trans men and butch women: a summary perspective
This is unedited and jumps all over the place.
I do not apologize, I was following multiple trains of thought.
Butch Lesbians and Trans guys
female masculinity and male masculinity
born in the right body and born in the wrong body
being mistaken for a man and being mistaken for a woman
female identity and male identity
butch woman and trans man
Trans guys are MEN. Butch/Stud/AG lesbians are WOMEN.
These are just some of the differences that make us unique.
Those identities in no way undermine the other or the safety and comfort found within.
Being a trans man can mean having a level of “masculinity” that is not necessarily viewed as male.
There are trans-men who identify as femme or feminine. (This is their identity)
There are trans-men who do not take hormones and are okay with their bodies.
You can be a butch lesbian or straight woman who wants top surgery, but does not want to become a man.
You can be a biological female who makes the transition to become a man and still date men.
There are trans guys and butch lesbians who are just fine with being somewhere in the middle of the masculine to feminine divide.
There exist many a man and woman who are butch, but not lesbian, let alone homosexual.
I respect choice and the manner in which anyone wishes to explore his or her gender identity.
There are a number of trans guys who used to identify and/or pass as butch lesbians.
There are a number of trans guys who never identified as lesbian, butch or female. They have always identified as psychologically male.
There are gender police in every culture and sub-culture. It takes strength and courage to withstand any kind of criticism and negativity from those who know all too well what it feels like to be misjudged and discriminated against.
Definitions, labels, and names are not absolute however they suit many purposes.
Not all trans-guys are out. Similar to gays, lesbians and bisexuals still in the closet, trans-guys face similar reasons for not coming out or doing so later on in life. Still, many do not come out until mid-30s and up. (See Chaz Bono)
It’s the similarities that should bring us together; the differences are open to exploration and respected within their structural confines.
Granted, I do not have any expertise or intricate knowledge on the subject of trans identify, but I am speaking from my own experiences, thoughts, feelings and for my own peace of mind.
I strongly believe there is room for dialogue and the door is open. In the midst of stating what I believe to be accurate, I’m seeking answers and personal insight from those who know more than I.
What I do know is sex is one thing, and gender is something else altogether. Sex refers to our biological differences. Notably they are the differences we are given at birth; male, female and intersexed. Gender refers to the characteristics of constructed roles between men and women, masculine and feminine, in their social-cultural context.
I haven’t always held onto the belief that the T in LGBT is just as important as the LGB, but it’s a necessary growth process that has strongly developed within me over time. Maturity provides greater understanding to just about anything. Trans-guys, young and old have had a tremendous impact on gender expression and freedom. They are at the forefront of the gender revolution, just as lesbians were at the forefront of the women’s revolution. They’ve influenced the acceptance of my own gender and added to the comfort I feel within my masculine identity. I immersed myself in learning more. Believe it or not, YouTube provides a intimate look into the lives of trans-guys who graciously shared their stories from the very beginning. If I had to pick a word to describe some of the transitions, it would simply be – amazing. While his visibility varies, its impact is strong no matter how great or small his voice.
Butch lesbians and gay trans guys don’t have anything in common is what he said. I’ll give him that since I didn’t indicate otherwise in the post he responded to, but I reject the notion that lesbians have absolutely nothing in common with the transmasculine identity. This is mostly in response to a comment from a gay trans guy stating:
“Please do not equate butch lesbians with trans guys. As a gay transmen, there is nothing butch or lesbionic about me.”
This led me to immediately consider the statement an obvious insult to my intelligence since I had done no such thing. But then it got me thinking.
His statement would be just as accurate if a cisgendered guy were to say “please do not equate butch lesbians with straight guys. As a straight guy, there is nothing butch or lesbionic about me.” If I dissected each and every idiosyncrasy and took the time to pinpoint nuances shared between the two, I’d find nothing? I’ll save the semantics, but odds are as human beings we all share similarities just as we are sure to share a great number of differences.
In any case, the butch-stud / trans guy dynamic is a delicate one for some and a completely non-existent one for others. Some guys made use of the label at one point or another and others who are not out yet still do. There are a lot of trans-guys who began their transition by first identifying as a butch lesbian. There are a lot who didn’t. Either way, there should exist an understanding among butch lesbians and trans-guys not only out of a sense of urgency, but because here are two sub-cultures within the LGBT community that have the least visibility, yet experience the most discrimination. Ours is a shared invisibility that feels important to me. A strong alliance helps to not only shape, but strengthen a community where visibility is often taken for granted. How we identify is taken for granted. It makes sense to me to support each other, but it’s not a sentiment that’s widely shared or appreciated.
For the trans guys and lesbians it doesn’t make sense to, I was there once. What would a trans-guy have in common with me? Well, apart from the obvious fact that (in general) we both exude a level of male-ness that sets us apart from the rest, we are so comfortable within that framework that we will do whatever we can to preserve or complete our comfort. Because we dare step outside of the norm just to be ourselves. There’s that. I understand that being transgender has everything to do with how one feels about their core identity, which is outside of the realm of sexual attraction.
I feel that my masculine identity in some ways empowers me to move through a world where my contributions to the LGBT community assert my role and the role of my brothers and sisters as one of strength and diversity. We empower the other through our queer similarities, the things that bring us together, and we grow by understanding differences. The respect attained is two-fold.
What have we learned? Trans guys are men. They aren’t lesbians, girls, tomboys or women. They are men.
There are older butches and stone-butches who have witnessed an emergence of new energy radiating among younger trans guys. Their minds are being opened to the possibilities and knowledge not previously available regarding gender identity and its extremely broad range. The same holds true for butch lesbians who are completely comfortable in their skin. No matter her mannerisms she is a masculine-identified woman.
What’s with the trans-masculine butch identity? Trans-masculine refers to any person who was assigned as female at birth but feels that “female” does not accurately describe their gender. This is a term that represents a wide range of folks within the male-oriented queer family. Trans men, gender-queers, and butch lesbians whose masculinity or male traits are often rejected fit under this umbrella.
The fact is that some trans guys remain a part of the lesbian community. There are many others who prefer to fully assimilate into a heterosexual-homosexual-pansexual-asexual-[insert here-sexual] existence and would rather not be associated with the female remnants of their past. That is understandable in every sense of the word. I respect and at times admire however a person chooses to live their life. At the end of the day, I know that I have enough in common with other human beings to continue embracing diversity, tolerance, choice and a zest for life. I consider trans guys brothers within this rainbow family. I don’t ascribe to the “you’re either with us or against us” mentality that can be found within certain LGBT circles. The T in LGBT isn’t some fad that passes as soon as the transition is over. It’s a staple in the LGB community for a reason and trans identity needs the support and demands the acknowledgement that we all work so hard to achieve. We are all, or none and we achieve everything by standing together. When it all comes down, gender is anything you make it to be for it is your very own.
I welcome dialogue. And please, by all means, feel free to correct any inaccuracies you may come across.