A Butch Roadmap

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?

Published by Sinclair Sexsmith

Sinclair Sexsmith (they/them) is "the best-known butch erotica writer whose kinky, groundbreaking stories have turned on countless queers" (AfterEllen), who "is in all the books, wins all the awards, speaks at all the panels and readings, knows all the stuff, and writes for all the places" (Autostraddle). ​Their short story collection, Sweet & Rough: Queer Kink Erotica, was a 2016 finalist for a Lambda Literary Award, and they are the current editor of the Best Lesbian Erotica series. They identify as a white non-binary butch dominant, a survivor, and an introvert, and they live outside Seattle as an uninvited settler on traditional, ancestral, & unceded Snoqualmie land.

9 thoughts on “A Butch Roadmap”

  1. on my femme roadmap:

    embrace your femme-/femininity and make your own beauty. there will always be those who tell you that wearing heels, shaving your legs, getting your nails done are anti-feminist, are letting patriarchy dictate our selves and the ways we feel beautiful. but accepting that as truth is allowing something *else* to dictate our selves and our identities. listen only to your own soul, only you can know how best to be yourself.

  2. Jo says:

    Yes! Came across this last week, and it had me welling up and laughing at the same time.

    LOVE it.

  3. Fox says:

    To my roadmap, I would add: welcome the small children and their questions and remarks with a wide smile and a wink. They know something most grown-ups don't.

    Although the adults have pointed several times to the kids where I work that "I'm really a lady" and told them my first name just so they would accept what the grown-ups see as a fact and, the kids keep calling me "mister Fanny" when they see me. Oh and I witnessed the girls and the boys debating the subject with passion, the girls stating proudly that I'm really a girl, and the boys insisting that I'm actually part of their team…

  4. Robin Gordon says:

    The word for me is butch. It is a shout, a proclamation, a promise and a touchstone. It isn’t just ok it is proud, it is affirmative. It is me no longer defined by what I am not, what other people consider lacking: from forever I was not dainty, not pretty, not a lady, not straight, not passing, not even womynly, not not not. I am deliberately visible, and in the next minute not what you expect. I love to go to the barbershop, I love to pull my thin leather wallet out of my back pocket, I get called sir almost daily in public. I paint my toenails blue, work a whisk better than a drill and love to discuss the best name for an unusual colour.

    But all that is scenery. My butch roadmap directions simply read: love women, respect them, give them attention, make them feel special. Dig deep into the muck of masculinity and pull out that spark that is about the art of cherishing women who create themselves out of and in spite of the muck of femininity.

    I hope to meet you on the road.

  5. gajasimha says:

    LOL for the small children! Being asked out of the blue, "Teacher, are you a boy or a girl?" was one of my best moments.

    I know how important it is to have butch folks to look up to. I was blessed with them when I was a kid. Being a positive role model to kids of all genders is front and center in my roadmap.

  6. sam says:

    Slowly falling in love with this guy. Rawrrrrr.

  7. treesa says:

    I love hearing about folks' inner journeys and personal definitions when it comes to sex, gender, presentation, etc so I found this interesting, especially as a panamorous woman recently discovering that her "issues" are more with men than massculinity…. (Or vice versa? Bleh.)

    And as a writer, this whole piece just made me go WOW–the timing, the anecdotes, the diction! Perfect.

    Thanks for sharing, Sinclair :) Can't wait for yours, if you come up with one I (and others, I'm sure) would love to hear it!

  8. Frances says:

    Thank you for re-posting this.

    It's kjnd of a bummer that we are so prone to eating ourselves and each other that every major queer writer has to say this exact thing in some way or other.

    Ah well. Ivan says it beautifully. There's always that.

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