Friday 31 December 2021

Butch Voices.

One thing that's been missing from my life for ... what seems like ages ... is butch voices. That is, the thoughts and experiences of butches: cis butches, queer butches, non-binary butches, trans butches. Although I identify as femme, when I read or hear from other femmes there's often some adjustment required. In order to relate, I have to tweak it a little. Whereas with butches there's an almost direct correlation, such that I find myself nodding constantly in agreement. So it's been a solace to see butch voices surface again recently.

Significantly, first of all, in Dr. Finn Mackay's important book ‘Female Masculinities and the Gender Wars’, which they wrote largely because they felt that butch voices were going unheard. The book expands on their original (2017) research into lesbian and queer masculinities, which I've referenced before (see here).

Another apparent aim was to disentangle radical feminism from its trans-exclusionary associations. As Finn shows, radical feminism is not inherently trans-hostile or transphobic. Indeed, and for what its worth, a lot of my own views on gender – re gender-based oppression, gender roles, gender stereotyping, and so forth – are derived substantially from radical feminism. I think we're natural allies. As Finn makes clear:

Trans women are women is the answer to the question of whether trans women are women, but it isn't the only question we need to ask. The tragedy is that sides are being fought for at all, by communities which should have no sides, because we all share a greater enemy, and that is the forces of racist right-wing nationalism seeking to impose reactionary sex and gender conservatism on everyone.

Less academically, Ella Braidwood has written about... ‘A moment that changed me: The haircut that liberated me as a butch lesbian’. Click the link for the whole thing. Here I'd just like to highlight:

I found inspiration in transgender and non-binary people, too, including several drag kings in London, where I now live. I disagree with claims that transgender and non-binary people erase or threaten my identity as a butch lesbian and a cisgender woman. Conversely, they have been a massive source of strength to me, particularly in terms of living authentically.

Ah, that's so nice to read. Not least because Ella's feelings are very much reciprocated. Butch lesbians have been a massive source of strength to me too, particularly in terms of living authentically. Also:

Pressuring people who don’t want to conform to gender stereotypes doesn’t change them. It damages them. My haircut helped to liberate me. I just wish I had felt able to do it years ago.

“I just wish I had felt able to do it years ago.” I'm guessing many of us could say the same. Please visualize a *friends* emoji. Or, should you prefer, some seasonal sentiment:

And there's a hand, my trusty fiere!
And gie's a hand o' thine!
And we'll tak' a right gude-willie waught,
For auld lang syne.

Monday 27 September 2021

Eight months later.

Well, I've finally finished my book and it will be out in January. This is what it will look like:

As you'll notice, it's a chess book. It has nothing to do with gender. And yet...

About the author: ‘They have been investigating and writing about opening theory for over 30 years.

Yes, that's “they have” not “he has”. Right.

Similarly, unless referring to someone specifically gendered, I use neutral pronouns throughout. No “he or she” nonsense. Just “they” and “their”, and even “themself”. Because why the fuck wouldn't I do that?!

Furthermore, the book ‘is based to a large extent on my own investigations and practice’, so I reference a lot of my own games, including those played online – where I mostly use the handle “tsmenace” (and have been doing since I started playing online in 2004). As I explain in the Introduction: ‘Other instances of “tsmenace” online are not me, though the source is likely to be the same, and I still have the t-shirt.’ Readers here, if not there, may already recognize that source...

From Wikipedia: ‘The Transexual Menace (...) was a transgender rights activist organization founded in New York City in 1993. It was the first direct action group of its kind, and grew to be a national organisation with 24 chapters.’ My t-shirt adds the words: “Great British Chapter”. I got it from PFC back in the day.

Damn, that seems a lifetime ago. Do we even use the term “transsexual” any more? It's a long time since I wore the t-shirt too – I keep it in a drawer as a souvenir – but when I did, the reactions were... entertaining. I never, as you might think, got any actual abuse. Instead, I saw people's eyes drift expressionlessly down to my chest and then back up again. I stared expressionlessly back. But that was back then. In the current trans-hostile climate I probably would get abuse. It'll be interesting to see whether there's any response to any of this once the book comes out.

Those last two words are apposite because the book is a sort-of coming out too, in that it puts my gender issues into the public domain. Albeit a tiny part thereof and only incidentally. After all, it is a chess book.

Monday 1 February 2021

Lockdown #2

Or is it #3 now? I'm finding it hard to tell. I'm also finding this one much harder than the last.

Again, my life has hardly changed really. I still sit at home at the computer all day. But I'm now doing less and less while sitting there.

I'm still writing a book. Or rather, should be writing a book. I'm doing that less and less too. Early morning walks are out because it's dark, cold, very often wet, and the bunnies are probably all asleep underground anyway. I'm still practising the recorder on and off.

I've bought a few things courtesy of Facebook advertising. None of the stuff in my post. All from the store mentioned in the comments, including (since the link there has gone dead) one of these:

Fabulous. Who knows when I'll get the chance to wear it.

But the main event this time has been taking photos of the River Trent, from Gunthorpe Bridge to Torksey Lock and Littleborough, in various types of light and states of flood. I can't really see what I'm doing; the viewing screen is too small. I just point the camera in the right sort of direction and click. But that's the beauty of digital cameras. You can take as many pictures as you like. Some of them are bound to turn out okay.

Check my Twitter account for an ongoing selection if you want, and if you can bear to scroll through the rest of the junk to find them. They go back to 22nd August 2020. For those who can't be bothered, these are perhaps my four favourites:

Torksey Lock (7th November 2020)

Hazelford Ferry (12th November 2020)

Dunham Lakes (2nd January 2021)

Carlton-on-Trent (18th January 2021)

The third is my current desktop wallpaper :)

But seriously, fuck the Tories.