tomboybrat said: So I recently decided that I just really am not femme, and decided to embrace my inner tomboy / butch / hard-femme / whatever the hell I am that's not really femme identity.. but I'm trying to mentally process stuff like my relationship to pronouns, trying to read as a woman but still butch without necessarily reading as "male," whether I care.. any tips for someone who's newly out/newly embracing a tomboy/butch identity beyond "Just do what you like?"
Today is a two-fer on ask a trans butch!
One thing I will say is that a lot of it is a confidence thing. Not necessarily that confidence will get you gendered more correctly (though that is partly true), but that after a while you may realize that being butch often means operating in a “middle space” for mass society and be empowered by that fact.
Butch cis women friends of mine deal with being called “sir,” for example. Some of them like it and some do not, or just find the whole gendered noun thing awkward and confusing (I’m in the latter category). Sometimes a good eye roll or a look of “wtf are you a fucking moron” will send even the most ardent gendering aficionado into a stammering confusion.
Attitude is basically what I’m saying. You’ve heard of fierce femmes now start thinking of boss butches. You know who you are and you will be damned if someone is going to come around and try and take that away from you.
Realize that by being both butch and a trans woman you are doubly confounding the ever-present Gender Binary Czar. That guy is a total douche-nozzle and has been around for a while oppressing not just trans folk.
I too generally want to be seen as a woman even when challenging a gender binary. I want to stand along side a great herstory of women proudly proclaiming they can look how they want, wear what they want, and do what they want while still being women.
That nasty word “she-male” was first used to disparage masculine cis women who wanted to be equal socially and economically. Is it any wonder trans people would eventually feel the brunt of that hate? There is a “proper way” to be trans in many people’s minds (even in many trans people’s minds). Trans women are supposed to be sugar and spice and everything nice and trans men are supposed to be the burly protector figures bringing home the proverbial bacon. Fuck that.
So what does this mean in our day-to-day struggles to get recognized? “Do what you want” sounds nice and all, but as you are clearly aware our bodies are not fully our own in a patriarchal society. If we want to be recognized we have to learn an imperfect language to be able to communicate with that world.
For example, I pass much much more as a butch (cis) woman in queer and LGBT spaces where gender variance is more the norm. Outside that world some people think I simply must be a boy because I have shorter hair and wear pants and button ups along with my androgynous body.
Conversely when I’m in queer and LGBT spaces and I dress more feminine I’m more oft read as trans. Vice versa for the straight-cis world.
Middle-space! It’s the best or worst spot on the bingo card depending on your perspective.
Whatever you wear or do is going to be subject to someone’s arbitrary scrutiny and body policing. Undermining that scrutiny is my personal best advice. If you wear a tank top with your budding boobies visible and you get a sir tossed your way combat it with the arch of an eyebrow. Throw back that “Mister.” with a “Mister?” Subtly argue from a position of strength not defense.
If any of you out there have other perspectives or more specifics please drop me an ask.