Sunday, June 13, 2010

What’s in a word?

Particulars about ‘butch’ lesbians…..

Great Gay in the park! Dyke Day LA, with nigh unto 400 queers of the lesbian variety, was laid back and cool. The atmosphere, complete with whiffs of pot, made me think of our gay-kiss-ins at Griffith Park back in the day.
Fewer lip-locks this afternoon, but now it’s chic (almost legal) to dyke-out in public.

But while handing out postcards there for the upcoming ButchVoices.LA Conference, I did stumble upon some remarks that clearly show education about butch (or femme) needs some brush-up. Like one young person said my lover wasn’t really “femme” because she’s ape-shit watching soccer and the world cup this week. And I overheard another femme say to her friend, “Naturally, the femmes did all the behind-the-scenes work.”

Since when do femmes not like sports, and since when are femmes NOT on stage! Most femmes I know had at least one guitar-carrying butch hauling their shit (oops, accessories) up and down Barnsdall’s grassy knoll. As for my femme, she often asks me, “What’s the point of games with balls in them?” She’s only mesmerized by her country (South Africa) playing against my country (Mexico)! After that she switched the TV back to extreme-architectural-do-over, or whatever.

But a few more words on the topic of butch/femme education; butches are slightly more prone to watching sports on TV, but that’s bro-bonding more than following the ball. Neither the “B” word nor “femme” has anything to do with topping—in bed or out of bed. I know lots of alpha femmes who do both as their calling card. And plenty of “soft” butches who dig it.

Oh, and when I say “soft butch,” I’m not talking not shining your belt buckle or wearing your hair long. Buckles and hair do not a butch make. The “soft” only refers to the emotional “yin” quality. (That’s like in the yin & yang of things.) “Soft butches” (unlike ‘classic’ butches) go with femmes (or other butches) who are alpha: like power femmes, barracuda femmes, some high femmes (but not all), burlesque femmes, or just plain ol’ diva femmes (who hate to be called “plain” or “ol’” anything!)

“Butch” is about your style, presentation, way of thinking, and innate body language. “Butch” should not be confused with your emotionality (there are dominant butches, and plenty of pillow-king butches). And “butch” should not be confused with what kind of job/career path you’ve chosen. I know electrician femmes and Ph.d femmes, and a whole lot of femmes who are not in the “giving” professions. Some femmes I know last “gave” in the Ice Age.

So butches - and ‘studs’ and tombois and genderqueer leaning to the masculine dykes -you gotta be clear about who you are. If you’re not, your femme may just fill in your blanks. Butch dress and presentation is one variable of butch identity, but presentation does not necessarily define a butch’s sexual performance or her emotional comfort zone around dominance (or lack thereof) in a relationship.

All of which is to plug the upcoming ButchVoices.LA Conference in October. Ya gotta come so you can get your shit together around being a butch. If you are not ‘studly’ enough to come on your own, bring your butch-boi buddy, your femme, or any of your genderqueer friends who want to check out the scene and make up their own minds.
You can’t beat the price--$50 (sliding scale) for a whole weekend of best lesbiqueer performers and very smart lesbian speakers from all over the fucking country. Can’t get this at the Dinah!

Check out the who’s who of the butch-world at the conference’s website:
Kudos to the organizers of Dyke Day in the Park, and both Dyke March nights. Nice job!