Hard Handed Femme, Guest Post by Dena Hankins (Excerpt from Lysistrata Cove)

This story contains consensual BDSM play, including choking, punching, and foreplay.

As she circled the large structures for rope play in the middle of the room, she found him.

Jack stood with his feet spread like a sailor, arms crossed over a black chest harness that came together in the middle of his back at a shiny ring, probably stainless steel. His compass rose tattoo covered the bulk of his skin, with the light scribing of chart details radiating along his shoulders and sides, disappearing into his dark blue jeans. He was in three-quarter profile, and she could see the tattooed chain loop around his arm and cross his shoulders, but not the anchors on his forearms. His tousled hair caught the light over the scene he watched, giving him a nimbus that contrasted with the dirty-boy tone of his presentation.

She must have come into his range of vision, because he started and turned toward her. His arms dropped away from his chest, covered only with the leather straps and a buckle so that she could see his nipples harden. She’d planned to start aloof and make him work for her attention, but she couldn’t contain her sly smile. No reason to stick to a plan when an opportunity stared one straight in the face.

She wanted to walk right to him and grab him by the neck. She wanted to see his eyes widen and feel his breath catch, but, yes, a DM wandered close by. She’d have to give the impression of negotiating.

Eve stared into Jack’s eyes as she approached, daring him to look away. She stopped so close his short breaths warmed her neck. The couple of inches she had on him gave her the high ground and she took it. “I want to beat you with my hands, open and fisted, and fuck you with your granite cock. Do you agree to that and the conditions for play that we set out both the night at my house and in our video chat conversation?”

“Yes, Eve.” He didn’t hesitate.

“Are you ready to start?”

“Yes, Evrim.”

The joy burst through her. To be heard and understood, for him to remember and value her ways. What a gift.

Not that it softened her. Anything but.

“Get the cock and take care of any side trips you need to make. Meet me in that corner,” she pointed, “with two bottles of water and your cock as soon as you’re done. Don’t change anything you’re wearing.” She dropped her eyes to the lump in his pants, either a packing cock or stuffing. She’d find out later.

“Yes, Evrim.”

Evrim watched him walk away, nearly laughing out loud at the skip in his step. No second thoughts from this one. Evrim draped the sling with an absorbent pad and put another on the spanking horse for good measure. She turned to find Jack at her side and struck as swiftly as a rattlesnake.

A groan tore through her throat at the feeling of Jack’s throat under her hard hand. She squeezed the muscles on either side of his trachea and his wide eyes flickered. “Give me the cock.”

He handed it over and she put it on the table without looking away from him. He kept his hands down and stood still, waiting for her to do what she would.

Evrim drew out the moment. He flushed slowly, though she wasn’t cutting off his blood flow. She stared at him from inches away until his throat jerked hard against her palm and his eyelids fell to half-mast. That was the signal she’d been waiting for.

A hard, thudding blow to his chest with the side of her fist. He shuffled his feet to lean into the blows he correctly expected, and she tenderized him, beating him slowly, heavily, between his collarbone and his nipples. She switched sides, releasing his throat to do so, then used both hands, simultaneously and in a rhythm that drew the first sounds from him. Grunts, groans, signs that it was starting to hurt, that his reddening, swelling flesh was signaling its danger to his brain.

She kept going, finding the edge where he groaned without screwing up his eyes, then going over it. Her hands glowed, receiving just as much of a beating as they were providing, and Evrim gave herself a break by switching it up.

With her palms flat on his tenderized chest, she shoved hard enough that he swayed, then brought himself back with a flex of his stomach muscles. Fucking hot. She made him do it again, for the sheer pleasure of watching his body jerk, then dug her fingertips into the area she’d beaten. He flinched, his shoulders curving in as though to shield himself from the pain, but his hands remained by his sides.

“You may put your hands on my waist.”

His eyes darted to hers, his surprise clear. “Thank you, Evrim.”

Hmm. Telling, that. He wasn’t used to having permission to touch his top. What kind of services had he performed in the past?

“But keep your shoulders back. If you need me to slow down or wait, tell me.”

“Yes, Evrim.”

