Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Femme-An Interlude

If I were a god
I would smooth
the rough seas
you sail toward my shores

If I were a god
It wouldnt matter much
where you hand went
or where your lips roamed

If I were a god
I would polish the course surface
bloodying your hands
with each ardent touch

If I were a god
words your ears craved
would fall from the Sahara of my mouth
watering your hearts avaricious thirst

If I were a god
Maybe I would feel it was worth it
to send the guards all home
and put my heart into your hands alone.

But I am not a god.


Saturday, April 19, 2014

Butch-Puberty-Dysphoria and Depression

I said in the first post on this Butch series, that Butch childhoods are both complicated and confusing. But for all the confusing complicatedness of Butch childhood, including never having "felt like a girl" I easily skirted applying girl to my body. And by that I mean, I noticed no significant differences between my boy comrades or myself. Even on hot summer days we all ran around shirtless, it was never made mention that I need to put a shirt on because I was a girl. If the occasion arose or it was just plain hot, off my shirt came.

It was a great young, even powerful body, no limits. Or I felt it had none. No homemade bike ramp was high enough that I wouldn't jump, sometimes with less than favourable results. No roof top I wouldn't jump from, no tree limb either. I put my little Butch body through the ringer, and every time it performed to the tough standards I had in mind. I still have the certificate from the President that my granny saved in the family photo album from 7th grade. I had the highest score on the physical fitness test in the whole of the USA, 492 out of a possible 500. Yes, it was an awesome body and it was all mine. I may have had confusions about who I was, I had none about what my body could do or work toward doing.

Somewhere between that 492 and 8th grade, that all changed as my body changed. Puberty hit and it hit hard. Harder than any boy had hit me playing football, harder than any ground or pavement hit when I fell off my bike, harder than when I got hit by a car, harder even than the rocks I was so adept at throwing far. It hit and I couldnt hit it back. I tried, sometimes I tried. Hitting or pounding at the budding breast I didnt want to grow. But nothing stopped it.

Nor could anything stop my uterus from beginning its monthly dreams of creating its own human masterpiece. A bloody nightmare in my opinion. And each time it couldn't give birth to its little Renoir or Van Gogh, I bled. The writer Janet Frame had written in her autobiography of the time she spent in mental asylums, that whenever she was to receive shock treatment each time was "the equivalent, in degree of fear, to an execution." I am not using poetic license when I say that description was exactly how I felt for many years directly before and with each period my body produced.

My body betrayed me. Whatever it was doing or trying to do, wasn't me! And all I could do was watch it like someone witnessing a horrible accident in slow motion, paralyzed and unable to move. Bang! Boom! Crash! And while shame filled every change my body took, every curve of breast or hip but more than that, was anger. I could have vomited an ocean of anger, I was filled to the gills! If I could have pulled these changes from my body, shaped them with bare hands into something human? I was so angry, with baseball bat I could have beaten those unflinching changes into a bloody lump, till they resembled nothing in the ballpark of human. This was not teenage Butch angst, it was an assault on my Butch self, it was war and me with no weapons.

These times feel all at once like a million years ago and yesterday. If I inhale just so, I can still smell the perfume of certain girls. Still feel the night air walking one home after football games. Still see the look in their eye that said they wanted to save me, but didn't know how, outside of doing my homework, so I wouldn't fail. They didn't understand I was waged in war, war torn with many more battles ahead. I still regret not spending the night with one when I had the chance. When she asked, I knew what it meant. But at fifteen I didn't even have butch to arm myself with, and going in naked was out of the question. How could I conquer girls, when I couldn't even conquer myself? 


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Butch-The Colour Pink-Dolls, Dress and Dichotomy

I preface this series of Butch posts with this: I write these posts on Butch lesbians from two distinct places. 1) From someone who has observed, studied, interacted with, was/is the confidant of and friends with Butch lesbians. 2) I write these posts as a Butch lesbian from the scariest place on earth, the lone, nude I.

Butch lesbians are not manufactured in a scientist's lab, we are home grown, cell by cell, finger by finger from our mother's womb. And when we are pushed out into the awaiting already Gender Straight Jacketed world, we are Butch intact. So while I cannot tell you exactly what happened within that womb, how the matter that is my brain was marked by a fly speck of difference, I can only tell you what came after.

What came after first was what I know and what came after that was what I remember. I'll start with what I know. I know around age two my ma could not keep me in a dress. I remember around age three being asked by strangers observing between my long (girls) hair, my pants, T shirt, tennis shoes and rough play "are you a boy or a girl?" It is a question that dogged me throughout my childhood, my teen years, even today I can spot it in the eyes of strangers. In childhood those looks were usually filled with a puzzlement, somewhere in adulthood they developed a range, from dumbstruck to disgust.

