Disclaimer: This post contains purely my experience and my ideas feel free to repost and comment. I apologize for the jumbled mess of thoughts.. this was a take two as the first post got delete by accident…
There was recently the discussion of Butch and the lowering numbers of women that identify as such. This is a recount of my experience with the word Butch and as I’d known it to be adapted and used.
In high school i had a tomboy female friend of Mexican descent. She isn’t queer but her family nickname was “butch”. This was the first time i heard the term and really ever had the chance to associate it with anything. She hated it. So much so that the first day of Senior year she had changed her whole persona. She was wearing makeup and tight clothes and her hair was tightly curled and flowing… she looked uncomfortable as hell but she asserted that this was the new her. When i asked her why she simply stated, “cause i’m tired of everyone thinking i’m gay when i’m not”.
So from the jump i had the assumption that “butch” was not cool or acceptable. When i began looking for a sense of community.. i looked around me and found… well nothing. I turned to the internet but when i was seeking other women that looked like me… because i had no term for it or label to identify with all i found was this word BUTCH… and when i saw what this word was associated with.. it wasn’t me.. because all i found was images of White women… no latinas, no asians, no blacks, no islanders, no middle eastern women… just WHITE women…
Growing up in the SF bay area i found little to no Black, Out Queer women to look up to. I found myself feeling isolated and alone for quite some time. When i did find other MOC/Tomboi/non-femme black women they all identified as Stud/Dom/Ag. Butch wasn’t a part of their vocabulary. So i guess its safe to assume that even within my initial knowledge of the Black LGBTQ community racism or adapting “white” labels was a no-go.
As i grew of course i found that the term “butch” could be applied cross-racially it was still never something i could hold on to or claim fully (meaning that’s not all that i am in my masculinity). To me its like the difference between Womanist and Feminist, there are certain cultural aspects to me that one embraces and the other doesn’t. I to this day don’t find many women of African descent that identify as butch, however in my experience i have found more API, Asian and Latina/Chicana women that have… i know there are those black/African-Descent women that do solely identify as butch so i’m not ignorant to their existence i’m just simply stating that from what I’ve lived they aren’t in abundance and i’m wondering if there is an inherent “race” associated with the label/term.
I strive to be that strong Stud/Butch/Ag/Dom role model that i didn’t have for this new generation of queer babies. I just hope that i’m doing a good job.