Where have all the butch lesbians gone?
It’s a question I see all the time on-line these days. This is the age of queer and gender theory, when being a masculine woman simply isn’t good enough any longer and one must transition in order to be seen and heard. So tons of butches and young teenage lesbians transition into men, thinking the hate they have for their bodies, the invisibility they feel, and the anger they have towards a society that mocks them daily will disappear.
So, where have we gone?
Most of us are kept silent, forced into the closet we already clawed our way out of because we are not allowed to talk about our lives. We are not allowed to openly discuss our love of our female bodies mixed with our masculine traits. We are not allowed to mention our mourning the loss of our butch sisters as they escape into the patriarchy we have spent our lives fighting against as it drags us, kicking and screaming into its binary system of thinking and being.
To do so means we are traitors to our own community, a community we helped to build and in 1969, a community for which we put ourselves out there and helped to start the Stonewall Riots. That’s another thing we are not allowed to talk about, by the way: Stonewall. The trans community has rewritten history so many times by taking away butches and replacing them with transmen that it is a wonder we even exist anymore.
The Stonewall riots were started by a butch and a drag queen, not a transman and a transwoman. Teena Brandon was a butch, not a transman. These are things we are not allowed to talk about without being called transphobes, without being threatened, without being bullied into silence by men (and the apologists who defend them) who cannot stand outspoken women.
It is not transphobic to celebrate the woman I am. It is not transphobic to not transition into a man in order to appease the patriarchy who demands that women are feminine and men are masculine. it is not transphobic to keep history true instead of allowing it to be changed by those who wish to use it to further their own agendas. It is not transphobic to speak my truths.
So instead of continuing to stay silent, I decided to create my own space where I can speak my truths and talk about my life as a butch woman, as a lesbian. I do not lead a glamorous life, I just lead my life and I wish to remain visible in this world of increasing butch invisibility so that other young women who are perhaps butch don’t get trapped in the false belief that if they are masculine, then they MUST be a man.
Again, thank you so much for this. It is horrific about how Butch and even Lesbian history is being stolen by the trans cult. Two men, one posing as a Lesbian wrote “Gay by the Bay” which completely gets our SF Bay Area Lesbian wrong. Of course they have more money and means than Butches do to write our own history.
Yes, because they feel the need to co-opt everything we have, they get a lot of things wrong and re-write history a LOT. It is really frustrating.
Someone recently posted an article about this very topic (where have the butches gone) in a butch/femme group I belong to and some of the women complained that it was invalidating their identities as high stone transensual femmes or judging people who transition or whatever. You know, it was about their i-dentity and demanding (as usual) that those of us who are (still) lesbians validate it and drop our own self-conceptions to cater to them, primarily by being ok with women who are not lesbians using the term “femme” and women who’ve decided that they’re really men being part of butch/femme social groups, meet ups, online spaces, etc. “He’s a man! Don’t invalidate his manhood! Of course men are welcome at this butch/femme space!” UGH.
I’m not sure if this will reach you…. I tried writing you by email, but that came back. I’m not intending this to be public, but is fine if you post it somewhere. I wanted to share support with you.
I saw your responses to the post http://radicallesbianfeminists.wordpress.com/2013/11/14/political-lesbian-myth-busting/
and tried responding, but they will not print me. I answered at GenderTrender where Gallus Mag posted a response, but really wanted you to see what I also wrote.
It’s not a coincidence that their next post thanks older women. But I’d rather not be censored. When you ask where are the Butches, we’re censored among many “radfems” from the community and culture we helped to create. There are quite a few clique blogs by supposed Radical Feminists who are Butch-hating and Lesbian-hating, but that would be easier to explain when talking.
In response to “Political Lesbian Myth Busting”
How patronizing of longtime Lesbian Radical Feminists: “Whenever this subject comes up, some older lesbians also get on their soap boxes.” I’m not seeing younger Lesbians similarly patronized in this ageist, Lesbian-hating article.
I wish we knew who the writer was, and who she’s talking about, because I don’t see anyone I know represented by her paraphrasing of their or our politics.
“The over-emphasis on sexual activity as an essential part of the lesbian experience is concerning.” I’m an “older Lesbian” who is one of the only Radical Feminists I see writing over and over that being a Lesbian is about love and not sex. But that doesn’t count?
