Is Being Gender Critical and Butch Mutually Exclusive?

I’ve been meaning to talk about this for a long time now. Can one consider herself butch, aka, a masculine woman while also being critical of gender? It’s a question I have been thinking about for several months and now is the time for me to put my thoughts down on paper, so to speak, and figure this thing out for myself. Some of you will, of course, disagree and that is cool, but I would be willing to bet that there are a lot more of us out there than we think.

I’ve been an out lesbian for half my life now (over 20 years) and I didn’t consider myself butch (or “a” butch, ymmv) until almost 10 years later. It took me a long, long time to come to the realization that butches were women, we didn’t wish to be men, we were women who just happened to be masculine. Once I came to that realization, I was able to accept my true self: a gender non-conforming, masculine woman, or more simply, a butch lesbian; or even more simply: a butch.

It’s hard to be a butch in this world. Don’t worry, I am not about to play the oppression Olympics here, I completely understand that there is enough discrimination to go around and there are hard times for all of us. But let’s be honest here, I cannot speak for femmes, straight women (even the butch ones), gay men, straight men, or lesbians who are neither butch or femme because I am none of those things. So I will stick to what I know: being a butch lesbian in this patriarchal society.

Before I continue, I wanted to put out there that even though I am not speaking about femme’s experiences here, I welcome their input about this post or their own experiences; especially the anonymous femme who briefly talked with me about the hierarchy of femmes and butches in my last post (Who Gets To Decide What “Lesbian” Means?). I hope she sees this post so she can come back to leave her thoughts on the issue.

So let’s dig in to this complicated subject matter, shall we?

As I was saying before I digressed a bit, being a butch lesbian in this patriarchal world is tough. We have almost no “in real life” role models, very few, if any in the media, and when I was a young dyke, there were even fewer than there are now if you can imagine that. Because this society believes that men own masculinity (and women own femininity), we butches have therefore had no choice but to model ourselves after the men in our lives and go by how the media presents men; and this is nothing if not problematic. Because of this society, because the patriarchy frowns on women wearing “men’s” clothing (and vice versa), and because there are almost no butches in the media, these are two very big reasons why a lot of straight and even gay people assume we all want to emulate, if not actually be men.

The lack of butch role models and having to use men or the media’s idea of men as our guides (well, I don’t, but I did when I was younger because I didn’t know any different and I see it more and more in these young butches today) presents other problems. For those unfamiliar with on-line butch-femme communities, there is a clear hierarchy of “butchness” or masculinity and it discriminates against butches who do not identify as male and it especially celebrates the female transgender, or the trans “man.” In this hierarchy, there are the levels of butchness that I mentioned, such as soft butch, butch, hard butch, male identified butch, and trans “man.” Usually we butches who know what sex is and celebrate the women that we are, are set low on that totem pole, somewhere around soft butch.

You see, even in the (on-line) butch-femme world, a lot of people are conditioned into the patriarchy just enough to believe the bullshit that men/males own masculinity and women/females own femininity, that females cannot be masculine, and that to be masculine, one must either be male identified or they must transition into some facsimile of a man, aka the trans “man.” So even in the butch-femme (on-line) world, female, and therefore feminine is “less than” and most people do not consider a butch to be masculine if she doesn’t deny biology and instead accepts and even celebrates that she is also female. In the comments of my last post, I said this maligned treatment comes from femmes, but I meant some femmes, not all; and to be honest, quite a few male identified butches and trans “men” feel this way as well, that female is less than; or more appropriately, that feminine is less than masculine. Like I said, a lot of this comes from the male identified butches and trans “men,” but it can also come from femmes as well. There are quite a few femmes out there these days who clearly want straight men without actually having to date straight men. They like the analogy that butch = man, that they can have only PIV sex, that they use male pronouns, etc. It is quite frustrating, to say the least. As I said, not all femmes are like this, but more and more of them are coming out of the woodwork as sex becomes more and more conflated with gender and the binary, as dictated by the patriarchy, wins out above all else.