When his hands touched her corseted waist, she could barely feel him. Not at all what she was after. She put a finger out and pressed it lightly against the end of his nipple. He stiffened as though electrocuted and his hands tightened on her. Better.

Evrim stroked both his nipples, squeezed them, gathered them in her hands, and pulled. Everything she did brought him to a higher level of tension until he was strung far too tight to maintain it. She punched him hard with the sides of both fists, three times in a row, and he shouted.

At that sound of release, Evrim unleashed her craving. She beat and pulled and twisted and squeezed, moving too fast for Jack to process one sensation before another crashed over him. She overwhelmed him, and his cries became nonstop repetitions of two words that flew into her like thunderous rain.

“Please yes please yes…”

His unfocused eyes drifted with the rain of blows, then flashed their shock when she reached around to grab what she could of his short hair and pull his head back. She pinched his nipple hard at the same time she pulled him into her body. She bit the strong muscle of his shoulder, and the combination made him hold on to her as though he would fall otherwise. She pulled him in and squeezed hard.

Breath sobbed from his open mouth against her neck, hot and damp. His body shook and twitched in her arms, and she held them solid for him. When his arms went slack, she nudged him with her hip, got him moving backward, and bypassed the spanking horse for the sling. She’d beat his ass and thighs another day. He was primed for a deep, hard fucking.


Pick up Dena Hankins’s new book, Lysistrata Cove, and read all about the adventures of Jack and Evrim.

Microagressions & Misgendering: “Right this way, ladies.”

Interacting with service industry folks—in restaurants, at retail stores, at airports, schools, or health care offices—can be daunting and exhausting for genderqueer folks like me. It is so, so common for me and the group of queer folks I’m with to be referred to as “ladies” (which tells you that I don’t spend a lot of time with genderqueer or cis or trans men, which is true actually, I’m very much in a dyke bubble), and I feel so deflated when that happens.

No, no. It’s not just ‘deflated,’ though yes that’s part of it. It’s also a very real microagression. It’s a very real way that the larger culture, made up of thousands of individuals, gender polices us into binary categories and reminds anybody outside of those categories that we are wrong, unseen, invisible, and unimportant.

This has happened to me for years. It’s kind of related to the thing that happens when genderqueer folks have to pee in public and get hassled in both the women’s or the men’s bathrooms (and there’s a variety of pieces of activism and public awareness happening around that one, too—see, for example, Ivan Coyote’s recent Tedx talk We all need a safe place to pee). But while I can actually hold out and only pee in certain (single-stall) bathrooms, and I can have some control over peeing in public, it’s much harder to just not go interact with any service people, so as to avoid this issue.

Look, I get it. Caring that I’m addressed as “miss” or “ma’am” or that friends and I are called “ladies” sometimes seems like a very small thing on a trans activism scale, especially when so many trans women were murdered in 2015. Sometimes I think this issue of language is a tiny, “politically correct” thing that I should just let go and stop caring so damn much.

And I’ve heard folks say, “Hey, I don’t care if they call me/us ‘ladies,’ because at least they’re being nice to us and not kicking us out of this restaurant.” Which also tells you that I have primarily been queer and genderqueer and visibly different in cities and liberal small towns not so much in places more dangerous to queers.

This issue of gendering groups as a microagression has a certain amount of privilege in it. Absolutely.

And, as someone who continues to move in liberal circles, in large urban areas, in trans- and queer-centered communities, this hurts my feelings. Frequently. Daily.

Gender Perception & Getting a Thicker Skin

Part of the answer, I think, is actually to get a ‘thicker skin’, and I think in general folks who are outside of the mainstream do need to develop a good, solid sense of self, bolstered by community and lovers and theory and random strangers on the internet, to just deal with the reality that not everybody gets us. And for genderqueer and gender non-conforming and masculine of center and feminine of center folks, and trans folks who aren’t exactly ‘passing’ to some cis standard, developing a thicker skin is important. I think we also just need to be very discerning about when we want to offer some education, or feedback, and when we want to just go about our lives. Sometimes it’s exhausting to try to change the world all the time, to come up against gender norms, to fight against the binary system. And sometimes I just need to buy some eggs and get off to my meeting, and who cares what that person sees me as or thinks of me or what words they use.

