On Removing Trans Men from the Top Hot Butches List

June 25, 2009  |  essays

So here’s the thing about the internet: the critical feedback is immediate, and publications are, unlike print, not static. Things do not have to stay the same.

I have decided to remove trans men from the list of Top Hot Butches, and I sincerely apologize to all who felt insulted by their inclusion. I did not want to hurt anyone’s feelings, and I understand how it was hurtful, despite my intentions.

I did expect some disagreement about exactly this, but I did not expect this level of discourse, discussion, openness, and productivity in the response. Look at Feministing, and also at Sugarbutch threads here & here, and the comments on the THB site itself. I also thought I understood my own reasons for the inclusion of trans men, and that my reasoning could hold up against criticism, but in the past three days, I have felt that it does not, and that many of the critiques are right.

The past two days I’ve been uncertain how exactly I would respond to the feedback, but reading all the emails, comments, and blog posts and discussions that have been going on. The ‘click’ moment for me came Tuesday night: someone wrote in a comment, “would you include trans women on a list of femme men?” And immediately my gut said no. No, of course not. If the list included femme women, too, sure – but not if the list was only femme men. And that got my mind churning: is it actually different? How? Why do I think so? It feels different, but for, I realized, very personal reasons.

For example, I’m not inside of that community – I do have friends who are femme men and trans women, and I don’t feel as though I understand the connection (or disconnection) between those groups. Some trans women probably would include themselves on a list of femme men, but I don’t really know. But: I do know many trans men. I am part of some trans communities. Trans men have been some of the greatest influences on my own gender, masculinity, my own butchness, my personal history, and chivalry, and have been some of my best friends. Those friendships are very important to me. Beyond that, the alliance of butches and trans men feels important to me, in a community way. And of course some trans men do identify as butch.

But. I have to recognize that the trans men I know and have known were in some way aligned with queer communities – otherwise they wouldn’t have chosen me as a friend – and there are many transmen who have done a lot of extremely hard and painful work separating themselves from the butch identity. I do not want to disrespect that, or let the limitation of my personal knowledge and experience define inclusion or exclusion for others. Clearly I need to broaden my scope a bit, I will keep working on that.

The main critique of this list has been that trans men are not butches. Yes, of course, I know that, thoroughly. One of the ways I anticipated addressing this issue was that I clearly differentiated between butches and trans men in the copy of the Top Hot Butches site: I know trans men are men and not butches, but this is a list of butches and trans men, not only exclusively butches. What if I had a list of “favorite birds and cats” – no one would say “hey, you can’t include cats on that list, they aren’t birds!” But of course that is not an accurate equivalent: cats don’t spend significant time differentiating themselves from birds. I think a better equivalent is more like, “I’m making a Top Assholes List, and you’re on it. But don’t worry, I made a note and said you aren’t an asshole.” That would still be insulting to most (unless you self-identify as an asshole, I guess), and I think that is closer to the level of insult here.

This removal is NOT an attempt to separate trans men or exclude them from queer/butch space – in fact, I feared not including trans men on the list in the first place would do exactly that. I feel so strongly that trans men and butches (and other masculine-identified-people of all sorts of labels) have many similarities in the ways we move through the world, and in our contributions to and participation within queer communities. I always want my work and projects to be building those alliances, not tearing them down – which is why I wanted trans men included in the first place. But if folks are saying no, this is not a way to build an alliance with me, of course I will listen to that.

So, clearly I have a lot more thinking to do about my own limited perspective on this, and the ways that my projects can be helpful and useful to transmasculinities in general.

Meanwhile, though: I have removed 13 of the trans men from the list. I wasn’t sure how a few of the people I removed identified, so I have been double checking, and will likely put them back up when I am clear. Others, I am contacting to ask permission of their inclusion, because some of them I know do have a relationship with the word “butch” and with queer communities in general and suspect they would not mind being included.

If you have suggestions for people to include on the list, now is the time to do it! The updated list will go up ASAP, so get ‘em in to me quick.

Requirements:

  1. Butch, androgynous, genderqueer, transmasculine, stud, AG, masculine-presenting women or butch identified trans men (broadly defined)
  2. Done something public in the past year (this is the 2009 list, not the “of all time” list)
  3. Related to queer communities in some way
  4. 350px wide high-quality photograph
  5. Some level of public and recognized accomplishment(s)

I would love suggestions for more butch trans women to include; I’ve been asking, and looking around, and I did include #84 Riki Wilchins, but surely there must be more than just her. I’m just not familiar with them. It’s so hard to include people you don’t know about, you know? Impossible, in fact. And who I know is completely related to my own standpoint. It’s a huge challenge to get a range of diversity on a list like this.

Here’s the thing about gender projects: they are tricky, and it is, despite the best of intentions, easy to step in it. And the mistakes are often sites of great learning and growth, and I sincerely thank everyone who has taken the time to email me, comment, discuss this with your communities and friends, and for being open and engaging about this topic. I am sorry to have hurt feelings over this, I can’t say that enough.

