Review: X-Harness

The first time I tried on a chest harness was at a leather festival. I put it on over my tank top and quickly admired myself in the mirror looking like a gay boy leather daddy top, which is really my only association with those x chest harnesses. As much as it seems like they would be worn by bottoms, and used for restraint, it seems like they are more commonly associated with the tops doing the restraining.

Maybe that’s just me, and I’ve somehow superimposed my own biases on the whatever images I’ve picked up along the way.

I was planning to use this x harness in a photo shoot, but that has yet to happen. I still think it might, someday, and I think these harnesses look particularly bad ass, so it could be a useful prop. I have a particular vision of how I want to be posed when I have this photo taken, but what I visualize and what turns out to be the best shot aren’t always the same, so who knows what’ll happen when I actually get around to capturing some images. That’s partly why I’ve had this harness for such a long time but still haven’t written it up—I thought I’d post a photo, since how much is there to really say about this type of object?

Really I’m not sure what kind of uses this harness has aside from as a prop in a photo. Or maybe as a fetish outfit to a play party, if I remembered it and dressed up ahead of time. I haven’t taken it out during sex, well, ever, and I’m not sure I would. But I still like having it in my toy box, and hopefully I’ll come up with some good uses for it aside from just to look pretty. Any ideas?

The X-Harness was sent to me to review from sextoy.com. Pick up the x-harness or other bondage toys from sextoy.com, or your local queer feminist sex-positive independent shop.

Friday Reads: Dear John, I Love Jane

Seal Press recently released a much needed addition to queer identity narratives in the anthology Dear John, I Love Jane: Women Write About Leaving Men for Women edited by Candace Walsh and Laura Andre.

What do you think of when you think about a coming out story? Typically in this culture, the main character of a coming out narrative tends to be a teenager, either pre-teen or late teens, someone who either has always been a bit different or is suddenly hit with the sexual revelation that they might be gay. Despite that coming out as a teenager seems, to me, to be actually a somewhat recent phenomenon, and that people coming out even ten or fifteen years ago were more likely to be college-age rather than high school age, which I would largely attribute to the rise of the Internet and the vast amount of information easily accessible by just typing “gay” into a search engine or, at this point, speaking one word into a search program on a smart phone, there is still a significant lack of literature available about people who come out later in life. Though the coming out process continues to happen younger and younger, the dominant stories are still about people in their tumultuous twenties, which is frequently when we formulate and articulate our adult sexual identities, often for the first time.

But what about someone coming out in their late thirties, forties, fifties? What about someone who has spent most of their life heterosexual, married and raising kids? Often, these stories are not reflected in queer literature and culture. We tend to value and legitimize the folks who express that we “always knew” that something was off about us, queer identities that started giving hints in childhood and were full-on signs by our adolescences.

Which is why this anthology is a much needed addition to the body of work on queer identity; we have so few stories about what it’s like to form these identities later in life. In this book, “later in life” is defined quite broadly, as some of the participants are still quite young and have, in my mind, had fairly typical coming out experiences.

While I was reading through these essays, I felt that it was important to keep in mind that they are personal reflections about the authors’ own experiences, and while there is great value in telling those stories, and this book is beginning to fill a neglected gap, they are not necessarily radical or particularly theoretical, and in fact perpetuate many stereotypes about lesbianism and gender in particular. In fact, the consistent commentary on gendered lesbian stereotypes in so many of the essays made me wonder if those stereotypes were a reflection upon the editors’ beliefs. Perhaps the reader was meant to assume that these were former stereotypes that the narrators held, and that their understandings have deepened and become more complex, but none of the essays directly addressed the vast inaccurate outsider observations toward the lesbian communities and none of the essays directly took on any sort of understanding of how complex gender identity and expression is in the queer and lesbian worlds.

I know that a complex understanding of gender is a lot to expect, and that I am particularly critical of representations of gender that are heteronormative and perpetuating stereotypes, but I was disappointed in the consistent portrayal throughout this book. I do think it is an important to add to the dominant paradigm of coming out and coming to queer identities, and certainly it gives a solid base on which others can now build. But I am cautious in recommending it, since I think it perpetuates more stereotypes than it challenges.

AJ Stacy: Mini-Interview

Host, Tuna Talk

1. What is your relationship with the word or identity “butch?”

I think of me, by default, or people like me, who have too much style when we walk into the men’s section at the department store. The word “Butch” is sexy, it’s strong.

2. What kind of words and labels, if any, do you use to identify yourself?

I really don’t like to label myself too much, but people always ask if I’m FTM or Butch or if I’m transitioning or whatever so, based on that, occasionally I like to clarify that I’m just BUTCH, I’m just AJ, I like to dress better than a straigt guy.

3. What do you wish you could tell your younger self about sex, sexuality, or gender?

If I could sit my 18 year old, crazy self down, I’d tell myself to go out and have fun, don’t be so shy, speak up for what you want and what you believe in and don’t wait for things to happen, make things happen.

Visit AJ’s online video blog Tuna Talk

B. Cole: Mini-Interview

Activist, advocate, teacher, community leader. brownboiproject.org

1. What is your relationship with the word or identity “butch?”
I came of age as butch but it never fully reflected Cole. As I was growing up, butch was much more common in the white queer community. That’s why I came up with the term masculine of center. I wanted to be able to acknowledge my place within this amazing community of womyn, recognizing the diversity and power of defining ourselves across a spectrum.

2. What kind of words and labels, if any, do you use to identify yourself?
I’ve been a stud, a dom, a butch, and a boi across my journey of life. It’s been important to claim my identity as a masculine of center womyn, to make peace with myself. I prefer female pronouns and as long as you don’t call me lady or m’am, we’ll be fine.