“Few very old people, generally, have an active sex life. They have other challenges to deal with. Lesbians are no different but they don’t stop being lesbians.” How did this writer get into the homes and lives, minds and hearts of my people? Again, WHO is this writer to pompously tell us how we are living? I’m guessing not “old” or she wouldn’t be so othering and marginalizing of us in such an offensive way. What world is she living in to say this? Not mine, because I see LOTS of old Lesbians having wonderfully passionate ongoing love-making.
No, “sexuality” is not “a social construction.” It’s a CHOICE. We are forbidden to say that with all the “born this way” and “sexual orientation” propaganda told us by the psychologists and GBT. But it’s a fact. Gay men conned too many Lesbians into joining them in their plea for pity because why would hets condescend to give us equal rights if we could just choose to be het? But most Lesbians did once choose to be het and that was a point of pride for the women coming out in droves as Lesbian Feminists in the Seventies. And certainly women going back to men for privilege is further proof that it’s all a choice.
And no, I do not agree that women who chose to love women instead of men are as “as woman-hating and self-hating as anyone else.” That’s simply Lesbian-hating. I doubt the author knows as many Never-het Lesbians as I’ve known in my long life (though it’s been a struggle getting around, being old and up on a soapbox), so what is the point of repeating the classic heterosexist line that newly out het feminists used to say to divert attention from how very male-identified many of them still were? We repeated some of that in our book in the chapter about Lesbian-hating among Lesbians. The most male-identified of these recently out women used male sexual terms that we found more than repulsive. They brought sado-masochism they learned from their men into our communities. They told us how real women wanted dildos used on them if they weren’t with men. And too many were so brutal and cold in their lovemaking than they literally hurt the Lesbians they were touching. It took me years to finally realize I’d been subjected to sexual assault by the very male “love-making” of an ex-het Radical Lesbian Feminist. (As one who inflicted damage on a number of Lesbians said, “It really is different with women than with men, isn’t it?)
And don’t forget the effect on our Lesbian communities of the ex-het Lesbian Feminist sexologists like Joann Loulan, Pat Califia, and Susie Bright who wrote books telling us how to imitate men to better please ex-het Lesbians.
Of course all girls and women raised in patriarchy learn self-hatred and female-hating, but the more women have chosen to be intimate with men, the more they learn male ways. I have certainly not seen or experienced Lifelong Lesbians compare with ex-het Lesbians in term of female-hating. At least women who loved their own kind from girlhood will be less hateful to females than women who went against their nature (because all girls and women ARE born with the capacity to love our own kind — it just that most fight it in their effort to be accepted as “normal” and to get privilege.)
This entire post is rooted in terms of thinking of “sex,” rather than love. Saying, in regards to women who have always loved women rather than men, as having a “sexual experience,” rather than a lifetime of love and commitment to other women is incredibly dismissing and trivializing of what it means to suffer hatred from girlhood because of loving our own kind as well as saying no to males. It’s not about valuing “sexual experience as being more authentic than political thought.” It’s about recognizing what that choice of love means. No, Political Lesbians may not be more likely to go back to men than other women who have chosen men over women, but they and other ex-het Lesbians certainly are more likely to go back to men than Lesbians who have said no to men our entire lives.
It’s not about straying off “the golden path.” It’s about who we love, ally with….or betray. It’s not about “pure” anything, or “born-like-it desires.” It’s about recognizing that choosing the enemy in the patriarchy bent on destroying females and in which all girls and women are sexually harassed and most are sexually assaulted by boys and men means something. It means choosing them over our own kind, valuing girls and women less. The Lesbian-hating in these comments reflects the Lesbian-hating that Lifelong Lesbians have experienced from girlhood. There is no reverse oppression. We did not feel “pure” or on a “golden path.” We were despised as freaks by some of the same women who are upset now that we can’t fully trust them. And when we see the women we welcomed into our hard fought for Lesbians communities returning to full het privilege on the arms of their men, it means nothing? We are not to notice this or comment on it?
I support Political Lesbians. I just don’t appreciate the misrepresentation and distortions of my and other Radical Lesbian Feminists’ politics in this Lesbian-hating article.
Thank you for your thoughts, BevJo. I felt “shushed” on my comments to the blog owner, so I just let it all go because I don’t want to fight with other women or lesbians, I just want to post my thoughts and experiences and fight FOR women and lesbians. 😉