Over my third helping of Thanksgiving treasures, and in between watching my TCU football team kick some UT arse, some friends and I began talking about masculine feminiity. Now granted we are all over 40, so this was definitely a generationally influenced discussion. However, we wondered about something one of us overheard – that there is a shortage of butch women. Did the changes come from evolving opinions and opportunities to transition from female to male? It forced us to examine ourselves. If we had it to do over again, would we have thought about transitioning? To answer, we traced our gay geneology. We recalled the first time we felt different from other girls and what that moment felt like. For me, I was in kindergarten and met my first school friend, Denise. She woke up my heart. It was the first time I remember liking a girl. From that point, it was a series of small crushes that evolved into a long series of conversations and a love/hate relationship with God. Prayer didn’t change me into a boy, but why was I praying to be a boy? Well, it wasn’t because I felt like a boy in a girl’s body. It was because then I could like girls and it’d be okay. I just wanted the freedom to like and love girls.
When I went to college, I found out that I could indeed like and love girls and, though it might not be okay to many, there was a community in which it was just fine. And even more, I found that I could be very masculine and still be a woman – a butch woman who loved women. A butch lesbian. I cannot imagine what it must feel like for those trapped in bodies they don’t want. I do know what it feels like to be trapped in an image and role that I don’t want, and it was worth it to take the risks to be me. If there is a shortage of butch women, I still don’t know why. Maybe the defining lines that used to be are outdated. Maybe it’s that what used to be a definite gay community is now scattered and mingled in the mainstream. We didn’t figure it out. But it was a jolly good time down memory lane and quite re-affirming that at least we were holding up our end of the butch tradition.