That’s the thing about growth & mistakes: sometimes it’s the response that matters, even more than the messing up itself. I am doing the best I can to listen, and make changes. Thank you for all the comments, support and critiques.

 

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61 Comments


  1. The conversations and processing that led up to this post, and this post itself, represent to me the best of what our communities can achieve on the internet.

    I know it was personally rough on you to see this project that you spent so much time and energy on get critiqued in such an intense way, but I'm glad you listened to the people who took issue with your approach and that you responded well and thoroughly. It was a big and bold project to try and put together a definitive list – but it was much bolder to digest the criticism and make the needed changes. Cheers to you.

  2. thanks for the clarifications. you make some good points. on the homepage of the list, you said you removed transmen, etc, and then singled out kael t block by name, saying he was removed for "other reasons as well." just wondering what the deal is with that? i don't know him or anything – just curious why he was mentioned by name.

  3. Sin,

    Again you have publicly (and eloquently) presented something personal and you put it out there for all of us to see, to read, to disect, to discuss, to criticize, to admire, to attack, and most importantly, to learn from.

    You make people think.

    You and your work have turned thousands and thousands of random individuals into community through websites, theory, smut, photos, stories, experience, discussions and your brave and deeply personal self, that you always include in everything you do. You are braver than me and braver than most of us and I admire you as much as I love you.

    Thank you for creating THB, for putting it out there, for taking this heat, another bullet, if you will, for get us up in arms, getting us connected, talking, learning, reevaluating, discussing, reclaiming, defining, redefining, questioning and for bringing this conversation back into OUR community. Again. Like you do.

    Thanks buddy,

    jesse james

  4. I'm really impressed by the way you handled this. It's all too easy to react defensively to criticism and make things worse.

    One note though: I've been posting about this on my blog, and one of my friends who is a trans guy pointed out that people really ought to <a>start putting the space in those words. As he said, "We don't say deafman, gayman, blackman. I am a man who is trans, not some other kind of thing called a 'transman'." It was an "ah-ha, of course" moment for me.

    [Aha! You are so right, and in my editing of this post today I noticed that I used both, and picked one to make it consistent. I'm going to edit the post again now. - ss ]

  5. A perfectly eloquent response. I was wondering why some comments were against the transmen being included, and you pin-pointed it perfectly when you said "someone wrote in a comment, “would you include transwomen on a list of femme men?” And immediately my gut said no"

    That made me think, and that is exactly why I frequent your site daily and love everything you do- it ALWAYS makes me think.

    I am so insanely thankful that you made this list. These are the kind of woman I fall in love with, these are the kinds of people I form the strongest bonds of friendship with. It is insanity that so few of these handsome butches weren't included in the Ellen top 100! It's a shame you had to take it upon yourself to see that they got the attention they deserved, but I am SO glad you did! Thank you.

  6. I really admire how you've handled this. My best to you.

  7. so well put. such a thoughtful and thought-provoking post.

    and thank you for all you are doing.

  8. I co-created a site called Butch-Femme.com about a decade ago when the gender revolution was in a very different place. Early on, some of the members organized a petition asking me to exclude Transmen and make the site exclusive only to Butches and Femmes. I know that's hard to believe because Butch-Femme.com bridged so many different elements of the genderqueer communities over the years as it grew, and that kind of sentiment would not be popular in the current climate. All of our liberties are bound together, and I knew it wasn't for me to decide who belongs and who doesn't. I'm seeing a real divide concerning our transbrothers from some bloggers around the Butch Voices conference coming up in Oakland this August too. TOLERANCE is the key to all our freedoms, and it has to start with all of us. My next project is going to focus exactly on that.

    Tricky place you're in, Sinclair. Hang in there.

  9. Interesting that this issue kicked up so much dust. There ARE Butch gay men, Butch straight men (I've met more than a few straight male mechanics that consider themselves very butch and are quite proud of their self-ID) and, of course, Butch Dykes. I probably left out a few more but you get the idea. It's not necessarily dissing a trans man's ID to be included on a list of hot Butches if he also ID's that way. Just some food for thought…

  10. people spend so much time and effort getting hung up on definitions, and labels, it's really exhausting. i wish the queer community would just stop tripping already. just be yourself and don't expect everyone to think the same way you do, and don't waste other people's time on these minute analytical conversations that are so introspective. one can't even keep up! just live your life in a peaceful way and be done with it. i am so tired of this identification dialogue. who fucking cares already. queer people–all of them–need to focus their energy on more important things, and stop being so self-centered. it's not all about you.

  11. Sinclair, your bravery, openness and analytical ability really inspires me. Thanks for doing what you do. x

  12. I recommend these people, if they're willing to be on the list:

    –Sarah Dopp because she identifies as androgynous and queer, and Genderfork has really flourished in the past months.

    Photo: http://www.sarahdopp.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/

    –Dharma Kelleher, an author who is a "butch dyke transwoman" (as read here: http://dharmashanti.blogspot.com/2009/02/letting-…. She's a member of the Advice Panel for thelesbianlifestyle.com.