To be fair, I don’t have to be a femme to see this coming from the other side of things as well; but even more than the hierarchy of femme, I also see things like how so many butches expect femmes to be like straight women and how a lot of them even toss femmes aside in favor of straight women. I also see the masculine and feminine stereotypes of the heterosexual world playing out in that a lot of both butches and femmes expect the butches to be the dominant ones, or the “tops,” to borrow a BDSM term and they expect the femmes to be the submissive ones or the “bottoms.” This is problematic in so many ways because it relies on society’s assumptions that feminine is always and only for women while masculine is always and only for men, so the above butches and femmes assume the woman (feminine) is always supposed to submit to the man (masculine). That is unbelievably sexist and it is almost always internalized, born of the conditioning we face being born and raised female in this society; and the sickest part, for me, is that all of that sexism is coming from and pointed towards females, women. So because there are not a lot, if any, butch and femme role models, we end up falling into the traps of our own conditioning by believing the bullshit of the binary, by seeing feminine as women and women as feminine, as well as masculine as men and men as masculine. That, dear reader, is where the idea of male identified butches and trans “men” come from: that blind loyalty to the binary and the patriarchy that conditioned us so very well.

I have always held the notion that transgenderism is a fad, a way of being a special snowflake, of distinguishing yourself from the “norm” so that you can be considered “cool.” It’s exactly like the on-line BDSM fad of several years ago in the butch-femme world (the straight and gay men’s world as well, but again, I cannot speak of what I don’t know). Suddenly, there were daddies, babygirls, masters, and mistresses all over the butch-femme on-line communities. Why? Again, it was a way to be different and special, to separate yourself from the “norm” and appear to be “cool.” Transgenderism is the same thing: a fad. I have said before and I will say it again: if society would stop with the preconceived notion that females or women own femininity and males or men own masculinity and instead allowed people to express themselves in any way that they wish, dress as they wish, wear make-up or not, have long, short, or no hair, walk, talk, and act as they wish, all regardless of their sex, then there would be no need for transgenderism and no need to “transition” into anything.

Masculine and feminine, like gender, are socially constructed, but I don’t view them as genders. Masculine and feminine are simply descriptors that do not belong to either sex. This means that that men can be feminine and that there is nothing wrong with that. On the flip side, women can be masculine and there is also nothing wrong with that.

So with that, I think I have come to the end of it, dear reader. It started as a question in my head: whether or not I could consider myself a butch lesbian and gender critical at the same time. While I consider myself a lesbian essentialist, I do not consider myself a butch essentialist. I may have been born a lesbian and was quite the dyke for a long time, but I found butch through exploration and an ultimate discovery of who I was (and am) as a woman.

I was chatting with a friend the other day (at least, I would like to be able to call her a friend) and she said that for her, “lesbian” is a “descriptor that others can understand.” I liked the way that sounded. Oh not for lesbian, but for butch and masculine. For me, butch has always meant and will always mean, masculine woman, but in this society, people get confused by putting those two words together, masculine and woman, so I say butch.

In that context, butch is a descriptor that others can understand, to varying degrees, of course. Like I said, there is the fad of being male identified and/or transgender, neither of which are actually butches, but the premise is the same. I use butch, not as a gender or an identity, but as a descriptor to signify to the world that while I am masculine, I was, am still now, and always will be a woman. I am a masculine woman, a butch.

So the answer is: yes, I can be critical of gender and be a butch lesbian at the same time. They are not mutually exclusive.

Advertisements

Another Sister Lost To The Madness

I was at the store the other day when I heard one of the most heartbreaking things that a dyke can hear one of her sisters say. It was a convenience store, so when we all stood in line and were then waited on, we were all side-by-side facing the 2 clerks behind the counter. When I got up to the counter, this young butch dyke who was helping me was talking to a young gay man (customer) next to me. I would guess they were both around 20 years old. The young dyke was saying that she didn’t know how to tell her mom something, which being gay, made my ears perk because hey, we’ve all been there, right?

Then she says that her mom already knows she is a “lesbian” (she used air quotes there), but that she wasn’t a lesbian, she was “trans” and “wanted to live her life as a man;” and she didn’t know how to tell her mom this.