3. What do you wish you could tell your younger self about sex, sexuality, or gender?
Spend your time with people who respect and love you for who you are, even if it’s different from them. We live in a society that has a deep aversion to difference. Love it, cultivate it all around you. It is what makes life the most interesting.

Heavenly Spire

Yes, this is a bit of an advertisement for queer porn director Shine Louise Houston’s newest project Heavenly Spire, but it’s also a commentary on masculinity in porn.

I’m sure I don’t have to work too hard to convince you that for as many limited, limiting, stereotypical, heterosexist notions in porn that exist for women, there are just as many that exist for men. Men are portrayed as the domineering, dominant, in charge, virile, muscular, top character in virtually every way in the porn industry, a depiction that hurts and polices the vast range of male sexualities—just as depicting women as the receptive, passive counterparts is hurtful to women.

And while there is a huge world of queer porn out there, most of the ethical, thoughtful, gender-aware is trans or female, and there hasn’t been many explorations of masculinity through video and porn.

Until now!

Here’s some wording from the official press release of Houston’s beautiful Heavenly Spire project:

After making a name for herself directing beautifully shot dyke/queer porn, Feminist Porn Awards’ Visionary Director Shine Louise Houston has turned her sharp eye to the gays.

Vivid-Ed director Tristan Taormino touts Houston as “one of the most influential, groundbreaking and talented queer filmmakers of this century.” Advocating that women watch gay porn, Taormino enthusiastically took note of the new site, commenting: “It features a group of ethnically-diverse models and couples, genuine chemistry, and Houston’s signature stunning cinematography.”

By dedicating the site to masculine beauty and sexuality and how it manifests on different bodies, Shine Louise Houston pushes the boundaries of a new visibility in gay porn: HeavenlySpire.com equally casts queer males as it does transsexual men. This inclusion is a rarity in gay male pornography.

Models share an intimate interview where they disclose their personal fantasies, describe their sexuality, turn-ons, and what they physically like about themselves and one another.

While partially inspired by her love for gay male porn, Houston’s vision for HeavenlySpire.com came mainly from within. Says Houston, “Heavenly Spire is a personal project for me. Accepting my own masculinity has really allowed me to feel okay with desire for masculine people. Exploring it on the site really looks at male bodies the way I want to.”

It sounds all smart when described like that, huh? And yes sure, of course it is smart, it is intentional and thoughtful and the filming is just fucking beautiful. But let’s not forget that it’s also way hot.

Sometimes as a dyke I am a little hesitant to recommend porn with cisgender men in it, as I can frequently get the “ick factor” reaction from other dykes: “Ew.” But as someone who is increasingly cock-centric, and, I’ll admit, sometimes a bit fascinated to the point of fetishizing cocks, I have got to say that this site is not just thoughtful and beautiful but also fucking hot.

So thank you, Heavenly Spire, for being a sponsor of Butch Lab, and for bringing new and exciting visions of masculinity and a masculine sexuality into the porn world. I can’t wait for the DVD.

Good Girl, Bad Girl (Part One)

WARNING: This story contains Daddy/girl play (and dirty talk).

Part I.

Sometimes, I am a Bad Daddy: I hate it.

I hate it and I want it and I crave it and I hate that I want and crave it, this, this girl, this way that I use her, this way she uses me. Sometimes I resent it. Her, me, my own desires. Why do they run this way? Where did these wounds come from, or are they scars now?

I have to remind myself not to ask myself too many of those questions. That it’s okay to want what I want. That after the flash of feminist guilt, as Karlyn Lotney once wrote, it is quite the handy little fetish.

And it is a fetish, or maybe rather it is many fetishes wrapped up and tied with a big pretty satin red bow. Power. Gender. Age.

I hate it, but I have never loved any play more.

This is what happens.

I sit on the couch reading a book and drinking tea after the dinner she made. For me. She finishes the dishes, brings her book out too, sits next to me. I don’t watch her as I take another sip of my tea. This is what I practice: Not paying attention. But in not paying attention I still pay attention, I just don’t let her know that I’m paying attention. When I notice I’m focused on her, I try to turn the focus inward. What do I want right now? And I feel something stir.

She inches closer to me. I turn a page. She sighs inaudibly. I turn my eyes to the pages of my book, move them along the words, not reading.

“Daddy?”

I don’t look up, yet. “Yes?”

“Can I …”

“May I.” I correct.

“May I … sit on your lap please?” It comes out in one quick string.

I pull the bookmark out of the back of the book and slide it in between the pages, close the book, set it on the coffee table, look up at her. Her eyes gleam gently. Hopefully. Like she just asked for candy at the grocery store. Her dress is pushed up from how her legs are crossed on the couch and I can see a hint of her inner thigh, and I want my cheek on it, want to bite it, want to feel her squirm and hold her there between my teeth as I leave marks. I breathe in. Keep it under control.

“Yes, sure darling.” With the Good Daddy voice.

She climbs over, sits sideways on my lap, knees bent over my thighs. Wraps her arms around my shoulders and her face buried into my neck and collarbone. Her hair smells faintly of shampoo, clean and bright with a gently fruit-flavored hint. It’s soft and thin and I bring one hand up to the back of her head, play with the gentle curls there.

She settles in and drops one hand to my chest, resting it on my waist. I shift a little, a growl rising in my belly. My arms fold easily around her. I don’t notice the sigh I let out, a low hum, the precursor to the growl.

“Daddy?”

“Yes, darling.”

“I like to sit on your lap.” She snuggles a little closer. I can feel a tightness spreading in my groin. I don’t say anything. “Do you like it?”

“Yes, darling.”

“Does it feel good?” Her voice drops softer.

“Yes.”

“Does it feel good …” she’s whispering now. “In your pants?”

I stir. My cock stirs, jumps. The growl grows. My arms tingle and tense, a sensation I want to let out with a fist. “Yes.” I whisper too. Our mouths are close.