    Photo found here: http://www.dharmakelleher.com/about.html

    –Melissa Li, the "rockin' lesbian musician"* from Good Asian Drivers (they just released a new album)

    *as expressed here: http://www.goodasiandrivers.com/category/blog/

    Photos:
    http://viewmorepics.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseacthttp://viewmorepics.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseact

  13. Thank you, SS. I like the way you are handling this. Tho I would still love to see some hot queer cismen who do masculinity in different ways. *sigh*

  14. i love this project. i love seeing so many hot butches of colour too. so well done!

    also, good on you for acknowledging that you made a mistake or two and for listening to the well reasoned arguments that others put forward, as well as intelligently responding yourself.

    smart exchanges like this give me hope for our communities–that we can create, debate, and learn.

  15. all that said (and said well)
    but still, it is YOUR list
    of people i presume
    evoke a kindred response in you
    and not THEIR list
    maybe they can go make their own list
    and people it however they choose?

  16. Hi Sinclair,

    I'm one of the commenters from that thread at Feministing, and probably one of the louder critical voices on the thread (trans people often feel erased or unheard in queer or feminist debates, so we're sometimes pretty loud in anticipation of that). I wanted to acknowledge this post, though, because I am really impressed by how you've listened and addressed the concerns: While I can't speak for anyone but myself, reading this post makes it clear you heard and sincerely thought about the things people said. Thank you.

    Thanks, too, for talking about getting more trans women on the list. One of my frustrations as a trans woman who also identifies as a dyke and is very invested in my gender ambiguity, is how it has often felt like only female-assigned genderqueer or androgynous people are ever discussed as valuable or noteworthy. I know I exist, and I know other trans women like me exist, and I even know communities where it is extremely commonplace for cis dykes to have hooked up with us, dated us, made out with us, or thought we were hot.

    But then I know other communities where I would overlap into and then overhear the things queer cis women sometimes say about trans women. It was like getting punched in the stomach. The straw man narratives and hate never cease to catch me off-guard. If they can't even envision a trans woman like me they certainly wouldn't make space in their community for that.

    So, considering all this, I am very excited to see some more trans women who challenge gender just like any of other people on the list. I will put the word out, and I can already think of a few people who would be awesome.

    One final thing, another great frustration for me has been how trans women especially have often been framed as trying to ruin everyone's fun by bringing up issues around trans identities. I think a list of hot butch women is a GREAT idea. I will stand my ground as a trans woman when I see that is important – and the discussion at Feministing was important, I think – but really, I would much rather just be a dyke and hang out with my friends and meet hot people. I am probably not that different than you all when it comes down to it!

    Thanks again,

    gudbuytjane

  17. One of your personal qualities that I admire, that I believe gives you tremendous strength as a writer and analyst, is your ability to synthesize theory, physiology, and emotion, both personal and political. This post shows it in spades!!!

    I think you nailed it when you mentioned how the transgender/genderqueer and transsexual communities don't intersect – members from both usually are aware of each other, may be acquaintances, may think that because of that (and the big wide umbrella of "T" in the "LGBT" alphabet-soup) that they know the other, but they don't truly *know* each other in any real sense. I think one of the reasons for this is because not only are the issues, politics, language, and internal landscapes of the two groups different from each other, in a lot of ways they actually *conflict.* It's so easy to dismiss the other person or group when you bump up against that fact; it's easy to think that the mere *existence* of that conflict negates or erases *you.* Thank you for working through this conflict and helping to bring all these issues to light.

    I also appreciate how personally difficult this situation has been for you. At a particularly successful diversity workshop in which I participated, a straight-white-old-male corporate attorney in his process of learning about the concept of privilege ended up "taking one for the team," IYKWIM. Later he said, "it's great that we got a 'teaching moment.' But it sucks to BE the 'teaching moment.'" /:~

    ~ hb33 ~

  18. Good Call.

    Perfection – not making mistakes – is impossible. The best anyone can do is to correct them as soon and as completely as possible. That's all that can reasonably be asked for.

    You've done that. My thanks, and deserved Kudos for doing it.

  19. Thank you very much for updating your list, and for the thoughtful post. As a trans guy I'm really happy to read this, and hope you get lots of hot photos!

  20. Having read your update carefully, I had some thoughts.

    I don’t think it’s okay to for anyone to proclaim that Trans Men are NOT Butches; anymore that I think it’s okay to say that they ARE Butches. The only people who can answer this question are the indivuals themselves; and many of us identify as more than one thing. As a community, I think we all should simply avoid assuming or speaking for others about how they identify their gender. If it's important for some reason for you to know, then simply ask. Then, if you do ask, do not set it in stone, be sure to check back again because language changes, feelings change, how we see ourselves changes, sometimes day to day.

    I wonder if these hard discussions would have taken place if the people posted on the list were asked to describe their gender before posting them in the top 100. It probably would have made the final 100 different and more "accurate" and with little room for others to debate how others feel about their gender.

    AND.. I LOVE THIS PROJECT!

  21. Honeybee-

    I'm a genderqueer/transgender butch AND I'm transsexual. And I'm wondering wtf your talking about.