As I said, this was sincerely heartbreaking; to see and hear a young butch dyke talk about transitioning and living her life “as a man.” I wanted to reach across the counter and shake her like a mom who just caught her child running across the street without looking, consequently almost getting hit. It was sad to see this young woman, a sister to me in many ways, speak about transitioning; and I have to say, she didn’t seem happy about it either. She seemed resigned, like it was something she had to do, not something she wanted to do.

I wanted to tell her not to drink the trans kool-aid. I wanted to tell her that she didn’t have to take drugs or have surgeries and mutilate a perfectly healthy female body. I wanted to tell her to not give in to the binary and conform into societal demands. I wanted to tell her that it’s ok to be any kind of woman you want to be, patriarchy be damned.

I wanted to say all of that and more, because it sickens me to see the kind of pressure young women like this deal with on a daily basis. I dealt with it as well. I was so masculine looking, I was “passing” in high school, even with long hair. In my early 20s when I came out, people still thought I was a man, but it was made worse because I was a lesbian and to so many people, a masculine looking lesbian “wants to be a man.”

Forget that I didn’t want to be a man. Forget that I loved being a woman. Forget that I loved my body. Forget that I was ok with the non-conforming woman that I was. I received so much pressure to transition, I almost did. I figured I was supposed to transition, that it was something everyone expected me to do, so I should just do it.

I am thankful everyday that I decided against it.

But not every young lesbian is that lucky. So many of them feel so much pressure from society and from the trans community that they should transition, they end up making the biggest mistake of their young lives. Sometimes, that mistake is irreversible.

I was reading some comments yesterday from straight men and women and it was pretty astonishing to see not only how little they know about lesbians and trans people, but also how little they really actually care about lesbians. Here is this blog, created and written by a butch lesbian about her lived experiences and her opinions based on those lived experiences and these straight women and men were commenting about how there is no such pressure to conform, there is no such pressure to transition. Hell, they even commented on how harmless the cotton ceiling is and how it doesn’t attempt shame lesbians into having sex with men who call themselves women.

Instead of believing a woman who has lived these experiences and knows about them first hand, these straight people also drank the trans kool-aid and believed the rhetoric spewed forth by the trans community. Instead of listening to what I had to say about lesbians, butches, and trans people, these women and men decided that I was just another silly woman screaming about how awful the menz are and that they shouldn’t take me seriously.

So it shouldn’t be surprising to see young butch dykes out there who are subjected to the trans propaganda, feel like they should transition. It shouldn’t be surprising that young dykes out there who are confronted daily by a society that ignores, ridicules, and even tries to exterminate butch lesbians, feel like they should transition. I shouldn’t be surprising that young dykes out there who hear from the straight community all of the homophobic, lesbophobic, and misogynistic crap they say about lesbians and women, while praising trans for “being brave,” feel like they should transition.

It isn’t surprising to those of us who felt, and still feel that kind of pressure from the straight, trans, and sometimes even gay communities. but it is heartbreaking. When you are a woman who doesn’t conform to what society believes a woman should be and then you thumb your nose at society again by not conforming to the man they believe you should transition into because of how you look, dress, or act, life isn’t just hard, it can sometimes be down right unbearable.

Life as a non-conforming lesbian can be especially difficult when faced with women from your own group, such as other lesbians or feminists, who are so conditioned by the patriarchy that instead of celebrating the kind of non-conforming woman that you are, they also disbelieve your lived experiences, they also feel that you should just transition already, and they also put your needs as a woman on the back burner for the sake of men.

No, it isn’t surprising that this young woman was resigned to her fate. It isn’t surprising  that she was ready to stop being a lesbian and conform to what people everywhere shove down non-conforming women’s throats about transitioning. It isn’t surprising that she was ready to live life “as a man.” It’s heartbreaking, because I, like so many other women out there who refuse to conform to this patriarchal society’s demands, have been there; and sometimes, it’s just easier to go with the flow of those around you and do what is expected.