That’s kind of about “gender perception,” right—the idea that part of your gender identity is how you are perceived by others. (The Gender Book has a great page on gender perception, click on the image in the 4th row 1st column here.) Personally, I’ve struggled with this—not that there’s some way I want to be perceived and am not, but rather I’ve struggled with the idea that what other people think of you matter or should affect one’s sense of self at all. It’s taken me some time to see how important it is, and to go through some of my own identity developments where my identities are then somewhat invisible, and aren’t perceived by others, and to have that really piss me off, has helped me understand how valuable it is at times in people’s lives.

Sometimes, I think how others perceive me is very important. Especially if it’s someone I interact with all the time—my family, my friends, my close community; even someone who works somewhere that I regularly frequent. Those are all important, and I do tend to (eventually) say something about gender, or make a comment about my pronouns. But for the person who is checking me out at the grocery store, or the server at a restaurant I rarely (if ever) go to? Most of the time, I just don’t have the energy to have that conversation. I used to, I suppose, but after more than 15 years of this happening? I just don’t anymore.

Okay wait: a note on class

This kind of misgendering most often happens in the service industry, so I want to write something here about class. I hope we are being aware of the class implications of speaking up or attempting to shift the way a server or service provider is gendering you/us. As a working/artist class person my whole life, I am acutely aware of how we treat folks in the service industry, and I think it’s SO important to enter into conversations with service folks with respect. The amount of pejorative, condescending language and tones that are used with service folks is horrible. And there’s a lot of unexamined privilege in folks who have never really been in a service position, or who have been out of the service industry for a long time. They’re a person, you’re a person. So I just want to encourage us all to watch our conversations here, and to do some examining about what we think of the service industry, and to ask ourselves if that’s really true. (For example: That everyone who works there isn’t smart enough to get a job anywhere else, or must have failed at other jobs, or must not be very good at anything. Probably none of those are true, but they are common stereotypes about service folks.)

Also: as a genderqueer/GNC person, I know that I don’t always have the patience and clarity it takes to interact in moments of microagressions with lots of respect and precision. I just don’t—sometimes I snap and it comes out yucky. Which is another reason, I suppose, why I’ve kind of stopped speaking up in most of these moments of misgendering—because I don’t want to be rude to someone who is just doing their job.

But sometimes, I do want to say something. And I do love how there are some new options (I’ll get to that in a minute, I swear—down at the bottom of this post) for conversations and becoming more aware of gendered language.

Ultimately: I want to strive for respecting folks when I am consuming their services, and be aware of the class implications.

Oh hey, here’s another question: I assume servers at restaurants and cashiers at shops aren’t trained to say “ladies” and “guys,” right? I’ve never actually been a server (though I’ve been a cashier for many years), so I’m not totally clear. It’s so SO so prevalent in the restaurant worlds that sometimes I think it must be in the handbook! But maybe it’s just in the culture? Unspoken, uninforced, but somehow we all absorb it? I’m curious about that.

Download the Gender-Neural Language Sheet

So this is a new possible way to interact with this service/misgendered language issue: the Queer Resource Center in BC adapted a card into a “gender neutral language sheet”, and you can download them for free here.

Toni Latour released “Hello There” cards earlier in 2015, in collaboration with Jenny Lynn and James Alexander Kelly. She’s not the first person I’ve heard who had this idea—in fact, when I first saw the image, I thought, drat, I wasn’t fast enough. I’ve had this thought many times, and I even remember sketching up a draft of it in Oregon on a road trip with rife in 2013. But Toni Latour is the one who made them and printed them up.

And now, the BC Queer center adapted Latour’s “Hello There” cards to be more inclusive and less “ladies” specific. Latour’s cards read:

Hello-2

When greeting customers, instead of saying ladies, gentelmen, ma’am, sir, girls, guys, and the like, please consider using gender neutral language. Here are some options: “Good morning folks.” “Hi everyone.” “Can I get you all something?” “And for you?” “Thanks friends, have a wonderful night.” Why? Shifting to gender neutral language respects and acknowledges the gender identities of all people and removes assumption. Join the movement to be more mindful of language. And if you make a mistake and misgender someone, it’s okay, say sorry once and move on. Thank you for making an effort!