    Sugarbutch-

    "I feel so strongly that trans men and butches (and other masculine-identified-people of all sorts of labels) have many similarities in the ways we move through the world, and in our contributions to and participation within queer communities."

    theres a lot of men out there who would resent being labeled as masculine id'd just because of stereotypes based on their trans status.

    and I think a lot of that "contribution and participation" is a result of cis dykes being caught between feeling pressure to be "trans-inclusive" and their need to perpetuate misogyny against trans women.

  22. you are doing a wonderful job of handling a tricky debate ss

    Three suggestions of butches to add

    Helen sandler a novelist and chair of the uk based york lesbian arts festival

    Sarah waters uk novelist

    Jane c editor of uk lesbian magazine diva

    All very hot.

    Unfortunately i only have access to the internet via my phone at the moment so cant put links to pics but they should be easy to find via a searh engine xx

  23. your a very eloquent writer

  24. I agree with Tongue-Tied (of course!) and actually I was waiting for someone to be insulted by this post. Then you'd have to write another post just to adjust and appease those who are offended. I guess I just don't get it – I identify as femme but if someone were to call me butch, what difference would that make to me? It just seems as though the sensitivity level is way too high for a list that's called Top Hot Butches List.

  25. Greg: just a quick response, because your comment made me think. You say: "I identify as femme but if someone were to call me butch, what difference would that make to me?"

    In my opinion, the reason femmes might not be sensitive to being referred to as butch is because femme identity retains a helluva lot more privilege in our society than do either butch or trans identities. If someone refers to a femme as butch, it is (a) generally visibly untrue, and therefore just kind of an absurd statement, and (b) would not affect one's sense of identity and self in the same way someone who is trans and has had to work very hard to carve out a place for himself would be affected by being referred to as butch. Referring to a trans guy as "butch" does not read as absurd in the same way referring to a femme does. For that reason, it has the power to erase a trans person's identity – it can easily lead to "Oh, I get it, that's just a woman dressing up as a man," as opposed to the hard-fought battle to have people understand that no, THAT IS A MAN.

    Don't get me wrong – I think femmes are awesome and can do a lot of really wonderful, fun, transgressive things with gender and sexuality. But when it comes down to it, femmes (or the kind of femmes I think you are referring to) are walking through the world very visibly embodying a gender that conforms to their biology. Femmes do not have to carve out space in the same way trans people do – there isn't that same history there. So while it might not make a difference to you to be referred to as butch, I don't think it's quite fair to say that trans people are being overly-sensitive in this regard. If I call you butch, you lose nothing. If trans guys are labeled as butch, something vital, something important, has been lost, and I think that matters.

    (Disclaimer: I identify as neither butch nor femme nor trans, so please anyone feel free to call me out on any bullshit I may have just spouted, unintentional as it may have been.)

  26. Oooooo! Oooooo! Is it too late to nominate names? I nominate Tobi Hill-Meyer from "Doing It Ourselves: The Trans Woman Porn Project" …she's butch, hot, and fairly well known in sex-positive communities (she presented clips from her movie at the Toronto Feminist Porn Awards. http://www.handbasketproductions.com/video.htm). Here's some photos:
    http://www.handbasketproductions.com/images/mtf_uhttp://www.handbasketproductions.com/images/mtf_u

    Sorry if this shows up as a repeat. I tried to post this yesterday but it didn't go through for some reason. But i did want to also say thank you for sharing your process. Its really encouraging and uplifting to read.

  27. That was the exact response that I knew I'd receive.

  28. Greg a hug to you! and Pomegranate – I'm actually going to go and have my first alcoholic beverage in months after reading that. So many assumptions about femmes you have there….

  29. Pomegranate I'm astounded that you can claim so much knowledge about femmes while stating you do not identify as femme. Just a few points;

    Greg said "if someone were to call me butch, what difference would that make to me?" This is a personal statement (correct me if I'm wrong Greg) not a claim for all femmes which you seem to assume it is by your comment ""the reason femmes might not be sensitive to being referred to as butch"

    "femme identity retains a helluva lot more privilege in our society" Does it? I'd be interested to hear your arguments behind this statement. I don't witness or experience my (femme) wife having more privilege than me (butch by the way).

    "Femmes do not have to carve out space in the same way trans people do" Perhaps not in the same way but I believe femmes do indeed have to carve out a space and that it is not always an easy space to carve both within our own communities and society as a whole.

    I have no intention of undermining any of the experiences or fights faced by the trans community. But I do want to point out that in my opinion you have done to femmes exactly what you didn't want doing to the trans community.

    (Sinclair – you are doing a great job my friend)

  30. "That was the exact response that I knew I’d receive." haha then you should of thought of a good reply to it.

    its not about you being ok as being mis'id'd as butch its how would you feel if you were mis id'd as a man instead of a femme woman?

