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.