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Old 10-24-2021, 01:23 PM   #1
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I've been questioning if I'm transgender for a while, or if I'm trans masc, butch, gnc, etc. What I want to know is what was your experience with being butch? Do you align more on the femme or masc side of butch? Was there a time you questioned your gender identity? Did you go through any sort of transition (social, medical, etc)?
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Old 10-27-2021, 11:42 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Ender View Post
I've been questioning if I'm transgender for a while, or if I'm trans masc, butch, gnc, etc. What I want to know is what was your experience with being butch? Do you align more on the femme or masc side of butch? Was there a time you questioned your gender identity? Did you go through any sort of transition (social, medical, etc)?

What I am reflecting on here is my journey. These are my feelings and experiences and my interpretation of said journey. It is not meant to reflect the feelings or beliefs of this community, the management, the general population, society itself or anyone else but me.

Butch to me is best described as female masculinity. I doubt everyone understands it that way, but that's how I feel it.

I have, over the years, spent a lot of time struggling against masculinity, in all its permutations, variations, configurations and presentations. Once upon a time I rejected my own masculinity. I have viewed masculinity as synonymous with misogyny. I believed the term good man was an oxymoron. Although I had men in my life I loved dearly, men who were good and kind, I saw them as anomalies. They were the few exceptions to the rule that men are patently unpleasant.

To me in the past, generally speaking, men, male, or masculine meant trouble and pain for women. There was no way to live in this society and not be taught to view male as superior to female. Unless you lived separate from society since birth in some sort of matriarchy, on some level, consciously or unconsciously, to one degree or another, you would believe male trumped female. And unless you have done a whole lot of work on yourself, this notion is stuck in your head, whether you are aware of it or not. So man, male, masculine is, on a subconscious and systemic level, believed superior. It is ingrained in our hearts and minds. We live in a patriarchal society. To add insult to injury, most people, men and women alike, won’t accept the reality of male/masculine privilege and society's inherent misogynistic world view and how that deeply effects women in every aspect of their lives. Or if they do accept it, they diminish the damage done to women because of it. Like so many oppressive aspects of society the victims of the oppression are somehow made out to be the problem. The general consensus is that those who are oppressed need to just get over it and move on and stop annoying the privileged with your whining.

My understanding of the male of the species was that men viewed women as lesser versions of human beings who were, or at least should be, subservient to them. Masculinity has more value, more currency, than femininity to men (and most women as well), and unless men are looking for something to fuck, it is another male whose company they seek. At best they were benevolent oppressors at worst violent and dangerous destroyers. All were dream killers.

No surprise that I found my own masculinity appallingly inconvenient.

I understood these feelings were problematic and would alienate me from masculine people (not to mention make them want to punch me in the face). And even more disturbing considering I was a masculine person, it would alienate me from myself. I spent a great deal of time working on this. I try very hard NOT to eliminate 50% of the world’s population from my circle of value based on their sex or gender alone. I am pleased to say that I have been marginally successful to date. Thankfully I no longer believe all men/male/masculine people are the devil (some are his minions though.)

However, easily the most difficult issue for me to deal with was my own masculinity. I went through a variety of head tilting and a plethora of mental gymnastic type strategies to try and be comfortable in my own skin. At one point I decided it was not female masculinity I embodied regardless of what it felt like. I was simply doing woman/female my own way. I decided I would not let the patriarchy define what it means to be a woman for me. I would define woman in my own image. And my definition of myself did not include any masculine identifiers. That worked to a point, but there was always the problem of how I looked. You know the old adage if it looks like a duck? Well, I looked a lot like a duck, still do. Anyway, there were a few other similar issues that arose as well. All of them were of the same general duck theme.

Not only did I look masculine but I felt masculine in a lot of ways. Not all ways but enough ways so that I could tell the difference when I felt feminine. Which was way less than when I felt masculine. (I just want to clarify here that when I say I felt masculine or feminine, I am talking exclusively about feelings, not actions, not clothes or interests or anything other than feelings. Of course the way that I express these feelings could encompass outside things, but it's not about that) Anyway, I always felt female. Although in my younger days, I did question my gender identity. I was not comfortable with society's interpretation of female, hell, I wasn't comfortable with society's interpretation of male either. That did leave the possibility of understanding myself as another gender entirely, but I could never work out exactly what that might mean or how that might look. I guess it could look like me, but I was never able to come to terms with a third gender. I suppose it could be that duality thing. That is pretty much engrained in us all. I think it would be better for everyone all the way around if we could universally as one single minded organism just stop using the duality mode of quantification. In addition to the duality thing, we also use gradation usually in terms of a hierarchy. Regarding gender, I'm sure it is no surprise that the most masculine portrayal is firmly entrenched in the top spot.