  31. as a girl who's spent most of her life being regularly miss-id'd as a boy – and years miss-id'd as a dyke, and miss-id'd as butch, and is regularly miss-id'd as straight (and, simultaneously, as not femme): i'm with greg. i just don't get it.

    i understand, politically and intellectually, the complaints about the original list. i think those considerations are very important (sinclair, i think those were handled very well, by the way).

    the part i don't get is the extreme personal offense at being mislabeled. i can't help but think that the proper response to that is to politely inform the person that that is, in fact, not how you prefer to be identified. then ze can politely refer to you the way you requested. maybe this penchant for polite discourse over outrage is just the southerner in me (although i'm often mistaken for being a midwesterner).

  32. estrobutch – I don't get the need for the haha. You must be young.

    I am misidentified by everyone and that includes my own community and gender so yeah, I'm ok if someone thinks I'm a man b/c what matters is that I know who I am. That is my point.

  33. greg: My apologies if I caused offense – that totally wasn't my intent, and I hope you're able to take my comments in the spirit in which they were intended (i.e. I'm just thinking aloud, and used your comment as a jumping-off point – in no way was I trying to call you out or jump all over you!)

    femme gender: Hence my disclaimer at the end – I'm working through these thoughts and ideas as I go. I love these conversations but it seems they're impossible to have without stepping on someone's toes. I'd love to hear your thoughts and wish you had said more in your comment. Not sure what to to say other than that, except I hope your drink was delicious. :)

    holden: I know it was greg's own personal statement, but it got me thinking, so I was extrapolating and speaking to a larger issue. I apologize, I tried to make that clear, but I suppose I didn't do a good job. My intent was not to say that every femme wouldn't have a problem being referred to as butch, but that clearly some wouldn't, and I was just sort of pondering aloud why that might be. Re: my statement that femmes are generally more privileged in society than transfolk – I can only say that that has been my experience (in being part of queer communities in both the south and the northeast, and in dating and being close friends with butches, femmes, and trans men). Sounds like my experience has been different than yours, which I'd be interested to hear more about. In my experience, the butch and trans people I've known have been frequently harassed and systematically discriminated against (particularly in housing and job markets). This was especially true when I lived in the south, but even in New England I've still seen it often. I've not had any femme friends experience this same sort of harassment and discrimination based on their gender identity/performance/expression/what have you. Which isn't to say it doesn't happen… but I can only speak from my experience here, which is what we're all doing.

    That said, based on the responses my comment generated, I realize now that framing my thoughts in terms of who may or may not have "more" privilege isn't a particularly productive way to think about it, because it makes it sound like a pissing contest. I realize that femmes have to carve out space for themselves – I realize they aren't typically read in ways they would like to be read, and that can lead to an erasure of their identity – I realize that the queer community isn't always a friendly space for them. My point was NOT that femmes don't have to carve out space for themselves. My point was that the way they carve out that space is DIFFERENT than the way trans people make room for themselves in the world – for femmes it has been (again, *in my experience*) more about making queer space, whereas for trans people I've understood it to be more about carving out a gendered (or non-gendered) space. And for that reason, a femme being mis-labeled in terms of their gender performance ("butch") is fundamentally different than a trans person being mis-labeled in that way. For femmes, it might be a personal issue; for trans people, it seems to be a much larger political issue, which would explain in part why people reacted the way they did to Sinclair's list.

    Anyway, I hope this isn't coming across as defensive – I really appreciate being called out and being made to think harder about the things I say and think and do. And if I'm still way off, please tell me!

  34. estrobutch:

    "I’m a genderqueer/transgender butch AND I’m transsexual. And I’m wondering wtf your talking about."

    Well, that kinda fits in with my point. My comments were about the areas of conflicting agendas that exist between the two (what I speak of as distinct) communities, that are not usually readily acknowledged by all individuals in those communities themselves. And those who reside staunchly in one camp or the other may have a very different viewpoint than those like yourself whose personal identities span the two. Just because you have one foot in each camp doesn't mean you necessarily have the perspective to see the details of the concerns that those who are firmly residing in one or the other have. Isn't it great that we've had this experience to be able to see so many sides from so many angles? ;~)

    ~ hb33 ~

  35. I'm someone who hardly ever comments on blogs outside of my usual stomping grounds, but I got over that the other day and apparently made the comment that clicked for you, and I just wanna say you're being a great example on taking criticism with grace, and stepping up to take action responsibly to fix it. that's not in large enough supply on the internet, soo thanks

  36. Greg, have you ever been consistently mis-id'd as a man? Just trying to get where your coming from.

    and whose in this threads "sensitivity level is way to high" or taking "extreme personal offense at being mislabeled" llike lady brett said?

  37. i would like to know who the guys are. i just found your site today. i'm always interested in new things, people, places. thanks for your hard work.

  38. I think leaving it as it was (as in retaining the word 'transmen' and asking permission before publishing photos should suffice. I, for one, see a difference between identifying as a man and indentifying as a transman. There is that whole genderqueer section between man and woman and for one group of transmen to shun exclusion at the expense of another group of transmen is unfair. It leaves us genderqueer trannies wandering the wastelands between gender identities, neither being man nor woman (or perhaps both).

    In short, it should be up to the individual as to whether they feel comfortable with inclusion or not and therefore only really concerns the person whos photo is about to be published.

