- On transfemininity and butchness
- September 13th, 2009
I'm a young trans woman. I'm also decently butch. I can count on one hand the number of people I've disclosed to who've accepted that without a look of confusion.
My gender identity (female, for the most part), and my gender expression (butch, for the most part), are an awkward intersection for some other people to grasp. Why is that, though? Why is a trans female identity a sure lock for wearing Alice in Wonderland dresses at all times in the cultural consciousness? No, seriously. Why?
It's easy enough to say that the whole cultural stereotype of the trans* woman is divided into one of two types - 'surprise' transsexuals and 'pathetic' transsexuals (h/t to Julie Serano, who is awesome, and whose writing really helped me shape my identity in a positive way). Trans identity is either a plot twist or a visual gag in the mainstream media. Not cool, guys.
I don't even know why I'm writing this, honestly. It's late at night and I'm tired and felt like writing. That said, it's a valid point that since, as trans* people, we hold ourselves up to some pillar of masculinity or femininity, we erase the existence of butch trans* women and femme trans* men. I've felt alienated in certain purportedly safe spaces because of the contrast between my trans identity and my butch identity, and have often felt pressured to pick one. Other trans* women have questioned my gender identity by calling out my gender presentation.
We need a better sense of community within our smaller trans community, and respect for those that differ, whether in minor or radical fashions. If we don't, the kyriarchists have won.