Burn It All Down

I have been out and visible since I was 18. I came out through the fire of a fanatical Christian cult (still hard to admit). I have been an out lesbian, dyke, butch, in all its glorious splendor for almost 30 years. I have fought first for gay rights, then lesbian and gay rights, then LGBT rights, and, most recently, queer rights. I have participated in civil rights rallies for Latinos and African Americans. I have protested attempts to restrict a woman’s right to choose. I have fought for change in the legal and corporate world. On the one hand, I am a liberal feminist, bordering on fanatical, adamant for equal rights for all. Since I’ve never been arrested protesting, I don’t think I get to be “radical.”

On the other hand, I am a daughter, a wife, a mother, a neighbor, a friend, and an employee. And the thought that someone might harm my mother and father, wife, kids, neighbors, friends, or coworkers makes me want to burn that person’s village to the ground. I want to climb to the top of something very high and pick off those who would harm me or mine with methodical precision. And doing so would most likely require one of these “military grade” “semi-automatic” weapons. Who am I kidding? I would want a weapon that rivals anything Dead Pool or Batman might have access to. 

That is how I feel right now. I want to find a way to identify everyone that wants to harm my many-layered community and unceremoniously remove them from existence. Punish them for their hatred by taking out anyone “they” love and then them. The anger is blinding. I want to burn it all down. 

But here is the thing. I will never burn it all down. I will never climb to the top of anything high and pick off anyone. Unless of course, social media counts as a high point and my words can be considered the weapon.

The irony, the absolutely ridiculous and beautiful irony of America is that “they” have the right to hate me. “They” have the right to try and change the laws to make my life uncomfortable. “They” have the right to shout at the top of their lungs in a public square, “I hate you, Butch. I despise you and your equality, your gayness, your lack of conformity!” Yes, “they” get to say whatever the hell “they” want. And to think whatever “they” want. And so do I.

Maybe the paradox of our free-speech, free-religion society is that the more rights we have individually, the more important it is that we not have guns. Or rather, if you will, that “they” not have guns. Fair enough. Now, if we could just figure out who “they” are.

Imagine this (tortured) example…I am standing in a public square eloquently shouting my beliefs of equality and fairness to an LGBT crowd. On the other side of the square, “they” stand shouting that a woman’s place is in the home, homosexuality is a sin, and extolling the virtues of white pride. Everyone in the square has a gun – of any type. How does this rally end?

When Mateen walked into Pulse, he used weapons of mass destruction on a micro scale. He did not use freedom of religion. He was not exercising his constitutional right to hate. He brought down a permanent and unappealable sentence on hundreds of people based on his hatred. He should not be able to do that. It should be very, very hard to do that. Or impossible even. 

Since he (and all of us) has the right to hate, we must remove the awful temptation to turn that hate into violent action. Without a gun, he’s just a homophobic asshole. With one, he is a homicidal maniac. No one should be allowed to burn it all down.

We suck at this. America needs to get better. Right now. The rest of the world already thinks we are idiots. We have such resolve, such strength. Why can’t we work together to change this landscape once and for all?

It’s Butch to fight the urge to burn it all down. Be Butch.


It’s Butch to not Be Butch?

This morning as I walked into the office, I stopped dead in my tracks at the sight of giant black spider on the bottom of the glass doors. I mean giant.  The spider was at least 4 inches from leg to leg. There was another guy walking in at the same time. He stopped with me and looked at the spider. I was completely engrossed for a couple reasons: 1) fascination with nature, 2) concern for safety, and 3) eerie curiosity.

1) fascination with nature

This was a big beast. Much bigger than the normal spider. How amazing it is to see things that are out of the ordinary. Though I get excited to see the bunnies that live in my yard every night, too, this seemed extra special. Certainly worthy of a moment to observe.

2) concern for safety

I am always watching out for others – my wife, kids, family, friends, coworkers and strangers. I am the person who will alert housekeeping or a store employee when I come upon someone else’s spill in the aisle. I am the parent who picks up a glass bottle on campus, and the neighbor who will always stop to grab a stray dog (or moves a dead coyote out of the street). I know I am not unique in this – but some people are the ones leaving the spills, bottles and passing the dogs. At work, I am on the Medical Emergency Response Team. That means that if someone gets hurt or sick in the building, one of the MERT members gets called to the scene to help until authorities arrive. I have a vest and everything. As I saw the spider and tried to figure out if it was a Brown Recluse or some other coworker-eating variety, I imagined donning my vest and running down to help an unsuspecting victim just trying to get in to work on a Monday.

3) eerie curiosity

I am afraid of sharks (at least a little), but I still like to see pictures of them in all their ferociousness. I can’t stand scary movies – I mean, like for real can’t stand them – but I like to listen to the creepy music from them. Its like a little taste of scary, without the full dose.