    At the end of the day, who defines you?

  39. @ Robie:

    re: kael t block

    you can read this: http://writingtoknow.blogspot.com/2007/11/sexual-

    and make you own call. i don't want to blacklist the guy if he's innocent, but i don't feel very good about being skeptical about a potential assault survivor's testimony.

    i've requested clarification from the xxboys organization a number of times and have, as of yet, received no response.

    @ Sinclair:

    the transmen who criticized you so loudly do NOT speak for the entire trans-community. i understand that traditionally, there has been a strong association between 'butch' identities and 'lesbians' or 'women,' but you know what i say to that?

    fuck tradition!

    let's educate people! 'butch' and 'femme' and 'masculine' and 'feminine' are not gender-specific words! there are butch women and femme men and feminine transguys and masculine transgals and it's all wonderful! the whole point is to disassociate characteristics with assigned gender roles. that it's perfectly ok for people to wear dresses and people to wear suits, no matter what's between your legs.

    i believe your intentions were positive and not malicious, and as a transguy i choose not to take offense.

  40. If you want to call yourself a "trannie" be prepared to catch hell from the women whose blood's been spilt over that word.

    "It leaves us genderqueer trannies wandering the wastelands between gender identities, neither being man nor woman (or perhaps both)."

    well aren't you a little ball of drama. wtf are you talking about? isn't that the definition of genderqueer that your not a man or a woman? but wait thats a problem?

    and at first I thought you making a distinction between trans men – men who are trans and a non binary id "transmen" but now i'm not really sure. maybe you aren't either. but if you are trying to collapse men into a third gender because they are trans then fucking stop it. I mean don't you have more important things to do like perpetuate trans male fetishizing in dyke communities. oh wait…

  41. estrobutch, any chance you could tone down the aggression a little? It's good to read diverse opinions but not so good when they are so scathing towards others' views. We all are entitled to a voice surely?

  42. Ethan James, I don't know you at all but you seem like one cool cat. That is all.

  43. Estrobutch.. you know what? There's a whole world of diversity out there and yep.. even genderqueer trannies and if you have a problem with me defining myself then.. um.. tough. So shoot me for calling myself a tranny. I've had that with the whole queer identity too, although people are finally waking up to the fact that queer is an identity in its own right that embraces alot of things (tolerance being one).

    I was making a distinction between transmen (who wish to assimilate into binary gendered society) and transmen (who don't wish to assimilate into binary gendered society) and how in this instance, with regards to posting pictures, it's good to check in with the transman in question to ascertain which category he might wish to be placed and whether it is appropriate to include him in the project.

    And where the hell have you got this bullshit about fetishising transmales in dyke communities? You sound like you have a few personal issues that you might want to address. I really don't like wearing other peoples shit, especially strangers off teh interwebz, thankyou very much.

  44. You don't like wearing other people's shit? Funny cuz thats exactly what your doing calling yourself a tranny. A word that gets you points at the dyke bar and gets women gender policed at the door cuz they're trans. or made the butt of a joke or shot or beaten by assholes who think they're expendable.

    Your slumming it and the trans women who bleed over that word are wondering why you don't go back across the tracks.

    and binary id'd ppl generally don't like being thirdgendered by attaching their trans status to their gender–trans men not transmen.

  45. There has been a discussion on here about some of the following things:

    a) People on the list were contacted before being posted on this list?
    b) Do the people listed on TOPHOTBUTCHES.COM identify with the words used on this web site to describe them?
    c) Should Trans guys be included on a web site where the domain name utilizes the word ‘Butches’?
    d) Are Butch and Trans(gender) synonymous or interchangeable words? and;
    e) Are they going to make this list of hotties into a 2010 Calendar?

    Here are my thoughts on some of the discussion.

    First, let me say that I was not contacted about being on this list; but maybe others were, who knows? It doesn’t really bother me that I wasn’t contacted but I could completely understand if individuals were upset. But I haven’t seen them writing in about it.

    We all should know by now that it’s super simple to publish text and media with the current tools of technology. If you’re a public figure (which I reluctantly call myself) your name and image are more likely to be used for publishing; it kind of comes with the territory. I can imagine that there might be a few folks on the http://WWW.TOPHOTBUTCHES.COM list that would have liked the creator to reach out and mention that they were putting this list together and that they were going to be on it. So yeah, I realize that might feel uncomfortable to some, for sure.

    I’ve read the pages in the site where Sinclair, the developer, describes what s/he is trying to accomplish and none of it comes across as malicious – AT ALL!

    Second, I can’t imagine that very many of the “TOP HOT” people identify with the selected word ‘BUTCH’ in the domain name either; but again, when you read further into the web site, the there is a yet more great explanation by Sinclair about why the name “TOPHOTBUTCHES.COM”. I think Sinclair did an awesome job with the text.

