Posts Tagged ‘butch’

“Is it a trans characteristic to wear a cock?”: Cock-centricity and Gender Identity

September 17, 2009  |  advice, essays  |  12 Comments

Back in April, for Sugarbutch’s third anniversary, I offered up an “ask me anything” thread where readers could ask any burning questions that they’d like for me to answer.

is it a transgender characteristic to wear a cock (with anatomically accurate balls) and feel more complete or like yourself when you are a biological female? you self ID with a lot of labels, but trans isn’t one of them. have you explored this idea? – reader

There’s two parts of this question I’d like to explore: first, my personal identity, and my relationship to “trans”; second, gender’s relationship to cocks, and my personal thoughts on that, too.

I do identify with the term “trans,” to some degree. That’s complicated, because I am not transitioning, and I do not identify as male. I feel strongly that it’s important for me to be female, a woman, lesbian-identified, and to behave and look the way I do (i.e., masculine). But insofar as people with my biological sex most often have a feminine gender presentation (setting aside the societal compulsory prescription of the feminine gender presentation), and I do not, I feel as though I am transgressing gender boundaries by my claim to masculinity and by presenting in a way that is seemingly in conflict with the (societally prescribed) sex/gender assumption. I – me personally, my identity, my work, my discussions – defy rigid, polarizing gender norms, and queer gender. I believe in taking this and that from any sorts of presentations around us and re-creating onesself in ways that make us feel good, empowered, strong, sexy, expressive, and authentic. I think we can all transcend our prescribed roles – no matter what they are, gender or familial or societal – and become ourselves in larger ways.

I don’t usually include “trans” in my list of identity descriptors. When I refer to myself as trans, it’s usually very couched in other things, like “my particular kind of genderqueer masculine-identified trans-ness.” I guess I feel like my use of trans and my inclusion in the trans communities is a bit controversial, as there are plenty of people who will jump (and have jumped) in to correct my use of this term, saying that my use of it invalidates the experiences of “real” trans people who are FTM or MTF and who are transsexual, transitioning fully from one gender to another.

So I tend to claim butch, whole-heartedly and fairly simply, really, and leave it at that. Because that’s what I am (right now, anyway, not that I anticipate that changing, but who knows, it could), and though I do think that the identity of butch includes a sort of trans-ness or a genderqueer-ness of occupying more than one gendered space at once, ‘butch’ accurately describes me much better than the term trans.

Now: about cocks.

Specifically, about cocks with anatomically accurate balls, about realistic cocks, about flesh-colored cocks and really feeling it and claiming it as MY cock, about having a cock as someone whose body doesn’t quite have one, not in the same way that other bodies have one.

I want to disrupt this idea that cocks specifically and penetration in general is a male, masculine, or man’s trait. I mean I get it: when considering human genitalia, the man is the one with the penis, the woman is the one with the vulva. But men have holes that feel good when penetrated, too, and women have fingers and tongues and sometimes clits big enough to penetrate, and a long history of dildoes, and then of course there’s the strap on cock, for when we really want to feel what it’s like to swing from the hips.

I was at a sex blogger tea party here in New York City maybe two years ago, discussing cock-centricty, when I believe Chris of Carnal Nation said (something like): “I know I’m a guy and all, but I’m not as cock-centric as you are. When I fuck, it’s with my hands, or my mouth. I don’t identify with it the same way you do, and it’s not my central sex act.”

This seems like a rather rare perspective for cis men, especially given that our entire (American, white, dominant) sexual culture is pretty much built around penises and penetration and the male erection, etc, but I think it’s more common than we’d expect.

Likewise, I have known some femmes who have been some of the most cock-centric people I’ve ever met. They drive a mean strap-on, as they say. And I’ve known some butches and trans men who are not cock-centric at all, despite that it would seemingly align with their masculine gender to be so.

Maybe this perspective of mine is also partly as a result of coming out as queer into a lesbian community which questioned cocks constantly. I have absolutely heard girls say, “If I wanted to get fucked with a cock, I’d date a man!” (Who I, duh, didn’t sleep with. More than once.) So coming to my own desire for using a cock and my own cock-centricty, while at the same time coming to a butch identity though not transitioning to male, I claimed cocks as a certain sex act that I separated from any particular identity.

Because anything two lesbians do in bed is lesbian by nature of the definition, no matter what act it is.

