Home > Introduction > I’m feeling a little vulnerable.

I’m feeling a little vulnerable.

November 9, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

It took me two days to get all the settings for this thing set up, and now that I’m sitting down for the exciting part – writing, actually writing! – I’m feeling a little vulnerable.  And not just because the ‘i’ key on my keyboard is broken, interrupting my typing rhythm.  Every time I get to an ‘i’, I’ve been slamming down on the poor key four or five times.  Whoa there, Sparky.  Take your aggression somewhere else.

I’m not surprised I’m feeling a little antsy.  It’s not that I don’t have ideas (or, as my keyboard wants me to say, ‘deas’) for what to write in here, but rather that I’m a student of the “If you’re going to do something, you better do it right correctly” school.  I keep wanting to disclaim myself.

“Hey guys, first post here – well, before I write any more I just want you to know that I’ll be writing from a position of privilege in many ways: I’m white, I’m upper-class, I’m able, and I don’t look queer 40-45 hours a week, so I want you to know right off the bat that I’ll be trying to minimize that as much as possible, but sometimes it’s invisible – give me an e-mail if you think I’ve said something ignorant, but don’t be too hard on me cause I’m so young and I’m still learning, and…”, or “Hey guys, I’m not a writing major, I was a MATH MAJOR, so don’t mind me if I can’t string two words together to form a sentence”, or “Hey guys, my first post! I’m so excited, but before I say anything, let me just say that most people wouldn’t even call me butch, so if you wouldn’t call me butch that’s fine, but I just think I have a right to identify as whatever I want, and besides, if you’ve known me for years, maybe you wouldn’t say that, so…”

You get the point.  I battle so much with a feeling of authenticity, mostly around my butch identity.  I don’t ask myself “Am I butch?” anymore; I’ve realized that I am.  What’s made it hard for me to start this blog is the answer to the question: “Do others perceive me as butch?”  The answers are mixed, as you’ll read below.  Furthermore, the question is complicated by the fact that I often feel the need to come out as butch, which strikes me as strange, since butches are typically among the most visible parts of the queer community.

Scenario 1, in which I feel like I need to come out, but I don’t: I’m out to dinner with my best friend from high school, who I only get to see 1 to 2 times a year.  We’ve grown apart over the past 4 years, but he knew me really well at a time, I would argue, that I barely knew myself.  He’s not queer, occasionally ignorant of feminism, and he’s getting married next year (more on that later…)

Me: I, uh, I’m not sure how to say this, but I’m going to be butch from now on.  So I’m going to wear a suit at your wedding.  Not a dress.

Him: Oh, you’ve always been butch.  I wouldn’t want you in a dress, even though I know you’d try to put yourself in one.  I’m glad you’re finally embracing it!

Scenario 2, in which I feel no need to come out, but I should: I walk into a Lakeview bar (non-Chicago residents, read: yuppies) to meet my co-workers, wearing a men’s flannel shirt and motorcycle boots.  Did I mention I slicked back my hair? I’m practically shaking in my 12 pound boots upon entering because on the walk over, I got pointed out by two people as “Clearly. Definitely. One hundred percent.”, and I’m thinking, “Oh my god, my co-workers have never seen me like this, I know I look good, but not everyone thinks a butch looks good. What if, what if, what if…”.  Of course, despite being near-tears everything’s fine, and I have this exchange:

Her: Is that guy gay?

Me, knowingly and in jest: Him? Definitely not. And I flatter myself that I have pret-ty-good-gay-dar.

Her, clueless: Oh, really?


I guess I feel vulnerable because I want to be recognized for the way I identify, but fear that those who are “actually” butch, or “really” queer might think I’m an imposter.  That’s why this blog is called “How to Be Butch”…I know I already am, but I’m working on making sure that I truly know it, and that no one can take it away from me.

Oh look, I already feel strong and determined from this post.  I look forward to writing in here very much.  I can already feel myself wanting to say a million things, which only says to me that I have a million things to work through.  How exciting!

Categories: Introduction
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