    Here is Sinclair’s explanation about why the name:
    THE NAME: Top Hot Butches, I know, is a controversial thing to call this project. I bet very few of these people self-label as “butch.” I use the term here in the broadest sense – as an adjective descriptor, meaning an intentional display of masculinity. I am using it instead of another term – like androgynous, genderqueer, or transmasculine – because I, personally, want more butch reclamation and visiblity, because I think butch identity is more widely varied in range of expression and identity than is usually represented, because I think it is the most accessible and recognizable word representing some sort of female masculinity, because I want to encourage its reclamation and intentional display, because it is sharp and satisfying as a title, and because it is slightly controversial and will stir up interest. I mean absolutely no offense to anyone on this list, and purveyors of the list should know that the people on this list may not identify as butch – or as any of these terms – but they do present in a way that rejects compulsory femininity, and displays some sort of intentional masculinity, and that is what unites them all in this particular list.

    What Sinclair may have forgot to mention is: The broader definition given here goes well beyond the available characters in a single domain name. I believe the developer took a broad swipe at the domain name, not at a community. Plus, in hindsight, it may be more genius than controversial to have done this. Why? Look at the visibility and dialog it’s created!

    Does the domain name reflect how all of the people listed identify? No.

    If you were to read more into the web site’s content, do the words described deeper in the pages of the site better identify the people on this list? Yes.

    Does the full explanation on the web site cover everyone? No, how could it? Language is still being created to cover all the ways each of us feel about our gender and identities. Sinclair did an awesome job at trying to include everyone.

    I’d like to think of this web project more simply as an opportunity to give VOICE, VISIBILITY, and a *SEXY* VOTE (which is kind of gross coming from me being on the list and all) to an under exposed population of the LBGTQ community.

    Recognition of Butches, Masculine-Identified Female-Bodied, Androgynous, Genderqueer, Transmasculine, Studs, AGs, Dykes, Lesbians, Queers, and Transguys and all other folks (with more IDs than I’m capable of remembering here – I’m sorry for the ones I’ve overlooked), as HOT in Queer AND non-Queer culture. I feel like this kind of visibility is WAY FUCKING LONG OVERDUE.

    Should Trans folks be included on this list? First and foremost that is up to the author of the web site and how that person perceives her/his community. It’s their web site and can post whatever they like; others do not have to subscribe to it.

    If it were up to me OR if my input even mattered, I would have done exactly what Sinclair did. I’d say hell yeah Butches and Trans guys can SHARE THE SAME STAGE. However, no disresepct to Sinclair, it’s tough whats/he has gone through with all the feedbackl but I’d like to think that I would NOT have backed down to the critics and let them walk over me, my project and my intent.

    I think it’s divisive and shameful to have conversations about who belongs and who doesn’t, not to mention futile. It’s completely subjective about how YOU SEE YOUR GENDER AND WHERE YOU FIT INTO YOUR OWN COMMUNITY. Sinclair was showing us how s/he sees it. We don’t have to agree or disagree with it.

    The site’s intent got scewed with others long, arduous conversations in the comment sections of http://WWW.TOPHOTBUTCHES.COM site and other sites like http://WWW.FEMINISTING.COM about whether or not Trans folks should be included with Butches on a list of people who are hot?

    I want it to be clear that it doesn’t make or break my day if I’m on this list. This is not necessarily the kind of thing I aspire to; BUT ABSULUTELY YES, BUTCHES AND TRANS PEOPLE CAN AND SHOULD BE INCLUDED ON THE SAME HOT LIST!

    When it comes to whether or not Butches and Trans folks belong under an umbrella of hotness together, it makes me think of my what my friend Kim Pierce told me once a while back (and I couldn’t agree more with her message) and forgive me I’m paraphrasing here.. We are kindred, Butches and Trans guys share a lot of core feelings, history, language, and experiences. How we identify ourselves, our decisions and visible outcomes may vary, we are still family. I love Kim for saying this and chosing to build a bridge when others alienate their Trans siblings. Kim rocks!

    ANOTHER ARGUMENT WAS: ARE BUTCHES BEING CALLED TRANS AND ARE TRANS BEING CALLED BUTCHES INTERCHANGEABLY?

    This drives me FUCKING nuts when people try to say that people are doing this. Sinclair never stated this anywhere on the site, there is no text to support this notion that the words Butch and Trans are interchangeable. No one is doing that on this web site with the original content. It is the commenters who are the EXCEPTION on this site. THose are the people who were trying to draw that conclusion.

    IN GENERAL PEOPLE WHO TRY TO HAVE THAT ARGUMENT DRIVES ME NUTS TOO. I think anyone with half a brain KNOWS that these two words: BUTCHES and TRANS cannot be substituted for one another. No one is saying that they are the same thing, so go fucking argue that by yourself somewhere else, douchebags.

    I do think there are people out there who are intentionally trying to divide this corner of the Queer community, where Butches and Trans guys (who still identify as queer), reside. Maybe they are the same people who want to have the above argument. To that I say again, go argue that by yourself somewhere else. Butches and Trans guys are family, period.

    Then there are those who believe you must choose between the two identities and you cannot be both. To that idea I say: DON’T FUCKING TELL ME HOW I FEEL! And I’ll do the same for you. I am who I say I am, you don’t get to tell me that.