I am a Bad Daddy. I want my girl to do dirty things; I want to do dirty things to her. I know she’d let me if only I asked, but sometimes the desperation is more fun. The arguing with myself. The attempts at holding myself noble, resisting her sweet girlish body. Feeling dirty for wanting it so much that my palms ache.

“I feel you getting hard, Daddy,” she keeps her head low, shifts her hips to rock against my cock. My eyes roll back, wrists go slack. So soon. Fuck.

“Do you, now.”

“Yes.” She waits. “Can I feel it?”

“You want to?”

“Yes.” Again, a pause. “Please?”


My hands flex. “Please what?”

“Please can—may I touch your cock, Daddy?” She knows how I like to hear it. All the way through, from the ‘please’ to the way she should address me when we play.

I try not to groan audibly. I swallow instead, clear my throat. “Well, since you asked so nice and pretty. Yes, sweet girl, you may.”

She bites her lips and shifts her hips again, reaches down with one hand to grip the hard packer I’d slipped in after dinner. She strokes it through my trousers. She licks her lips unconsciously.

“Daddy,” she presses close to me, hand still stroking, and I feel her small, round breasts against my chest. “It’s too big. It should come out of your pants, Daddy.” Her lips are nearly touching my ear and she knows how I love that. My whole body shudders, relaxes, stomach muscles clench for a moment as I contract and release. I picture her pretty hands with her perfect sparkly red nails wrapped around my cock. I picture her lowering her lipstick-painted mouth toward it. I am a Bad Daddy, and she is so good.

“It’s big and hard in your pants, Daddy. Don’t you want to take it out? It’s too tight under there. Too big. Can I take it out? Daddy, can I?” Her lips are on my neck, earlobe, jaw. I can barely see straight.

I breathe out. “Yes. Yes, you may.”

She slips off my lap and crouches between my knees, staying on her tiptoes on the floor and unbuttons, unzips my pants, pulls the too-big cock from under my briefs and straightens it out, poking from my fly. She wraps one hand around it, then the other. “Mmmm,” she hums a little, smiling, stroking, biting her lower lip then keeping them parted, pressing them together.

Her lips are flushed red.

She watches her fingers stroking my cock for a quick minute, then looks up at me, still crouched. “Daddy …”

I bring one hand down to her jaw line and trace it gently with my thumb. She leans into it a little, eyelids half closed.

“Daddy,” she starts again. “I could put my mouth on it. Don’t you like that? You like it when I do that. And I like to make you feel good. It feels good when I put my mouth on it, Daddy. Can I?”

I stiffen, feel my cock jump. Breathe in. It is so dirty to want this so badly. To hear her beg, to hear her ask over and over at each step of the way. I fight every urge I have to just shove my cock into her mouth, slide it over her tongue, and instead do my best to resist, and the tension keeps my body cocked and loaded.

She flattens her tongue and runs it over the very tip, smiling up at me. “I’m a good girl, Daddy. I know how to make it feel good.”

That breaks me. I breathe out. “Yes, I know you do, sweet girl. Put your mouth on it for me.”

She swallows the spit her mouth is already excessively producing and opens her mouth, and that momentary flash of a pause burns my eyes as if I’d hit pause, her hovering open lips just centimeters away and closing in.

When she drops down, my cock slides in effortlessly, right into the vacant space she’s made for it, and I barely feel it until she’s got the head at the back of her throat and closes her lips around the shaft and pulls up, sucks, lips pushing out as she slides them up and over the ridge, until it pops free.

Mouth open, lips wet, she pauses to say quietly, “I like it in my mouth,” then bends her neck again and takes it deeper, sucking expertly.

I could watch her do this for an hour, two. What is it about this that gets me so hard and hot? I can’t feel it, but I can feel it, every stroke, every graze of her teeth, every swirl of her tongue, as if it was me filling with blood and swelling as she closes her mouth around it, again and again. My hips tighten and knees rotate open, just barely, pushing.

“That feels good,” I manage to mumble, eyes blurry, as I slide my hand into her hair, tangle my fingers into it.

She glows at the slightest praise. “You like that, Daddy? Does it make your cock feel good to be in my mouth?”

“Yes, darling.”

“I like it, Daddy. You can put it in my mouth when it gets big and hard. It feels good. I like to suck on it.”

“You’re getting it all wet.”

“Yes Daddy. My mouth gets wet when I suck on it. Want to see?”

I nod. She swallows a little again, pools the saliva on her tongue, dips her neck down to my cock and slides it deep, far back into her throat. I groan. She leaves it there for as many seconds as she can. When she opens her mouth to slide it out, it glistens slick with the thick spit from her throat. She smiles as it strings from the tip of my cock to her lips. Again, and she leaves even more wet behind. She laps at it with her tongue, moves it around.

I groan again. “Baby, that’s so good, you’re so good at that.”

She rubs her lips together, licks them, swallows. Shifts her legs and raises up to bring her mouth close to mine. I quickly bring my hands to her waist, squeeze the sweet curve of her hips, and bring her body in closer and bring her mouth to mine, kiss her hard. I’m practically panting. She knows it, too.

“I like it. It feels good for me too. See, Daddy?” She raises one knee up next to my thigh on the couch and pulls my hand from her body down between her legs, and I feel her pussy against my hand, swollen and slick, before she slides two of my fingers into her easily.

“Feel that? Sucking on your big cock makes my pussy all wet.” Her mouth is by my ear again. “It’s okay, Daddy. You can put your cock in all my little holes. You like it when we play this game. You can put it in my pussy, too. Want to put it in my pussy now, Daddy? Do you want to?” My fingers go in and out, pausing to rub circles over her clit. “See how wet my pussy is? It’s wet for your cock, Daddy. So it will slide right in and go in and out. It’s just for your cock. Don’t you want it in there? It’s okay, I want you to put it in, I want you to, Daddy …”

She shifts in my lap and knees on either side of my thighs, starts guiding my cock toward her hole. I watch, slip my fingers out, bring my eyes up to her face as she reaches for the shaft to guide it in. “Do it,” I growl low, already thick and pulsing just feeling her slick lips touch the tip. “Slide it in, baby. That’s good. Yeah, like that.” And she does, she slides it right inside, slow, and pushes all the way down until her thighs are pressed against mine.