There are many people who were born female and are quite comfortable in their own masculinity. I just wasn't one of them. I was a tiny bit envious of butches who were comfortable considering themselves male. It always seemed like there must be a certain easy simplicity to owning one's masculinity. But I was never at ease with leaving the gender of woman behind. I always identified with being a woman and with other women. I am deeply connected to women. However, regardless of whether I prefer being female, my masculinity would not be denied. I have a better chance of denying my femininity and I suppose upon occasion I have done just that. Femmes may find female masculinity hot but butch femininity, not so much. Although losing either diminishes me.

I no longer shy away from the term feminine. I fought too hard to own it and define it my way. Not just female, but woman and feminine. It’s all mine. My birthright. My sex is female and because of that I am subject to all that means in our society. I wouldn’t have it any other way. My identifying as female was often looked at as suspect, like I was cheating in some way, like I was purposely refusing to display agreed upon conduct and refusing to look a certain way but stubbornly kept holding onto female as my gender. Because of that degree of difficulty for me to just be female, the identity of woman was always very close to my heart, something I refused to relinquish. There’s a look I sometimes get from guys when they realize I am a woman. They always looked kind of pissed, like I was trying to put one over on them. I know if it was possible to strip woman from someone’s identity there are people (some family members included) who would have happily done that to me (either that or beat the masculinity out of me). I guess it just seems greedy to them to keep both. I think it's that people are more comfortable living in a world of duality. You are either hot or cold, in or out, male or female. I think my parents would have been much happier had I decided to transition. At least I would have made sense to them.

I never chose to refuse to look like what society has decided a woman should look like. I never refused to do stuff women enjoy just to be stubborn. I had this silly idea I should just be true to myself and that would be okay. I also believed I was female and there was nothing I had to do to be that. I just was that. So being anything other than female just wasn’t an option for me. I am a woman and happy to be so. Consequently upon occasion I will do feminine things. Hell I know some guys that upon occasion do feminine things. Personally I think the problem arises from gendering thinking processes, emotional responses, and inanimate objects. When you think about it, it is an absolutely ridiculous thing to do. Why do people feel the need to run around gendering things?

There have been times I've felt that I didn't fit the definition of butch because of the masculine rigidity surrounding the definition. There have been situations where I have felt pressured into male posturing by butch friends. I have had people question my journey wondering when i would reach the logical conclusion of transitioning. I have had past partners express displeasure if I chose to wear something they deemed too feminine.

Male/masculinity is highly valued and well guarded, the borders diligently patrolled so that if you straddle the edges you need to leave your femininity behind. You can gain access even with a vagina but you must denounce it in some way. At the very least you must denounce femininity. Perhaps you can keep female. Maybe even woman, but you cannot flaunt femininity in the face of masculinity. There is a degree of shaming that is directed toward butches who identify with and are comfortable in their own femininity. I just don’t think it has that much of an impact because if you are butch and still identify with your femininity you are way past being moved by misogynistic bullshit. By necessity you would have developed a degree of self-assuredness that would render you somewhat bulletproof. Of course if it’s from a partner, a woman you are dating, or someone you are interested in, kevlar is not impenetrable.
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Old 10-27-2021, 02:21 PM   #3
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Thanks for the question Ender, it's been so long since we've had a butch-femme-related topic of discussion on here! And also thank you Cin for your post. It was very interesting to read and brought the thread back up. I did see it earlier but was too busy to post.

When I was a little kid I really, really wanted to be a boy. I hated wearing dresses. I wanted to wear boy clothes and do boy things and have a girlfriend. My parents did let me be a tomboy though, so it wasn't completely bad. Once I grew up and learned what a lesbian was I thought oh that is what I am. I've never wanted to be male ever since.

I don't feel like I was born into the wrong body or biological sex. I also experience the world as a woman and I am treated as one. True, it isn't always in a good way and people are confused and don't know what to think of me, but I am not treated as a man. I am sometimes mistaken for male but it is only temporary and I have never experienced any male privilege out in the world. I don't feel feminine at all and feel like my masculinity is something very natural for me. I've never understood all of the anxiety over masculine women/girls or feminine men/boys. To me, it seems completely natural that some women are masculine and some men are feminine and it's no big deal. We'd all be better off if everyone was just allowed to be who they are.

I am not sure that will help at all Ender. I feel I am naturally masculine and a butch woman. I have never felt I was transgender, but I also think that is quite natural for many people.
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