Someone on my Twitter joked about staging an intervention for this young woman; and I really wish we could. I wish a group of us could sit her down and tell her that she is beautiful and handsome and wonderful just the way she is, that she is part of a community filled with a rich and amazing history, that she is loved and cherished for the non-conforming woman that she is. Our intervention could even consist of women who I keep meeting through my blog, women who went through the transition stages in their attempts to become men and who, years later, regretted that decision and are on their way back to the women they always were.

I could tell her what I told myself so many years ago when faced with the pressure to transition: Fuck society. Fuck the patriarchy. Fuck conforming. I like the woman that I am and I refuse to become something I am not, nor would I ever want to be in order to satisfy the world’s misogynistic view of woman.

Extremist or Realist?

Here’s the thing. We all have our own filters, be they the filter of white privilege, class privilege, male privilege, living as an oppressed POC or, especially, WOC, female, male, gay, straight, bi, etc. The list goes on and on because there are as many filters through which to view the world as there are people in the world.

So I see the comments, the tweets, the discussions, and the arguments about my blog and the posts contained therein. I also see the accusations: transphobe, extremist, vile, vitriol; and those are just a few from the last couple of days.

I have been on-line for a number of years and I have learned that words are very very important. I try very hard to choose my words carefully and while sometimes I leave out the word, “some” when speaking about a group of people, such as trans women, I have never used the word, “all” when speaking about any group of people. If someone reading my blog sees the word, “all,” then that is their own filters through which they are viewing my blog and I cannot (a) be accountable for that or (b) find my way to being offended by it.

I think it says a lot about the reader who sees, “all trans women” or “all bisexuals” or “all” anything in my blog and then gets so angry that they must argue and spew forth accusations like transphobia, hatred, extremist, etc. It is very telling to me to see these kinds of responses to my blog. It tells me that (a) these people see themselves in the mirror I am holding up and this bothers them to the point of wanting to smash said mirror, and/or it tells me that (b) they are so conditioned by the patriarchy and the binary system of being that they cannot fathom a different way, a different system, and anything that contradicts what they have been conditioned to believe must be destroyed.

So let me lay it out for you, dear reader. I am not a transphobe. I do not hate trans people. I do not believe anyone should face discrimination, beatings, or death simply for being who they are. What I do “hate” is that this patriarchal binary system that is currently in place in our society makes some people think their only option is transgenderism. Because let’s be clear, transgenderism is a strict adherence of the binary system. It is not non-conforming, it is conforming to such a degree that drugs and surgery are needed in order to complete the necessary steps to conform absolutely to what society expects to see.

See, instead of letting girls and women be whomever they choose to be, they are being encouraged and conditioned to believe they are boys and men. That tomboy down the street? Her parents, her school, and the media has convinced her she is a boy. Instead of boys and men being allowed to be whomever they want to be, even if that means going through life wearing dresses and make-up, they are conditioned to believe they have to transition into a facsimile of a woman. That little boy who likes to wear mommy’s dresses? His parents, his school, and the media have convinced him that he should be a girl. That is what this patriarchal binary system has created: the need to be one or the other and to never deviate from either unless you are “switching” from one to the other.

But in reality, there is no “switching.” Sex is not gender is not sex. Sex is biology. With few exceptions, human beings are born either female or male. Girls and women are female children and female adults, respectively; just as boys and men are male children and male adults, respectively. This is basic science, biology 101. No matter how many drugs or how many surgeries, females cannot become males and males cannot become females; therefore women cannot become men and men cannot become women.

The very idea that a person has to be one or the other, female or male, is insulting and damaging to the gay community. Lesbians everywhere, this butch included, are non-conforming to the binary. So many different lesbians, refusing to adhere to the binary and thumbing their nose at the patriarchy as they, as we live as woman on our own terms. There are also gay men everywhere who do not conform to the binary, we see this with gay men who are deemed by society to be feminine and we also see this with drag queens, just to name two.

For transgenders to claim that they are “two-spirits” is insulting to the gay Native Americans who actually are two spirits. For them to claim that they are the ones who are non-conforming to the binary is insulting to hundreds of thousands of lesbians and gay men over generations who spent their entire lives not conforming to society’s rules and expectations. For transgenders to also re-write history so that drag queens and butches of the past suddenly become trans women and trans men, respectively erases our identities and our very histories. If I “hate” anything at all, reader, I “hate” that and will fight against it with every fiber of my being.