We both shudder and sigh, and she rests her cheek on my shoulder for a second before clenching her thighs and lifting her body up and off of me until only the tip of my cock is touching her opening, then pressing down and letting her weight rest on me again, clenching, squeezing her thighs together.

My eyes roll back. I breathe in. I can’t stand it.

“I like it, Daddy. I like it going in and out. I like your big cock in my little pussy. Does it feel good, Daddy?”

I move my hands to her hips and hold her steady, start thrusting with my hips. I’m close. She’s got me so close. “So good, you’re such a good girl, baby, my good girl.” My lips can barely form words. She kisses me, sucks my tongue into her mouth, wraps her arms around my neck and squeezes me tight with her thighs and cunt.

“Do it more, Daddy. Do it harder. Please? Please put it in my pussy. Please, harder, Daddy, please, please …” She knows I’m close from the way my hips are shuddering, faster now, more of a shake than a thrust. She keeps her lips next to my ear. “Do it, Daddy, come in my pussy, make your cock come in my pussy Daddy, please, come Daddy, come Daddy …” And I do, I thrust harder up inside her and my groans and grunts turn into yelling, fuck, yeah, fuck, body pulsing, gushing, until I feel every drop squeezed out of me, and I collapse back, head rolling gently, eyes closed, as she kisses my neck and rocks gently against me.

I breathe out. Open my eyes. Smooth her hair, run my hand along the side of her body. “My good girl.”

She grins and brings her mouth down to mine again, sweet soft kisses, and I wrap my arms around her.

Elisha Lim’s Queer Love Cards

Artist Elisha Lim is now also selling Queer Love Cards at their Etsy shop.

Says Elisha: “The cards are about a queer way of being in love, with things like butches saying “Hey Handsome,” transfags saying “Hey Beautiful,” and genderqueers saying “Hayy” and “I Like Your Cardigan.””

Just in time for Valentine’s Day! I’m sure I can think of a few people I could send these lovely cards to … Etsy.com/shop/elishalim

See also: Elisha Lim’s 2011 Illustrated Gentleman calendar and their Mini-Interview with Butch Lab.

They also sent along a couple images to show off here on Butch Lab! Enjoy:

Gina Mamone: Mini-Interview

President & CEO, Riot Grrrl Ink. The Largest Queer Record Label in the world.
Photo by Grace Moon

1. What is your relationship with the word or identity “butch”?

My relationship with butch has evolved over my life. From coming out in college in rural West Virginia in the mid 90’s to living in modern day New York City. I have a very broad concept of gender especially in regards to identity and fluidity.

I did not come into my butchness like some, I was born into it – my mother jokes to this day that there was no need for me to “come out”. I grew up in rural Appalachia in the buckle of the bible belt. In the early 80‘s before there were mandatory curriculums of inclusion and tolerance in the public school system. I was bullied and teased constantly at school, it was a hard way to grow up. Butch was full of negative connotation for me in the first part of my life. Then I came out and I learned to find positive images of butch & gender variance in my community and I learned a new definition of the word. The more people I meet, the more art I am exposed to – my definition of butch & gender gets bigger and bigger – it will always be evolving.

2. What kind of words and labels, if any, do you use to identify yourself?

I identify as a Tender Hearted Gender Queer that has a nougaty Deep Lez Center with Hillbilly tendencies.

3. What do you wish you could tell your younger self about sex, sexuality, or gender?

I was bullied and teased constantly about my gender expression in elementary school (see attached elementary school photo). By the time I was in Jr. High & Highschool, I was dressing to fit in and growing my hair long. I had learned to not let anyone know who I really was. I would go back and tell my younger self about Dapper Q, Bromance and the Flatbush Freakshow…. the big beautiful world that awaits out there once all of the queers find each other on the internet… start to mobilize & create. I would also tell myself that American Apparel Manties will change your life, have a wicked respect for your herstory / history, there is truth where you come from and to take better care of my vinyl.

I LOVE what is happening now – the fostering of butch identified community though grassroots organizing. I look at things like Butch Voices & Butch Lab happening all over the country and I see people coming together to create safe space, share resources, organize n’ mobilize, get inspired and most importantly, connect to community and I get hella excited. This generation of butch identified / masculine of center individuals are changing what it means to be butch – making it bigger and more accessible for those to come and it’s all being documented in real time through social media – it’s a very exciting & fascinating time.

Achilles’ Heel at Sideshow, February 8th

Join us at Sideshow on February 8th with readers Melissa Gira Grant, Rohin Guha, Aimee Herman, and Christa Orth.

Sideshow: The Queer Literary Carnival – Achilles’ Heel
Hosted by Cheryl B. & Sinclair Sexsmith
Tuesday, February 8th @ The Phoenix
447 East 13th Street @ Avenue A
Doors, 7:30pm. Reading, 8pm
Free! (We’ll pass the hat for the readers)
Find out more about the readers!

Rachel Venning: Mini-Interview

Owner, www.babeland.com

1. What is your relationship with the word or identity “butch?”

Being butch has always been part of my queer identity. When I was young my friends and I loved to talk about “what kind of butch are you?” Now that I’m headed into my silver fox years it’s just an identity that has sat well with me for a long time. And I acknowledge other butches out there as much as I can, with the butch nod or a “hi.” I feel a lot of solidarity with other butches. It’s really not easy being butch. Just dealing with people’s reactions and my projections of their gender phobia.

