: 12-6pm, Tues-Sat, closed Sat-Sun
Opening reception: Tuesday, May 20, 6-8pm
Panel discussion: Thursday, May 29, 6:30-8pm
Women in the Arts Speak Out
$7 suggested donation at the door
Just got this from Felice Newman, author of the Whole Lesbian Sex Book (which is fantastic, by the way). She’s conducting interviews for her next book and is seeking lesbian, bi, and queer women couples who have been together for 5+ years to talk about your sex life.
If this is you, do it! We need more voices talking about our honest stories out there. Contact information and more detail follows.
This video, Tough Guise: Violence, Media, & the Crisis in Masculinity narrated by Jackson Katz, was something I first watched in college that significantly changed the ways I viewed masculinity and men.
I’m continuously thinking about masculinity, what it means, how we learn it, who enforces it, and this film was a key aspect to where I’ve come to in my understanding.
This is a small trailer version of the entire film. The whole thing may be kinda hard to hunt down, I’m not sure how to get hold of a copy aside from through the Media Education Foundation, but they’re priced for colleges and high schools, not individuals. Perhaps your library has it?
“This is me (with the glasses) and my girlfriend K.
drinking extra dirty martinis at Dances of Vice in New York City.” – Mirabai