What I also “hate” is that a great majority of trans women want to co-opt women’s spaces, women’s words, and yes, women’s bodies. Whether certain feminists wish to believe lesbians or not, this is our lived and shared reality. The “cotton ceiling” exists and it is an affront to lesbians everywhere. Lesbians are shamed and guilted into having sex with male-bodied people who call themselves women and are told that if they do not comply, they are bigots for not accepting trans women as women.

Trans women’s whole state of being rests on how they are perceived. When that is threatened by lesbians who, by the very definition of a lesbian, do not wish to have sex with men, these trans women become so enraged at the very thought that we are denying them that they threaten us with rape, bodily harm, and even death at (a) being “misgendered,” and (b) our refusal to see past their penis and their being male long enough to have sex with them. This is not conjecture or rhetoric. This is reality. This is the “cotton ceiling.”

As a side note for those who do not know and who do not care to use Google, the “cotton ceiling” is a phrase that was created to describe the barrier trans women face when trying to date and have sex with lesbians. See, our panties are that barrier and the “cotton ceiling” represents the attitude that we simply need to be “educated” to accept trans women as women and then we will be willing to date and have sex with them. The very concept is so misogynistic and supports a rape culture that is so prevalent not just in this country, but world wide.

I do understand that even after having read this post, some will still insist that since I do not see trans women as women, then I am a transphobe and filled with hate. That is simply not true. What I am is someone who can see past the rhetoric, past the conditioning so ingrained in all of us, and see that while sex is a biological constant, gender is a social construct that can change with each person who tries to define what it is.

I also understand, and have been subjected to, men who do not even bother to read the entirety of my posts, but still have so much to tell me about what I am thinking and feeling, what I mean, and why I am such a bigot. These are men who feel so entitled, they don’t even feel they need to be informed before dressing a woman down for her words that they didn’t even be bothered to read. This does not hurt my feelings, I simply cannot and do not take these men seriously.

And, for the record, I do not hate men, not even the men who call me names and threaten me and my sisters with rape, violence, and death. What I do “hate” is that because of male privilege, men feel so entitled as to think they can take over women’s spaces, take over women’s words, and take over women’s bodies. Do “all” men feel this way? Maybe. Maybe not. But I can tell you that ALL men are conditioned from birth. ALL men are instilled with male privilege and even if society may see them as women based on their dress and actions in strict adherence to the binary, they still hold those privileged attitudes within themselves. It is that privilege that makes them believe that there is no space they cannot be in, no words they cannot co-opt, and no woman they cannot have.

That is what I “hate.”

Butch Visibility in a Man’s World

I was doing a very normal thing this morning: taking out my trash. I was casually dressed in sweats, a t-shirt because I was outside getting a few things done; and a ball cap because it was sunny outside. As I get to the trash can at the end of my driveway, a truck pulls up and a guy yells out, “Hey Buddy!” I told him I wasn’t his buddy and asked him what he wanted. He got upset, mumbled something about how he wanted to ask me something and that he didn’t know what he did to me but whatever. I ignored him and went back into my house.

Was I a little harsh? Maybe. A lot of people, and I mean a LOT of people judge me based on my clothing, how I walk and stand, how short my hair is, my ball cap, etc and they conclude within 2 seconds of seeing me that I am a man. I won’t lie, it is upsetting for us butches to be mistaken for men like that. It makes us feel invisible and it discounts the fact that we are women, which is something we still are no matter what we do or wear and we are proud of this fact. We are absolutely nothing like men, so to be mistaken for men shows us that the world did and does see us in the black and white of the patriarchal binary system.

Do you know what I didn’t do? I didn’t threaten to kill him or threaten him with rape for his mistake. I said a few words and wasn’t a polite timid woman apologizing to him for HIS mistake, but I didn’t do what so many men who pretend to be women do: I didn’t threaten, harass, or stalk him for mistaking me for a man.