2. What kind of words and labels, if any, do you use to identify yourself?

Butch, dyke, lesbian and queer. Kinky. Some feel more comfortable than others.

3. What do you wish you could tell your younger self about sex, sexuality, or gender?

My younger self thought she knew it all, so cocky! I’d tell her to be more gentle and compassionate- people have a lot of different ways of growing into themselves. Oh and I’d tell my younger self to take more risks, and have sex with more people. I was not enough of a player in my playing years. More of the uhaul type, alas.

QueerPorn.TV Porn Party Winner

Winner of the one month membership to QueerPorn.TV is Comment #7, Missy, who says: “I totally want to see the Billy Castro and Johnny Mission scene!”

I think Judy Minx is in that scene too. Then again, I can tell who it is you’re looking forward to watching …

Hope you’ll join us tonight, Missy. There’s still time to pick up a membership to QueerPorn.TV—$5 off if you go through the secret #pornparty sale.

Kristen and I invited a (hot butch top) friend over for dinner before hand, so she’ll be joining us in commenting on the porn viewing. Follow @kitchentop and @mrsexsmith to see what we’ve got to say about the new QueerPorn.TV.

You can also follow @garnetjoyce, my co-host of this Twitter Porn Party, as well as @queerporntv, @courtneytrouble, and @tinahornsass who are the geniuses behind QueerPorn.TV, follow @billycastroxxx, @thedylanryan, @judyminx, @ignacio_rivera, and @jizlee, who are some of the stars we’ll be watching! I’m not sure who will be joining us tonight yet, but keep an eye on their accounts, they might be around and responding to the #pornparty.

QueerPorn.TV Porn Party Giveaway

UPDATE! Secret special QueerPorn.TV membership for $5 off, special for Porn Party-goers!

Well hello there! I’m still writing away (or trying to) on my small hiatus, but I’m poking my head up out of Scrivener long enough to co-host a Twitter Porn Party Wednesday night, tomorrow, where we’ll be watching four episodes of QueerPorn.TV.

Want to join us? There’s still time to pick up a membership, and from what little I’ve seen of the site already, it is absolutely worth it if you’re into, well, queer porn. You can rent the videos individually or get a VIP membership for $29.95 a month (and you can cancel at any time), which I’d recommend if you’re going to join us since we’ll be watching four of ’em.

But, if you don’t have that kind of extra cash to spend on queer porn, who can blame you, I mean it’s a recession (aren’t we still in a recession? Or is that over now?) and we’re all underemployed.

So if you promise to come to the porn party, just leave a comment on this post to win a 1-month membership with which episode on QueerPorn.TV you’re most excited to see, or which looks the most hot from the descriptions and photos. Or the porn star you wish would be on QueerPorn.TV. Or something else entirely.

This is a quick giveaway—winner will be announced tomorrow morning so you’ll have time to get the membership all set up for the Porn Party, which is tomorrow, January 19th (6pm PST / 9pm EST), #pornparty on Twitter.

Oh, a quick aside—someone asked me yesterday if they could host their own Porn Party. Of course! We don’t have any claim on it. It’s been a blast so far, the others Garnet and I have hosted have been fun.

Adrienne “Aj” Davis: Mini-Interview

Organizer for the Butch Voices conferences, www.dreadedmemes.org

1. What is your relationship with the word or identity “butch?”

I proudly use that word. Although it took me about ten years after I came out before I truly embraced that identity.

2. What kind of words and labels, if any, do you use to identify yourself?

Butch. Geeky butch. Nerdy butch. Nerd. Geek. Geekgirl (or geekgrrl). Academic butch. Scientist. Alpha Geek.

3. What do you wish you could tell your younger self about sex, sexuality, or gender?

I would tell myself, “Self, don’t worry about how others look at you. Don’t worry about how this might play in the black community. Embrace who you are because you ARE sexy, you ARE beautiful, you ARE alluring—but not in the conventional manner that women are seen as expressing those attributes. And yes, Virginia, you can be as academic and urbane as you wish and still be a butch.”

Shelley Stefan: B is for Butch

Artist Shelley Stefan sent on this video from her art show in Harlem in New York City in 2010. I missed this entirely, unfortunately, but I really like the work.

Here’s a description from Shelley, from an interview with CherryGRRL:

“The series “B is for Butch” is an offshoot from the work and research I developed in two prior visual arts projects entitled: “Lesbian Family Heraldry: An Achievement of Arms” (2005-2006) and “The Lesbian Effigies” (2006). These bodies of work, comprising of paintings, drawings, bronzes, and belt buckles, appropriate the art and science of medieval heraldry in order to engage queer subcultural commentary on topics of power, alliance, and family signification, prioritizing what Theorist J. Halberstam cites as the construction of “queer (female) genealogies.”[i] In 2004, I directed my visual arts practice and research into the world of heraldry and armour as an emotive response to real-life experiences of familial trauma, where I felt what it was like to be a person, a family “under siege.” My wife and I lost custody of our happy and healthy daughter due to several breaches of justice and a bigoted and homophobic US legal system. The experience and the loss left me and my lesbian partner feeling broken and beaten. I did what many artists do amidst strife: I turned to my visual arts practice as a method of emancipation, activism, and poetic justice in a world where, unfortunately and sometimes, bad things can happen to good people. Heraldry and this world of armour seemed like a perfect conceptual and aesthetic palette for me to think about notions of power and security from the “underdog” or subculturally liminal perspective, and how traditional visual symbologies (such as heraldry) have a way of legitimizing through the mere history of their visual currency. In these bodies of work, I problematized heraldry’s armigerous exclusivity and its heterosexist male monopoly on the meaning of family, as well as appropriated the heraldic medieval aesthetic to take part in what Third World Feminist Theorist Chela Sandoval calls a “Technology of Crossing” – a method to “identify and describe emotional, psychic, and social technologies that embody and circumscribe identities necessary for recognizing power, and changing its conditions on behalf of equalizing power between socially and psychically differing subjects.”[ii] I began using the power of heraldry and medieval armour as a method to transpose power on behalf of queer liminal subjectivity.