    But I think it’s really important to note that we all can identify as more than one thing, we do not have to choose. Butches CAN identify as Trans and the same in reverse, we are not limited to ONE ID PER CUSTOMER. There is no limit or shortage. Sure, they are not interchangeable but they certainly can coincide in the same individual’s identity. I am one of those people. I did not give up Butch to ID and trade it in for Trans, and I don’t have to. Who say? I fucking says, that’s who!

    Here is how I describe MY gender, how I see it: I was born female; there is no question that I understand this. I have kept the “F” on my license and birth certificate because for me, that is a biological fact. Plus if I ever have to go to jail, God forbid, I’m going to the girl jail! I believe that ‘female’ is a biological sex and legal term; while my gender is something else entirely, that is something I get to create myself and modify as I see fit. I do not consider myself or identify as ‘male’, however I do identify as a ‘man’ (of sorts), these two words are not necessarily connected for me. Here are words I identify with and like to use when describing my gender, and usually in this order: Butch, Trans, Trans Man, Tranny Boi, Masculine, FTX (X = something more masculine) and FTM (Female to Masculine – not Male). I don’t feel like I was robbed of the correct biological sex; I believe I was born in the right body, and that I just may want to change it a little bit. Really, who hasn’t felt discomfort or dismay about some part of their body related to their gender and wished they could change it?

    I think it is a GINORMOUS MISTAKE TO ASSUME HOW OTHERS IDENTIFY so you can include or exclude them. It is not for others to decide if others belong in a given community. It is for individuals to decide if they belong in that community based on how they feel. Feeling are subject to change. I get to decide based on how I identify if I belong in a particular community. Yes, there must be an honesty policy in place so that the few weirdoes who want to see what it’s like inside don’t get in. But this is a tricky thing, you have to trust the person who is claiming their identity to be truthful.

    For those who might try to draw this principle back to the creation of the TOPHOTBUTCHES.COM list, don’t even! This list was not assuming identities to in order to include/exclude them into a community. This list was attempting to do something far simpler and more beautiful: to create a broad and welcoming umbrella GIVING RECOGNITION to these individuals as HOT and BEAUTIFUL for who they are, what they do, and how they proudly present their variant genders. IS THAT SO FUCKING WRONG? I wish things could be simpler and the discussions that follow them could stay more on track and see their intent more simply.

    [Sigh]

    For this next point, I’d like to pretend for a moment that I am not on the list, again for obvious reasons.

    Here’s what is also nice about this web site.. Someone has generated a really fun BILF (Butches I’d Like to Fuck) list for those who are attracted to all the different types of people who made this list. What a fun little thing for my friend Margaret to look over with her Femme friends oogling over their favorite numbers.

    Now I wouldn’t mind if someone made a list of FILFs so I could see who is doing what and all their awesomeness in the Femme portion of the LGBTQ community. I think this should be Sinclair’s (or someone else as cool as Sinclair) next great project: TOPHOTFEMMES.COM. I say bring it on!! [Oh crap, I'm sensing a objectification and sexism discussion coming on - eek!]

    The major point for me is: IT HIGH TIME ALL GENDER VARIANT QUEERS WERE RECOGNIZED FOR THEIR BEAUTY ON WEB SITES JUST LIKE THESE!

    One of many significant lessons as a result of this project: THE DIALOG NEEDS TO KEEP HAPPENING UNTIL PEOPLE WHO ARE INVOLVED IN THE DIALOG ARE AT PEACE WITH ONE ANOTHER, NOT AFRAID OF TAKING UP EACH OTHERS SPACE, LEARNING THAT THERE’S ROOM FOR US ALL; CREATE, LEARN, USE AND RESPECT LANGUAGE AND FEELINGS OF OTHERS. AND STOP SAYING DIVISIVE AND PHOBIC THINGS TO ONE ANOTHER IN OUR DISCUSSIONS.

    And ultimately if you if you disagree with the creator of the TOPHOTBUTCHES.COM web site, don’t read it or by all means I completely support you starting your own TOPHOT_____.COM site and publish anything you like on it. But please note you are only allowed 63 characters in your domain name. Make sure you include every possible ID in the domain in order to avoid big discussions and long blogs like these.

    As far as whether or not there will be a Calendar of the TOPHOTBUTCHES.COM, I have no clue what Sinclair might do, BUT THERE SHOULD BE!! My vote is YESSS!!! Because you know it’s going to be a good year when Rachel Maddow is Ms./Mr. January 2010! Yeeeow!

    XOXO, Love you, mean it!
    Ian

  46. Dear Ian/igh, I think you said it all. Thank you thank you thank you fimg XXX

  47. Igh.. well said!

Trackbacks

  1. On Butches…again « My life as a drag king
  2. In regards to: On Removing Trans Men from the Top Hot Butches List « My Blog
  3. (trans)prose » Blog Archive » An Open Letter - a body of work in progress
  4. Transprose: An Open Letter « Questioning Transphobia
  5. Gendersaurus Rex » Reposted: An Open Letter
  6. Year In Review On Sugarbutch: 2009 – Sugarbutch Chronicles