Unless, you know, it’s not – I certainly don’t want to devalue the experience of being in lesbian relationships and doing a whole lot of cock-centric activities, and for one of them to later come to a male identity. Perhaps for folks who go through that, the act was not exclusively lesbian, but was also male in a way. My point is, I want to squelch the fear that lesbians can’t use cocks in their sex play because it’s “not lesbian.”

That is not to say that strapping on or identifying with a cock is genderless. It interrelates to gender identity, presentation, and celebration – but which ways it interrelates depends on the individual. For me, it absolutely plays on my gender fetish and the way I see myself as embodying a masculine gender, and I LOVE to play with that during sex (as, uh, the entire Internet knows). And femmes who strap on cocks and play with them have told me that they see cocks as part of their gender, too – that part of the turn-on awesomeness of the whole experience is that it supposedly misaligns with their gender, that their sparkly pink harness and dick is all the more sexy to them because it’s femme.

I suppose there are a few kinds of cock-centricty, right – because I’d say Kristin is fairly cock-centric, but she isn’t into wearing one and fucking with one the way I am. For the most part I’m referring to folks who want to be the wearers here, who identify with it as a part of them.

If you’re cock-centric, you’re cock-centric; I don’t think that necessarily should dictate your gender identity. Cock-centricity is not necessarily a masculine or male trait. Gender identity may be totally related, somewhat related, or not related at all – I think that just depends. For me, the interplay of gender and my cock is important, and I love the way it feels to use it, the way I feel when I’m packing, the way it feels to get off while fucking with a cock, the turn-on of dirty talking about my hard dick, the ways it drives me wild to get a blow job. It is part of my masculine sexuality, but I have many other parts of masculinity that are not necessarily sexual, and I’ve explored the line between butch and trans enough that, for now, I know I’m pretty firm where I’m at. I still struggle with some descriptors like “girl,” “woman,” and “daughter,” but the other options of “son,” “man,” and “boy,” don’t fit either. So, for now, I’m sticking with butch.

I’d love to hear what some cock-centric (or non-cock-centric) gay boys have to say about this, I’m not sure how it translates (though I have some guesses). I will have to ask around.

Free Copy of Ivan Coyote’s book Loose End

September 15, 2009  |  miscellany  |  10 Comments

looseendIvan E. Coyote, Top Hot Butches Number Six and amazing storyteller, writer, and performer, has a new book out this year from Arsenal Pulp Press called The Slow Fix. I just picked it up when Kristen and I were in Philadelphia about a month ago at Giovanni’s Room, which, by the way, was one of the most amazing queer bookstores I’ve ever been in. Such a wonderful collection of books there, I could’ve bought twenty – I settled on three.

And, I just heard from Arsenal Pulp Press that they’ve got a promotion going on through September 30th – “FREE Ivan E. Coyote Book, Loose End, and with this download, you are also entitled to a SPECIAL 25% DISCOUNT off the purchase of any or all of Ivan’s books, SIGNED BY THE AUTHOR.

I think I have all of them, but I might be missing one. I’ll have to double check. Hmm, maybe this is a good holiday gift – who’s on my list that would like Ivan’s books? I’m sure I can come up with a few.

Top Hot Butches #21, #17, and #6

August 5, 2009  |  miscellany  |  12 Comments

l-r: Lyndell Montgomery (#21), Bren Ryder (#17), and Ivan E. Coyote (#6) at Ivan’s recent 40th Birthday bash in Vancouver. Note the SIX shirt Ivan’s showing off – a reference to Ivan’s Top Hot Butches number, and a gift from Lyndell.

Thanks to Ivan’s partner Zena for snapping this shot and sending it to me (and telling me I could post it).

Take a minute to read Hats Off To Beautiful Femmes, a bit of a follow up to Ivan’s recent Butch Roadmap column. And happy birthday, Ivan!

A Butch Roadmap

July 16, 2009  |  on butches  |  8 Comments

Ivan Coyote (#6 in the Top Hot Butches list), has just released a piece on his column for xtra.ca called A Butch Roadmap, and it really is a must-read. Here’s a snippet (reprinted with permission):

The word for you is butch. Remember this word. It will be used against you.

The word for you is butch. Your history is one of strength, and survival, and largely silent. Do not hide this word under your shirt. Do not whisper it, or sweep it under the basement stairs. Let it fill up your chest and widen your shoulders. Wear it like a sleeve tattoo, like a medal of valour.

Learn to recognize other butches for what they really are: your people. Your brothers or sisters. Both are just words that mean family.