“Through this research process, I encountered many, many images of armour. Some armour just seemed inherently queer-looking to me – very dykey, very butchy, and quite gender-bendy, all of which to me are very good attributes. Some armour also really seemed conceptually loaded for me on topics of security/insecurity and subcultural interiority. I began to think about the dual signification of the term “armour” – like, how armour signifies at once a sense of security and a sense of insecurity – a toughness and a vulnerability. To wear armour is to acknowledge in some way that you are vulnerable, but also and simultaneously that you aim to and claim to feel non-vulnerable, or protected. I started really thinking about subcultural interiority, what’s underneath the rock that’s underneath the rock. Near 2008, I began to imagine how different liminal subjectivities and minorities might relate to this notion of armour and how I might be able to manipulate these visualizations to open up conceptual doors. Butch subjectivity came to the forefront, partially because I live as a butch lesbian and my art is strongly tied to self-portraiture, but also because I like to do research in queer subcultural theory and this was a topic I was interested in investigating. So, I was inspired to create this collection of works entitled “B is for Butch.””

Here’s one example of a pieces from “B is for Butch:”

Shelley Stefan, Primary Cock, Oil, 2010

Shelley Stefan – B is for Butch from Roger Kisby on Vimeo.

Kyle Jones: Mini-Interview

Writer, parent, lover, perpetual student. www.butchtastic.net

1. What is your relationship with the word or identity “butch?”
‘Butch’ is one of the words I use to describe myself. I’ve experimented with different identity terms over the years, and ‘butch’ is one that I come back to over and over again. I currently use butch to describe my presentation, as an adjective more often than as a noun. When I describe myself as butch, I mean to say that I am masculine in appearance and mannerisms. I wear clothing from the men’s department, cut my hair short and don’t mind when someone refers to me as ‘Sir’.

2. What kind of words and labels, if any, do you use to identify yourself?
When I talk about my identity, I say that my sexuality is queer, my gender is genderqueer and my presentation is butch. I also use the words transgender and trans-masculine to identify myself, as a female-born person who’s gender identity does not always line up squarely with my body.

3. What do you wish you could tell your younger self about sex, sexuality, or gender?
I would try to explain how fluid and changing identity is, that what we see as a rock solid personal identity can change over the years, as we grow and experience more in life. I would encourage myself to explore sex more, to experiment and play, to see the fun and playfulness of sex and not be hung up on judgements about what should, or should not, turn me on. I would try to explain some of what I know about gender now, which is much less rigid than my viewpoint when I was younger. Back then, I was very much trying to find the one gender that worked for me and that kept me bouncing back and forth until recently, when I finally realized that I didn’t have to choose. Gender is not only fluid and unfixed, we can experience multiple genders concurrently, or even feel a lack of gender identity. Gender is much more fascinating than I imagined 20 years ago.

Porn Party with QueerPorn.TV

The next porn party is coming up on January 19th (6pm PST / 9pm EST), and we’re watching QueerPorn.TV, a beautiful new queer porn site (what, like the name didn’t give it away?) by Courtney Trouble and Tina Horn.

What is a “porn party”, you ask? Well, it’s a little virtual gathering on Twitter where we watch porn and comment on it, “live-tweeting” the event. We’ll tag our posts with the hashtag #pornparty. (I recommend tuning in the day of on Tweetchat, since it’s a bit easier to follow hashtags there than on Twitter.)

How do you join us? Easy! All you need is a Twitter account and a membership to QueerPorn.TV.

1. Make sure you’ve got a membership to QueerPorn.TV. Dig up your password and have it on hand so you don’t have to scramble for it later.

2. Log on to Twitter and follow the hashtag #pornparty. You can also do this through TweetChat, which is a great way to follow conversations happening on Twitter.

3. At the specified time, in your time zone (6pm PST / 9pm EST), Wednesday January 19th, start up Courtney Trouble & Scout’s episode on QueerPorn.TV, and start up Twitter. Watch the scene, and post your thoughts. You can follow what we’re chatting about even without having a Twitter account, but it’d be more fun if you post your thoughts too (and include the hastag #pornparty so we see it!).

4. Bonus: follow @mrsexsmith and @garnetjoyce, the hosts of this Twitter Porn Party, and follow @queerporntv, @courtneytrouble, and @tinahornsass who are the geniuses behind QueerPorn.TV, follow @billycastroxxx, @thedylanryan, @judyminx, @ignacio_rivera, and @jizlee, who are some of the stars we’ll be watching!

You can always surf around QTube while we countdown to the porn party, if you need something to keep you busy.

Here’s the scenes we’ll be enjoying:

When Courtney Trouble cast Toronto native Scout in a porn scene, she never guessed that Scout – a youthful, creative, genderqueer creature – would follow her all the way back to San Francisco just to fuck the director. But that’s what happened, and with the windows open for all of downtown to see, this switchy pair, shall we say, hit it off. In fact, they had already started by the time I showed up to their hotel room; I followed them around with my camera for hours while they completely ignored me, engrossed in rough passionate queer sex. Scout is a tireless top, but also a masochist, and Trouble slaps them around even as she chokes on their sparkly unicorn cock. Scout strap-on fucks Trouble doggy style, piledrives her, and gives head to an NJoy Eleven in Trouble’s cunt. Trouble, a vicious and vivacious little tart, bosses Scout around and cums over and over again. Trouble loves to get her ass spanked and pussy punched and luckily Scout loves to follow orders! Run Time: 25.19