As I said, we are completely different from men. We don’t think or act like men and we sure as hell don’t want to BE men. When people accuse us of this, it is either because they truly don’t understand what and who butches are or because they are trying to humiliate, discredit, and/or silence us.

Butches are at both the forefront and at the back of the LGB community. A butch was right there at Stonewall as one of the people who started the riots that sparked the LGB civil rights movement. Butches are highly visible, which leads to taunts, slurs hurled at us, beatings, rape, and death. We are antagonized for being butch women because we are not, according to society, the “right” kind of women.

At the same time as all of the above, we are also invisible. We are not represented in TV, movies, or other media. When we do happen to end up on TV, it is either as a caricature that is made fun of or we are expected to dress, act, and BE more feminine to please the general audience.

And then you have a group of individuals who are trying to erase butches from the planet completely. They are doing everything in their power to render us extinct. This group is comprised of 2 types of people: (1) the men who claim to be women and then further claim to be butches (see Tobi Hill-Miller, etc.); (2a) the women who feel the right course of action in this patriarchal binary system is to attempt to transition into men, but still call themselves butches (FtM or F2Tg); (2b) the women who are butches, but insist that they are also somehow male by labeling themselves “male-identified” butches.

These people make it almost impossible for young lesbians who are “different,” who are baby butches, but don’t know where they fit in this world to be ok with the women that they are. These young women are encouraged and even brainwashed into transitioning into something similar to men because they are taught that to be a different kind of woman is bad. They are taught that the binary is king and that they must choose: masculine = man and feminine = woman.

To be anything else, a masculine woman or a feminine man would be an abomination in these binary-loving people’s eyes. So they preach and they intimidate and they brainwash and they bully these young women (and sometimes even older women fall into this trap) into taking hormones, having healthy breasts cut off, having healthy uteri and ovaries removed, all in the name of patriarchy.

So we are disappearing. As we watch our sisters try to embrace all that is male in order to be more accepted by the patriarchy and as we watch more and more young women trying to transform their bodies into something more acceptable to this male-dominated society, butches are disappearing and being replaced by fakes who distort who we are.

Something has to be done soon about this trans epidemic or we will eventually end up with the total extinction of butches; and that would be a shame. Transwomen are already bastardizing the very idea of what and who a woman is by trying to claim the one thing men have never really owned: femaleness. We cannot allow women to continue to hurt themselves by trying to change their bodies and delude themselves into thinking that change will make society accept them.

There is a whole generation of wonderful butch voices that needs to be heard. There are butches still out here who could be role models to young lesbians, showing them that it is k do be different, it is ok to love your butch body, it is ok to be women who the patriarchy and this binary system of being will never accept.

Acknowledge our existence.

Acknowledge our experience.

Know there is a better way of being butch in this man’s world.

Guest Post — A Black Butch Speaks: Addressing Female Oppression by Pippa Fleming

This is a fantastic analogy on how we treat young black and butch girls who hate their bodies and wish to change things about themselves in order to become more like the rest of society instead of being taught to love themselves and their bodies, society be damned.

 

As lesbians and especially as butches, we need to step out more, be more visible, let our voices be heard, and even mentor a young butch struggling with her body and how it does not conform to society’s standards.

 

Society needs to change, not the individual it chooses not to accept.

Bev Jo -- Radical Lesbian Feminist writing

A Black Butch Speaks: Addressing Female Oppression

Guest Post by Pippa Fleming

I’ve been holding silence for quite some time but now it’s time for me to speak.

When a Black child presents with signs of internalized racism, we want to protect them. We want them to know they are perfect as they are and loved for exactly who they are. If we are conscience Black folks, we try to infuse our young people with the knowledge, skills, wisdom and support necessary, so they may survive and thrive in this racist society.

If little Lakesha comes home with “mommy I hate being Black and I want to be white” we are shocked, dismayed and sadden by her self loathing and rush to find the source of her oppression. Is it school, the media, her peers, society or all of the above?

So why when little butch Lakesha comes home with…

View original post 300 more words

Cis-queerly not yours

So here’s the thing.