Other butches are not your competition, they are your comrades.

Be there when they need you. Go fishing together. Help each other move. Polish your rims or your chrome or your boots together. See these acts for what they really are: solidarity.

Do not give your butch friend a hard time about having a ponytail, a pomeranian, nail polish, or a smart car. Get over yourself. You are a rare species, not a stereotype.

Trim your nails short enough that you could safely insert your fingers into your own vagina, should you ever want to.

It makes me want to write my own butch roadmap, my own tips and tricks and suggestions and ideas for being butch and pursuing this identity. I’ll have to think on this idea for a while, let it percolate.

What about you – what kind of things would be on your butch roadmap? Or femme roadmap?

Top Hot Butches of 2009: Help!

May 27, 2009  |  on butches  |  52 Comments

The 2009 AfterEllen Hot 100 list was announced on May 11th – it’s “the sexiest women according to women” (as opposed to other hot lists, which are picked by men). I kinda enjoy this list, I’ve followed AE’s lists in the past few years, but this year especially I looked through it thinking, where are all the butches?

Seriously, in this, 2009, The Year Of Dr. Rachel Maddow’s Serious Badassness, there are only … what, 6? (at best) genderqueer, andro, or masculine women included in the list of 100 hot women.

This year, unlike other years, AE also put out some supplemental lists of Out Women, Women of Color, and Women Over 40. Aw, isn’t that nice – they’re at least recognizing that this Hot 100 Chosen By Women List is completely lacking in women who are publically out, not white, and not young. And yet … still no acknowledgment that, according to this list, sexy women are feminine.

If there’s anything I’ve learned from running Sugarbutch for three years, it’s that there are a whole lot of y’all out there who think butches and genderqueerness and masculinity on women is hot.

So, let me introduce to you: the 2009 Sugarbutch Top Hot Butches list.

Here’s how it’s going to work:

  1. Leave a comment nominating a genderqueer, andro, masculine, or butch woman who did something awesome in 2009 (or late 2008). Like the other top hot lists, this list will lean more toward celebrities and folks who are somehow in the public sphere. Linking to a hot photo of her or to an article about her would be a bonus. NOTE: these women do not have to identify as butch, but should be at least somewhat masculine, androgynous, or genderqueer in appearance. It would be best if she was out, but that won’t ban her from the list.
  2. A panel of judges will determine the order of hotness. (I know, other hot lists are chosen by voting, but I am not able to compile and coordinate and count votes, so this is the best way to do it.) The panel will include a couple self-identified butches, some femmes who love butches, and a few genderqueer folks who love butches too. I’ll announce the judges soon.  The list will be judged by sexiness primarily, but other factors include: impact on society, major accomplishments, queer community work, etc. If you’ve got other suggestions for how we should determine a) who should be on this list or b) how we should determine the order, leave that in the comments too.
  3. The list will be posted on Sugarbutch in June for all your swooning butch-love attention.

So, tell me – who are the hottest butches in 2009?

What do you call your butch?

April 20, 2009  |  on butches  |  36 Comments

Specifically, when she’s a top, what do you call her in bed? Sir? Daddy? Master? Boi? If she’s a bottom, what do you call her?

What do you call your butch in more casual flirtation? Slick? Handsome? Cowboy?

If you are butch: what do you like to be called? What greeting makes your knees weak, or makes you feel like king of the world?

I’m sure there are others, but these spring to mind. There are so many cute pet names for a romantic partner, but when playing intentionally with gender in a relationship, sometimes “baby” or “honey” or “sweetie” or “darling” are too feminine.

So: how do you address someone masculine in a pet-name kind of way? And why?

On Butch Eyebrows: waxed or natural?

March 31, 2009  |  on butches  |  13 Comments

That’s the question I posed to the hive mind an hour ago. And like all terribly important dilemma questions, I got a slew of responses:

eyebrows2

I especially like what Janie said – that eyebrows “should be sculpted minimally to best feature one’s eyes.” Uh, so, how does one do that?

And you’re going to have to educate me I’m afraid: wtf is this “threading” business? I thought it was similar to waxing. Why recommend it in particular for butches? What’s the difference? I’m confused.

PS: I promise I won’t turn this blog into a mirror of what I’m doing on twitter. There are much smut and omphaloskepsis and media reviews and gender explorational writings in progress.