Blurring the line between classic nude art and raunchy queer porn, genderqueer legends Jiz Lee and Papi Coxxx pose for Suzanne Forbes‘ pen. It’s only a matter of time, of course, before they can’t hold their pose any longer. Sweet nipple teasing dissolves into passionate fucking and buckets of cum; it’s all Forbes can do to keep up! Jiz and Papi both love to switch, and they each penetrate the other with their realistic strap-on cocks and skilled hands. These two performers, who are known for ejaculating, deliver gushing orgasms that will take your breath away. Run Time: 14.35

Dylan Ryan was ravenous for a truly submissive pain slut like Tina Horn. In her super-cool masculine persona Butch Friday she gives Tina a taste of what it would be like to be her total slave. In full masochistic faggot mode (complete with superhero panties) Tina soaks up a prolonged heavy spanking, flogging, verbal degradation, dominant-submissive play, deep-throating, fisting, and deep strap on plowing in a leather sling – all to earn the right to worship Butch/Dylan’s magnificent cock. This gender-fucking BDSM scene between two cisgendered ladies who enjoy playing with their male personas is intensely kinky, highly verbal, and disarmingly sweet. Run Time: 26.38

This scene involves a fantasy of non-consensual acts that was designed and negotiated by all three performers. The World’s Next FTM Porn Star Billy Castro and porn newbie, the insatiably hot and smart intersexed Johnny Mission, gang up on sweet “sleeping” little Judy Minx, restraining her with a belt, humiliating her and forcing her to beg for sex, then for harder, and then for more. They double-team their willing victim, slapping her around, invading her pussy with their huge cocks and her mouth with their inexhaustible hands, making her come long and hard. Inspired by a real-life hot and heavy flirtation between the three stars, this spur-of-the-moment shoot of a home invasion fantasy fuck is quite possibly QPTV’s most realistically raw scene yet. Run Time: 14.56

Descriptions from QueerPorn.TV, thanks!

Joe LeBlanc: Mini-Interview

President and Conference Chair for Butch Voices. butchvoices.com | @BUTCHVoices

Photo by Kristin Kurzawa

1. What is your relationship with the word or identity “butch?”

My relationship with the word and identity of butch has been a complex one. I hesitated using it at first as a descriptor for myself since I did not “fit” the stereotype for a number of reasons. So much was wrapped up for me upon first glance in the identity of butch – hair style, clothing, class, age, race, sexual preferences, boundaries, underwear, shoes, etc… in order to use the identity for myself. Or so I thought. I thought that I had to already have it all figured out, and have it all in place in order for me to identify as a butch. Not knowing any other butches impeded this process, because I only knew what little I saw about butches. The disassociation the lesbian community was having at the time over anyone who looked butch, much less identified as butch, didn’t really help matters either.

Over time for me, it became less about my needing to fit a specific equation of x + y + z = butch. I began to see that it was more about how I felt inside. I did a lot of internal work around the various facets of myself in regards to my preferences. When I gave myself the permission to get beyond the stereotypes, I could relax and start to become at home with the word. For me, butch is an identity that is personal, as well as sexual and political, too.

With doing community organizing with BUTCH Voices, I have seen ‘butch’ as a polarizing word. For some it has become more of an umbrella term that continues to bring folks together both online and in person, who in the past would not have been in the same room. For others it is a word that gives them the idea that they can ape the worst traits in men. Being a misogynistic asshole does not make someone butch. I enjoy when people can use their preferred identities to start conversations, find commonalities, but not dismiss the differences, or abuse privileges sometimes afforded to us for presenting masculine. Finding strength in the diversity of what butch means is key for us as a segmented community. The identity we choose for ourselves is not the end all, be all about us. It’s only the tip of the iceberg. We can stay divided over semantics and assumptions, or we can find common ground and actually work together to combat the many issues that we all face no matter the language we choose for ourselves.

2. What kind of words and labels, if any, do you use to identify yourself?

I am a lover of language, so I do have some strong personal relationships with certain words around my identity such as: butch, genderqueer, transgender, masculine of center (from B Cole and the Brown Boi Project), dyke, feminist, activist, queer, and gender non-conforming to name a few.

3. What do you wish you could tell your younger self about sex, sexuality, or gender?

I would tell my younger self to not to be so in a rush with the need to figure it all out. But I’m not sure that my younger self would listen. My life’s lessons had and continue to have to be experienced first-hand, which isn’t good or bad – it just is. I am constantly learning more about myself and adding this knowledge and reforming opinions I have along the way. Such is life, and it’s more about the journey than the destination.

Anything you’d like to add?

Butch is what you make of it, and there is no one way to be butch.

The Illustrated Gentleman: 2011 Calendar

You can still pick up a copy of the 2011 calendar The Illustrated Gentleman by artist Elisha Lim.

“A 12 month calendar of handsome dandy queers from January to December. Full colour images and comics feature sartorial queer style, shopping anecdotes and strategies, and a celebration of walking proud in what you wear. The comics feature excerpts from “The Illustrated Gentleman” and “100 Butches” and contain a hand-drawn monthly schedule for each month. It is a quaint, trim 5.5″x7.5″ on glossy calendar stock.”

They sent Butch Lab a few images from the calendar to entice us:

Buy The Illustrated Gentleman on Etsy.

Events in January

Yes, I’m still on retreat. But there are a few important announcements that I have to tell you, events that are worth attending and projects worth helping.

1. Don’t forget about Sideshow! Next week, 1/11/11 in New York City. You know the drill.

Ring in the New Year with a blank slate as the performers, storytellers, and writers of Sideshow: The Queer Literary Carnival tell you all about Tabula Rasa.

Featured in January are Regie Cabico, Casey Plett, Shawn Stewart Ruff, and Najva Sol.