The revised cards from QBC read:

hellothere

When greeting others, avoid ladies, gentlemen, ma’am, sir, girls, guys, etc. Consider using instead: “Thanks friends, have a great night.” “Good morning, folks!” “Hi, everyone!” “And for you?” “Can I get you all something?” Why? Shifting to gender-inclusive language respects and acknowledges the gender identities of all people and removes assumption. Be mindful of language.

A note about “guys.”

A lot of folks have said that they use “guys,” and that that is gender neutral. I just want to go on record and say that I disagree, actually, it is not. I do understand that in this culture, we very often hear groups of various gendered people referred to as “guys,” and that it’s presumed to include everyone in the group, not just the young-ish men. I do understand that it is intended to mean “everyone” or “people” or “hey you folks over there.” However, in the realities of language, it is not neutral: it is masculine.

That this society treats the masculine, the male, the man, as the default and indeed as the ‘neutral’ is precisely one of the most sexist issues at play here. When something as fundamental as our language says that men are the norm and the default, and women are the other and the strange, then it affects every other aspect of our culture, too. (There are many writings and resources on this concept out there, I’m sure … I remember studying it extensively in language & gender studies classes in college in 2002. I’m not sure where to point you for more on it, though. Anybody have a good resource to recommend?)

I can often default to calling everybody “guys,” especially when talking to masculine of center queers and genderqueer folks, but I try not to. It’s inaccurate, and frankly it perpetuates the notion that masculinity is the norm, and I don’t want to do that. But, I’m a total nerd about language and gender, so I know that not everybody wants to do that kind of work on how they see the world and interact with words. I’m hoping, though, since you are still reading, that you have that interest and intention.

On Standing Up for Someone Else

Funny enough, this whole thing just happened this weekend, when the server referred to our table—two butches and a femme—as “ladies,” and I had a similar conversation about what we can/should do about it. The femme who was there asked us what our reaction was to it, and if it felt appropriate for her to say something, which I really appreciated. Honestly, when I’ve been in mixed gender groups, often it’s the folks who do not identify as ‘ladies’ who speak up the least, and sometimes having someone else speak up on my behalf makes me feel even more tired and exhausted and segregated and spotlighted—which doesn’t feel good. I think it has in the past made me feel very taken care of, and protected, but these days, it makes me feel annoyed and too singled out to have someone say something on my behalf.

I mean, if you want to speak up about this because it bugs you, by all means please do so, and I got your back. But if you want to speak up because you think that I am insulted and deflated and am now reacting to a microagression and want/need/would appreciate someone else speaking up for me, please don’t.

So if you’re someone who wants to speak up on behalf of someone else, perhaps you could just check in with them and make sure that you are acting in their best interest, and not just projecting your discomfort onto them.

Is this conversation completely among trans/masculine people?

I’m glad that the edits between the first “Hello There” cards and the new Gender Neutral Language Sheet have moved from being less lady-centric, but it makes me wonder: How does this happen in the service industry for folks who are not masculine of center or trans masculine? I imagine similar things happen, getting addressed as “gentlemen” or “guys,” but maybe not? I’ll have to ask around and see what I can find about that.

Most of the dialogue that I’ve seen already around this is dominated by trans masculine folks, so I wonder how we can take up a little less space and ask more questions and talk about this in ways that are relevant to other folks. Or maybe it’s just a very trans masculine issue, and there’s nothing wrong with that really—it just could mean that the conversation is a bit different.

Regardless, I’m curious about why this is so centered on masculinity, and if that’s because of old fashioned sexism and overvaluing the masculine (which is my guess). Still gathering more data about this.

I’m also curious about server’s experiences of this, if you all have been corrected and what you’ve done about it, and where that form of address comes from.

This is not a conclusion

This is not the end of my thoughts about this, but it’s a start. I am curious to see these cards gaining in popularity and making the rounds, and glad to see a second version of them made. I definitely plan to carry some around with me.