1. What is your relationship with the word or identity “butch?”
I identify as a butch woman. I think of “butch” as being a synonym for being a more masculine woman. When I was younger, I thought that butch meant tough, and I worried I wasn’t tough enough. I love pretty ladies and I used to think the only way to have a pretty lady love me back was to be more tough.
But now I’m realizing that toughness isn’t as strong as I thought it was, or at least it is different than I thought it was. Now, for me gentleness is king and I’ve found kindness to be the path to a more steadfast and stronger me.
So my understanding of what it is to be a butch woman looks different then it used to, maybe softer in some ways, less defensive. And, happily, it turns out that my pretty lady loves this gentle butch!
2. What kind of words and labels, if any, do you use to identify yourself?
Butch, queer, woman loving woman, woman, buddhist, peaceful warrior, runner, musician, songwriter, human …
3. What do you wish you could tell your younger self about sex, sexuality, or gender?
Hmmm… I would tell myself to relax and be patient more.
I’d tell myself that sex isn’t about being someone who is good in bed or having to perform. When I was younger, I had a bit of defensiveness about wanting to be as good as I thought maybe a man would be. Now I know that it’s so not even the point! Loving someone is loving someone. The parts aren’t a big thing. Connecting to the person you are with and loving them is better when there is vulnerability and real sharing.
I would also tell myself that there is a joy in discovering who you are and really the thing that matters most is cultivating the heart. I would encourage myself to care about the feelings that come up as a butch woman living in a culture that doesn’t see or recognize butch. I would tell myself that the fear, inadequacy, anger, and sense of outsider-ness that I felt wasn’t about me, and that it is a result of being in a culture that doesn’t recognize the butch woman.