Hosted by Cheryl B. & Sinclair Sexsmith
Tuesday, January 11th @ The Phoenix
447 East 13th Street @ Avenue A
Doors, 7:30pm. Reading, 8pm
Free! (We’ll pass the hat for the readers)

2. Butch It Up For QEJ! Party, Fundraiser, and Butch Clothing Drive for Queers for Economic Justice. January 16 at Ginger’s Bar in Brooklyn, from 4 pm onward, with performances starting at 6:30 pm

Dykes on Bike-Cycles (DOBC) is getting it in gear in the New Year, and our first event of 2011 is a party-fundraiser in support of Queers for Economic Justice (QEJ). Ginger’s Bar in Park Slope will host this very special fundraiser, featuring an amazing lineup of poets, comics, and musicians. We’ll have the BBQ going out back, with hamburgers, hot dogs, and veggie options, as well as other foods for sale, baked and cooked by Shane, Ginger’s bartender. So come out and help us support QEJ and the great work they are doing for the LGBTQ community in the shelters in our city.

As part of this event, DOBC will be sponsoring a Butch Clothing Drive, so start sorting through you closet for those old ties you never wear or that pair of trousers or collared shirt that don’t really fit you anymore, and donate them to a butch sister in need. Any clothing donations are welcome, but warm coats, sweaters, and anything fitting the “masculine of center” category are especially appreciated.

Performers include: Arianne Benford, Sassafras Lowrey, Kay Ulanday Barrett, Kelli Dunham and Cheryl B., Melissa Li and the Barely Theirs, Andrea Alton performing as Molly “Equality” Dykeman. The raffle will include prizes from Babeland, a $20 bar tab at Ginger’s, DOBC t-shirts, and much more! No cover charge, but donations are always welcome.

RSVP on Facebook.

3. Pariah (pariahthemovie.com) is a new film trying to make their way to Sundance. Described as “a Brooklyn teenager juggles conflicting identities and risks friendship, heartbreak, and family in a desperate search for sexual expression,” here’s the full synopsis:

At the club, the music thumps, go-go dancers twirl, shorties gyrate on the dance floor while studs play it cool, and adorably naive 17-year-old Alike takes in the scene with her jaw dropped in amazement. Meanwhile, her buddy Laura, in between macking the ladies and flexing her butch bravado, is trying to help Alike get her cherry popped. This is Alike’s first world. Her second world is calling on her cell to remind her of her curfew. On the bus ride home to Brooklyn, Alike sheds her baseball cap and polo shirt, puts her earrings back in, and tries to look like the feminine, obedient girl her conservative family expects. With a spectacular sense of atmosphere and authenticity, Pariah takes us deep and strong into the world of an intelligent butch teenager trying to find her way into her own. Debut director Dee Rees leads a splendid cast and crafts a pitch-perfect portrait that stands unparalleled in American cinema.

I thought that’d get your attention. They still need some funding. Head over to Kickstarter to help out. (Thanks for the tip, Lesbian Dad.)

4. Juxtaposition is a new project by Jessica Halem & Kelli Dunham: a show that brings those communities together…laughing. Future shows will juxtapose… A gay nerd & a lesbian separatist; A vegan massage therapist & a pflag mom; A queer academic & a bisexual jock. Monday, January 10th at 6.30 PM at Stonewall Inn 53 Christopher Street, 5-10 BUCKS SLIDING SCALE. PLEASE BE ON TIME, THIS IS A TIGHT 90 MINUTE SHOW! More information on Juxtaposition.

S. Bear Bergman: Mini-Interview

Writer, performer, activist. www.sbearbergman.com

1. What is your relationship with the word or identity “butch?”

Butch was the first way I ever really felt seen, or desired. Butch is how I was recognized, and it’s how I was made. I love many of the ways of butchness, and even the ones I really do not love I can at least understand. The part of me that is a butch – not a butch lesbian or a butch woman but a butch as its own whole and true thing – is both the toughest and the tenderest part.

2. What kind of words and labels, if any, do you use to identify yourself?

I identify as queer, transmasculine, and as a butch; as a husband and father; as a Jew, and as a storyteller.

3. What do you wish you could tell your younger self about sex, sexuality, or gender?

Calm down. You don’t need to know, or do, or try, or be, or have everything sorted out right now. There’s time, and being patient will make you less annoying.

So Brown: Mini-Interview

Musician, kickstarter | myspace.com/sobrown | Bad Love video

1. What is your relationship with the word or identity “butch?”
I’m not really sure about my relationship to the word “butch”; I’ve always just felt I was a male-ish spirit and tried to honor that.

2. What kind of words and labels, if any, do you use to identify yourself?
Occasionally, when trying to convey my aesthetic to a new person, I’ll say something like, “think along the masculine spectrum. What would Johnny Cash be doing?” I’ve always done what boys did without really thinking about it. I do also love the Native-American concept of the Two-Spirit, a person who is a third gender and has qualities of both. That always resonated with me.

3. What do you wish you could tell your younger self about sex, sexuality, or gender?
I’d say, “Young So, try to be kind to yourself, try not to self-destruct. One day you will have a really beautiful life, and you’ll be able to write awesome songs about all the hard years along the way, and you will have an important place in the world surrounded by lots of people who love you. You are perfect just the way you are and you don’t have to choose about anything. Just be.”

Anything to add?

I guess the only other thing I’d add is that I’m really looking forward to making more openly gay music videos for my songs!

Anniversary Sale at Cocksexual

To celebrate Furry Girl’s 8th year creating porn online, she’s doing a special: get a month for $8 for the first 8 days of January. She never do trials, so this is the only time of year people can join at such a low price. If you’ve been curious about Cocksexual, maybe now is the time to check it out!

Here are a couple of my favorite shots from Cocksexual so far, featuring a few of my favorite porn stars, Courtney Trouble & Tina Horn.