Somewhere, maybe, way back there even I looked at myself with disgust. Maybe disgust is too strong a word, more of a sense or belief that I was ugly. Even with my long hair, I didnt look like any of the girls I knew, or with my "boys" clothes I looked like none of the boys. Ugly. Even though my comrades were boys, I still had friends that were girls. I think it was third grade that I first  intellectually ran these thoughts through my mind. I had, for sometime now observed that, in school at least, there were certain kids who gathered with other certain kids.

Being the proverbial loner, nothing to do with the Butch aspect, another fly speck? I never felt a part of any of these groups, gangs or cliques. But nevertheless, I had my certain crew of kids whom I was friends with and they me. And it was in third grade, like I said, that I noticed the obvious similarity among them, they were attractive, boys and girls alike. I thought about this hard, and wondered to myself, if they are good looking kids, and they all hang out together, why would they be friends with me? Who was ugly. It would take a small handful of decades, before I could look in a mirror and value what I saw staring back. I've heard from many Butches who thought as children or teenagers believed themselves ugly. Because we're groomed to see female beauty in very limited ways, and the way female shaped our Butch bodies was unseen and remains unseen today. And if we cannot even measure ourselves against female beauty standards, then there is nothing left, but ugly or worse, freak.

I first learned about wrestling from Geno, he was an American Indian. Dark reddish skin, jet black hair and stocky. We were the same age when we met, three. He lived near relatives of mine in the downtown Flint area of Michigan. Straight away he wanted to wrestle me. We wrestled, he was strong I remember thinking, making me more determined to pin him down, which after a bit of struggle I did. Geno drowned in the Flint river a year later.

Boys wrestled I learned and they would want to wrestle me. Wrestling between boys or myself and a boy was a way to discern who was tougher without actually fighting. Losing at wrestling to a boy relegates the loser to a weak/er status and weak in our society equals female/girl/woman/bitch. These wrestling lessons were reinforced with taunts from the winners toward the losers of "you wrestle like a girl" calling up similar feelings when a boy would tell another boy that he "throws like a girl" or hearing from boys with a feeling of pride that I didnt. I never lost at wrestling, and learned in the "rough areas" in elementary schools growing up that I never wanted to be the girl, girls are weak. I was strong, was I really a girl? I had my doubts.

I've heard many stories over the years of baby Butches being forced by their parents into pink frilly dresses and bought only baby dolls to play with. I was lucky in that girls colours/clothes/toys or any other thing labeled girl wasnt forced on me, nor did I choose any of it. I had my own fishing pole, mini-bike at age four (my dad fashioned training wheels on it till I could ride it without a year later), cap guns, BB gun, dirt bike at ten, hot wheels, Indian Cheif headdress, tomahawk (I hated cowboys) and the list goes on. These child accoutrements shaped how I thought about boys and girls and myself as much as wrestling did. These things placed me into a category that both existed (boy) and didnt exist (the girl me). 

Somewhere between not seeing myself as a girl through not acting girl and a healthy dose of boy socialization, I got separated from FEELING girl. No matter the vast familial differences each Butch experiences growing up, this particular fissure, this not feeling like a girl takes hold of us before we're even school age. And so much of everything else that comes after deepens this internal gulf. What does it mean to not feel like the thing that you know that you are? Alien.


adjective \ˈā-lē-ən, ˈāl-yən\
: not familiar or like other things you have known : different from what you are used to
: from another country
: too different from something to be acceptable or suitable

So while this definition sums up some of what I felt, there is no word that encompassed what it felt like to be an alien in my own home of origin! GIRL was the country I was born in, yet every conceivable direction I looked was unrecognizable to me. Sure, I walked its coiffed, manicured streets but every sign post was a language I could not decipher. GIRL was a place I never once felt at home in, and yet GIRL, was my homeland.

When you are born a Butch lesbian, even our earliest memories are drenched in a suffocating, thick dense smog of girl/boy confusion. Strangers mistaking us for a sex we are not, us wishing, dreaming of not being the sex that we are, all because the only roads shown to us were marked with two sign posts: Boy Behaviour Ave to your left and Girl Behaviour Dr keep right.

Caution, children at play.


Sunday, April 13, 2014

New Testosterone Studies-New Dangers for Transmen?

What does 27 long term studies on the effects of synthetic testosterone on males tell us about the life threatening dangers of "T" on trans females?

The Public Citizen recently petitioned the FDA to put black box warning labels on testosterone products "based on growing evidence of the risks of heart attacks and other cardiovascular dangers from many individual randomized studies going back as far as 2010 and a recently published overall analysis (meta-analysis) of 27 studies going back as far as 20 years. Although 13 of these studies, funded by the drug industry, collectively showed no increased risk, the 14 studies not funded by the industry collectively showed a highly significant increased cardiovascular risk."