There’s a term out there that used to enrage me whenever I saw someone use it. No, scratch that and rewind; it still enrages me whenever I see it being used. Just yesterday, I saw someone using the term and I was filled with so much anger at how popular the term is now and easily it is flung about that I literally had to click the little red x in the upper right hand corner of my screen and just walk away for a few hours.

Mind you, I don’t toss the word “enraged” around a lot. I’ve been through a lot of drama in my time on-line and not a whole helluva lot gets to me so badly that “enraged” is how I would describe it. But when there’s a group of people out there who create a term out of thin air with the sole purpose of othering, bullying, even crucifying another group of people, “enraged” seems to be the best word available to describe how I feel.

Of course, I am talking about “cis.”

I even shook my head and rolled my damn eyes as I typed it out on the screen. Such bullshit.

Yes, I know, I know, cis is an actual word and in Latin means “on the same side as”; but its use has, until recently, been restricted to the scientific communities, chemistry and molecular biology, to be specific. I am not discussing its use in science, however, because my thoughts are on how the transgender community co-opted this tiny little word, a prefix really, and warped it into the pejorative it is today.

In the mid-90s, an FtM literally made the word “cisgender” up one day. To quote this person, “As for the origin, I just made it up. I just kept running into the problem of what to call non-trans people in various discussions, and one day it just hit me: non-trans equals cis. Therefore, cisgendered.”

Side note: there are, of course, varying stories of how this word came to be used on-line. There’s an MtF who claims to have used it first, which is not surprising. A woman claims to have done something and a man comes back and says he did it first? Shocking. But that is a discussion for another time because, honestly? I just don’t care who made it up and/or who started using it first, so I will move on to the rest of my post.

Biologically, or bio female? Not good enough. Bio male? Not good enough. Non-trans? Silly, sure, and still not good enough. No, a phrase had to be invented because a group of people felt so othered by those of us whose sexual organs they covet; or, as in the case of a vast majority of MtF transgenders, by those into whose private spaces and even pants they wish to force themselves. Now it was their turn to do the othering, god damnit, and god help anyone who was bio female and bio male and wanted to stop them. That’s transphobic, don’t you know that?

Again, as I said in another post, for the sarcastically challenged, that was dripping with nothing but pure sarcasm. You’re welcome.

Before I move on, I feel I should note that just as in my other post, when I say woman, I am referring to biologically born and raised females; and it pisses me off that I have to make that distinction. Not just because it sounds like I am describing farm fresh meat or eggs or fish or something, but also because the term woman has also been so warped that one needs to tack on a bunch of qualifiers when using the damn word. But I digress.

So here we are, almost 2 decades later and how is the phrase used? As a pejorative. Go to Twitter and search #fuckcispeople if you don’t believe me. Cisgender and cissexist are practically spit at people who trans people hate and wish to other, humiliate, and vilify. Yes, I said hate. There really is no other word to describe people who would tell a woman to, “die in a fire” or “kill yourself” or that she should be raped as some sort of punishment for disagreeing with said MtF transgender.

Not to mention that I find it ironic that a group of people so hell-bent on not allowing other people to label them are so completely comfortable with labeling others.

And this term has been further warped. It has helped the MtF transgender society in great strides because the vast majority of them are misogynistic. The hate dripping from their words and actions is so palpable, one would have to be a complete idiot not to see it. What’s the best way to combat your group’s own misogyny? Take the word misogyny and warp it so you can then turn around and use it against the very women whom you covet so much, you literally hate them. How does one do this? Why, tack the word “cis” in front of misogyny, of course!

Cismisogyny (sometimes substituted with cissexual) is the new buzz word for MtF transgenders who hate women with such a vengeance, they would do anything humanly possible to cut women down, to shame women, to guilt them, and to further marginalize them by claiming that they (women) hate MtF transgenders who call themselves women.