L Word Serenade

January 18, 2009  |  miscellany  |  7 Comments

Rap video by comedian Rebecca Drysdale, aka Beck D. Posted in honor of the L Word's last season, premiering today. I am one of the many dykes who has a love/hate relationship with the L Word ...

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Queer Eye Candy is back!

December 15, 2008  |  miscellany  |  5 Comments

It’s official – the Eye Candy has moved off of Sugarbutch Chronicles and is now on QueerEyeCandy.com, being maintained by myself and Amber and Denise.

BIG thank you to both of them for helping me out! Round of applause, please!

The focus remains on butch/femme portraits and photos and images. Please continue to submit pictures of you, your sister, your girlfriend, your wife, your gang, your crew, your best friends, your ex, your teachers, your mentors, your lovers.

Portrature – especially self-portrature – was actually a big piece of my own personal identity development, and I think it’s really important to see ourselves reflected, to be able to study photos of myself and say, is that what I look like? really? as I was discovering and uncovering and creating and re-creating my own aesthetic.

I was just looking at some old photos this weekend and found some after I’d cut my hair all off (in 2000) but before I was claiming butch, when I was dying my hair red and still wearing lipstick. I found a photo of me with a daisy chain crown, and no I am not kidding. It was a trip to look through the photos, watch my hair change as my haircuts started getting more and more butch, after I stopped dying it red and stopped wearing low-cut shirts, when I started figuring out what I really wanted my gender to be, what my soft animal body really loved and how I felt most comfortable, most like myself.

As butches and femmes, we don’t see ourselves in popular media, except usually as a stereotype or a (usually unflattering) archetype. I mean we don’t even see lesbians reflected in popular media all that often, let alone queers or genderqueers or butches and femmes – which is partially why we consume and watch and love just about any film that has lesbian characters, just about any book with lesbian characters, just about any crappy TV show with lesbian characters (*cough*L Word*cough*), because we are so starved to see images of ourselves reflected back to us, some semblance of recognition or some flash of similarities between our lives and the lives of the stories we watch and consume.

Aside from the validation of seeing queer eye candy, there’s also the personal revelations of just figuring out what your body looks like, how others might see us externally – shifting the gaze from seeing out through our eyes to seeing what our eyes look like from outside. It’s powerful, and brings, I think, a greater self-awareness and, hopefully, self-confidence.

Speaking of self-confidence: what I said before about requiring comments on Queer Eye Candy still holds true. I don’t write for comments, I don’t expect people to comment on my own things (though I of course appreciate it), but the photos that are sent in are often from people who are not used to having a web presence, are not used to revealing themselves for a queer audience to consume and judge.

Putting images of yourself out there like this is vulnerable. Scary: What if I’m not butch enough? What if I’m not femme enough? What if I’m not really hot? Come on, all of us think that when we see images of ourselves posted.

This is not a “hot or not” project – this is more of a project a la Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink – what does your brain do when you first glance at the queer eye candy photo? Do you think “hubba hubba, omg hot!!”? WRITE THAT. Do you think “holy crap I have that same shirt! I wonder if it looks that good on me?” WRITE THAT. Do you think “Oh good lord, I would marry her on looks alone”? (That’s Bevin’s line I shamelessly stole.) GO FOR IT.

This is about building self-confidence through appearance. About celebrating the myriad of ways that butch and femme get represented through visual styles and identity.

So: Submit photos. Comment on photos. And you will make this top very, very happy.

From the Queer Eye Candy mission statement:

You might be afraid of us, but you don’t know who we are.

We’re hot, we’re fierce, we’re vulnerable, we’re beautiful, we’re in love, we’re horribly ugly, we’re scared, we’re tender-hearted, we’re dog mommies and daddies, we’re parents, we’re children, we’re neices and nephews, we’re married, we’re bachelors, we’re rednecks, we’re blue-collar, we’re construction workers, we’re political pundits, we’re musicians, we’re drag performers, we’re community organizers, we’re angry, we’re activists, we’re just us.

Let’s show off who we are. Let’s show those who don’t know what we look like, let’s show off who we love and who we spend our time with, let’s show off our joyous communities and our heartaches and our hardships and our work and our play and our joy.

Let’s celebrate ourselves, just as we are.

and the winner is …

December 12, 2008  |  journal entries  |  2 Comments

The envelope please: Thanks to the random number generator, the winner of the DVD of Good Dyke Porn is ... samantha! In addition to the DVD of Good Dyke Porn, we're also sending you butch comic Kelli Dumham's new CD Almost Pretty. Many more giveaways to come!

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