"Despite all of these studies, the FDA stated on Jan. 31 that it “has not concluded that FDA-approved testosterone treatment increases the risk of stroke, heart attack, or death.”
“In the face of this accumulating evidence, this statement is reckless and is a betrayal of the FDA’s role as an agency in the U.S. Public Health Service,” said Dr. Sidney Wolfe, founder and senior adviser of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group.It is quite clear that testosterone treatment increases the risks of cardiovascular diseases, including heart attacks.”

More from the studies:
So what exactly does all this mean for transitioning females? We dont know, because clearly trans females arent being studied in the long or short term. But if low doses of synthetic hormones given to a portion of the male population who naturally produce this hormone in large quantities are having "cardiac events?" Can we not surmise then that HIGH doses of this synthetic hormone given to a portion of the female population who make small amounts naturally have the serious potential to produce cardiac (and other) UN-natural events?

Feb. 25, 2014 – ABC News: Group Wants Heart Attack Warning on Testosterone
Jan. 30, 2014 – NPR: Popular Testosterone Therapy May Raise Risk of Heart Attack
Jan. 29, 2014 – New York TimesNew concern about testosterone and heart risks
Jan. 29, 2014 – LA TimesTestosterone prescriptions linked to heart attack
Nov. 5, 2013 – Wall Street JournalTestosterone therapy tied to heart risks
Nov. 5, 2013 ABC News: Testosterone supplements tied to heart attacks, stroke, early death


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Different Women Doing Woman Different: Dr. Mary Edwards Walker

Dr. Walker was a feminist, abolitionist, war hero and a hundred or so years ahead of her time on not only what women could do, but what she DID do as a woman and how she dared to look doing it.

She was born in Oswego NY in November 26, 1832 to progressive parents. She worked on her family's farm from a young age where during working hours she refused to wear women's clothing due to their restrictiveness, her mother had the intelligence to support her in this and preach against the unhealthy dangers of corsets and tight laced clothing.

Dr. Walker's mother was a teacher and Mary followed in her footsteps, later using the money she made from teaching to put herself through medical school where she graduated in 1855 as the ONLY female in her class.

Dr. Walker volunteered for the Union side during the Civil War, where she served as a nurse because sexist insecure army officials wouldnt allow her the status of her full medical degree. She frequently crossed battle lines to treat injured civilians and was even captured for several months by the Confederates. She was later recommended for the Medal of Honor and was granted it on November 11th 1865 by President Johnson. In 1917 due to idiot red tape, Dr. Walker was stripped of her Medal, but continued to wear it right up to her death. In 1977 President Jimmy Carter posthumously reinstated Mary's Medal and due right to female/feminist history.

After the war Mary lectured, wrote and joined the ranks of suffragists such as Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Mary fought for women's healthcare, women's rights and dress reform for women, sporting masculine attire while doing so.

Dr Walker died February 21, 1919 at the age of 86. Mary Walker carried female differently in how she dressed, the education she demanded for herself as a female, her right to risk her life for her country, her bravery for imparting all this to other women where ever she lectured, in short Dr Mary Walker did woman different in every breath she took.


Sunday, April 6, 2014

Trans Trending-Who is Transitioning

Dax-Age 17

Cam-Age 18

Kim-Age 17

Dave-Age 15

Jay-Age 20

Beau-Age 18

Tyler-Age 18

Caleb-Age 17

Will-Age 19

None here old enough to legally drink, some not old enough to vote, none with fully developed brains and none in the medical community caring enough to see much beyond the sound of ching ching.


Friday, April 4, 2014

Butch Lesbians and Upcoming Posts

In lieu of the responses I received from both Butches and especially Femmes over the Passive Femme posts here and here I'm going to do a series of posts on Butch lesbians over the next week or two. I'm going to list the post's titles here with a brief description of each. If you are a Butch and would like to share experiences you have had that you feel relate to any/all of these posts, email me at thedirtfromdirt@yahoo.com and I might include some excerpts from them. With permissions of course.

1) Butch-The Colour Pink-Dolls, Dress and Dichotomy: This post will explore Butch feelings/experiences in early childhood/childhood and the duality of living a girl-boy-hood. Also how that duality sets up young Butches to develop female shame/dysphoria when they reach puberty.

2) Butch-Puberty-Dysphoria and Depression: In this post I'll explore how puberty (development of breasts/hips and beginnings of periods) slam young Butches into a wall of femaleness we had hoped/prayed would elude us and how that shame seeps into everything.

3) Butch-Butch Sexuality-Stoneness: This post will explore with brutal ashamed and unashamed honesty, Butch lesbian sexuality. How Butch lesbians feel about various types of sex/touching. How Butch lesbians get to different plateaus of sexual intimacy. And what in Butch lesbian experience/psychology informed these sexual plateaus of sex/intimacy. Can all Butch lesbians get to the top plateau?

Again to Butch readers or those who might pass this on to a Butch lesbian, if you want to share something that pertains to any of the posts described above, email me by next week Friday.