This especially happens when women deny these MtF transgenders entry into our private spaces, such as a women-only event or a women’s changing room or even when we deny them access to our own bodies. Do a Google search for “cotton ceiling” if you don’t believe me on that one. It’s an unbelievably insane notion that if a lesbian does not want to have sex with a pre-op MtF transgender, then she is now considered a cismisogynist or cissexist and a bigot for not seeing that male as a female and not considering his penis to be of the female variety.

It is honestly as if biology no longer counts, as if women’s biological bodies and their collective experiences have been erased because, in these MtF transgender’s warped minds, a penis can be a male OR female organ! It’s the same as when a FtM claims that the clit with which they were born is now a penis! I literally had to stop typing there and take a moment because it is so mind boggling to me that I can’t believe I live in a society where a group of people put forth this idea and no one refutes it for fear of being labeled transphobic.

It is such an insane notion, I can’t believe people actually take them seriously on this. But they do. There are trans apologists everywhere, using the words cisgender, cissexual, cismisogyny, cissexualism, etc. According to these individuals, we have become a society where biology no longer matters, where gender is not a man-made social construct, but has actually replaced biology in their minds.

It is time for the madness to stop. It is time for men to stop trying to co-op women’s spaces and words. It is time for their misogyny to be revealed, examined, and fought at every instance.

As women, we should no longer be standing idly by as these men take over our spaces, try to take over our bodies, and take the words with which we use to describe ourselves, leaving us with nothing but the scraps they leave for us. If we continue to allow transgenders to other us all by using the term cis for any reason, we will have only ourselves to blame when there are no more words or spaces to call our own, including our bodies.

If these were the old, straight, white men of Congress who are continuing to try to control and regulate women’s bodies, we would be all over them with picket signs and Vagina Monologues performances. We cannot allow these men to guilt or shame us into giving up our spaces, ourselves, and yes, even our words.

 In the immortal words of Barbra Streisand and Donna Summer: “Enough is enough!”

 

What ARE you, anyway? She or he?

1238114_508918125850806_1503116597_n

I saw this on Facebook yesterday and it made me think of all those times when a woman around me clearly thought I was a man and treated me as such by clutching her purse, looking over her shoulder, distancing herself from me, etc. On the one hand, I applaud women protecting themselves. After all, men are the number one cause of violence against and death of women; so, yes, please make sure you are mindful of the men around you who you think might do you harm.

On the other hand, when this and a thousand other little things like it happen to me daily, I can’t help but feel invisible in this patriarchal world. People, in general, see the hat and the “men’s” clothing and they automatically see a man standing before them, while the woman who is actually there is completely invisible.

As a Butch, I am invalidated by the straight community, shunned by parts of the lesbian community, and outright mocked by the trans community. The straight community thinks I should be more feminine, parts of the lesbian community think I just want to be a man, and the trans community thinks I am a transman in denial who should just transition already.

But I am a woman.

Butches are women.

We were born women and we were raised women in a male dominated society.

We may be masculine, but we are still women.

True, there are some butches who like to play the pronoun game on-line by demanding that everyone use male pronouns when talking to them. These are women who feel like they cannot be masculine unless they are as close to being male as a woman can possibly get, which includes using male pronouns. These are butches who live completely in the binary that the patriarchy has forced down all of our throats and with which the patriarchy has blinded so many of us into thinking that only men can be masculine and only women can be feminine.

This way of thinking and being is troublesome for butches as it perpetuates the invalidation of the women that we truly are. It continues to make us invisible in this world and creates a false sense of security for those butches who take on male pronouns; as if they are somehow now immune to what the world at large truly thinks of us because they make people call them “he” on-line.

This has also caused a shift in the butch-femme community where most femmes on-line use male pronouns with butches as the default. The very people who know us best, the women who have always seen us and have always been there for us now see only the maleness and no longer see the women that we are. It’s as if, suddenly the yin is invisible to the yang, making neither whole.

In the real world, of course, this does not happen. Butches are all women and we embrace the women that we are, accepting and relishing in the use of female pronouns; but on-line, we are bombarded with male pronouns and treated as if we are strange for not accepting and embracing them as our own.

Butches are not men.

Butches don’t want to be men.

Butches don’t want to be compared to men in any way, shape, or form.

We are women who love women.

Period.