I don’t like spiders, but I am not afraid of them. I wasn’t in a hurry to grab it and hold it, but I did want to check it out. Whenever I am called upon for spider duty, I am able to catch and relocate the little guys from inside our home to a more appropriate place outside. We always leave spiders outside alone, because that is their home. Though this spider was outside, it was not quite at home. As I stood for a few seconds trying to decide what to do, the guy next to me flicked the spider off of the door onto the ground. “It’s fake,” he said.

What? Seriously? It didn’t look fake. I had to keep myself from jumping back when he flicked it off the door. I am sure that I moved a little bit anyway – hopefully he didn’t notice. I felt so silly! Here I am, the spider relocator of my home, and I was ready to jump away from this… fake spider. Sigh. Clearly the absence of anyone relying on my role as the spider relocator, the protector, the defender, the door opener, the Butch, meant that I got to be… scared, creeped out, and jumpy.

Sometimes it is Butch to not be butch at all. Be Butch.


Lea DeLaria: The “Bull Dyke Santa Claus”

[Originally published on Huffington Post March 18, 2016]

Lea DeLaria is busy. Sure, she is the most famous Butch on television – indeed, perhaps the only Butch that most of America knows. But did you know that she is also an extremely talented musician? Last year, she ran a successful campaign to raise money to record a tribute album to David Bowie — House of David (I have a signed poster on my wall). In addition to that, Lea also speaks at college campuses all across the country – at places like Allentown, PA, Asheville and Cullowhee, NC, Cincinnati, OH and San Bernardino, CA. Not exactly gay meccas.

I got to ask the Orange Is the New Black star a few questions, for the second time — call me one lucky fanbutch — about her upcoming Evening of Comedy and Music at The Dinah in Palm Springs in April. First there was a very sincere apology from Lea because she was late. It was a scheduling error and I was not at all irritated, but how nice is it that she cared and apologized? Then there was some witty banter, because, as you know, she is very funny. She is also very genuine and personable. She may or may not heckle me at her show, she explains, because she doesn’t usually heckle people she knows. Then again who knows? Lea says she never knows what she is going to say.

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Photo: Sophy Holland

Are you ready for Dinah and the thousands of lesbians excited to see you?

Oh Lord, Save me from thousands of lesbians.

Somehow, I think you can handle yourself.

I’ll be just fine, honey. I know how to handle the girls.

Have you ever performed at Dinah before?

Oh yeah, a bunch of times in the 90s.

I should have known that. In my defense, that was back when I was going for the golf.

You are the one going for golf! Honestly, every year that I was there working I would run in to like four girls who would say, “No, I am here for the golf.”

What are you looking forward to about Dinah this year?

Palm Springs. I love Palm Springs. Very much looking forward to seeing my buddy Taryn [Manning]. Kate [Moennig] will be there as well. So that’s always fun.

Will we see you out by the pool?

No, you are going to see me at the show and that is probably it. As much as I enjoy being “Bull Dyke Santa Claus.” My fiancée calls me “Bull Dyke Santa Claus” because just the sight of me makes people happy. We find that really funny and have adopted it. As much as I love being “Bull Dyke Santa Claus,” I am going to stay away and if you want to see me, you will have to pay for a ticket.

Did you have fun making House of David?

Hell yea. It was a fucking awesome experience all the way around.

The timing on the album was perfect.

If you mean by that that David died 6 months after I released the record…

Everyone was really upset when he died. Your album meant there was a whole new body of work that people could connect to and that was really powerful.

Huh… Yeah, I just sort of felt like I killed him. That’s probably because of my Catholic upbringing that I think I am responsible for everything, so I felt really responsible for that. I was devastated by his death. Really, really bummed me out for quite a long time. I still talk about it with disbelief. I am still one of those people who can’t quite believe it, but there it is.

Tell me about “A Man for All Seasons”

They hire me to lecture at universities and I go in and do a little talk(to the student body, and a Q&A and that, as they say, is that.

[I note that the current dates are in very small cities and ask how well she is received.]

I am incredibly well received. I am on a very, very, very popular television show. I don’t think those questions are as pertinent in the 21st century as they were in the 20th century. So, instead of thinking that they are in small towns, it is a university town. I am speaking at a university, to the student body. So, these are educated liberal universities or I wouldn’t be there in the first place. And it’s ridiculous for us to ghettoize ourselves and think of ourselves as only queer people. Yes, there is still a lot of stuff to work through and work to be done. But we have to recognize who our allies are and work with them. And they are in every university in the country – every liberal university.

Back to Dinah, what can we expect from your show?

There will definitely be music there. For those of you who only know me fromOrange Is the New Black, and let’s be fair, that may be a whole lot of the women at Dinah, they need to know that I am also a pretty accomplished stand-up comic as well as a jazz singer, and I incorporate those things into a show. I am incredibly improvisational. I will talk a lot about the election, but not like in a really heady way. More like the politicians can suck my big, black cock, which might be a little rough for some of these girls. As I said, I have been to Dinah before and there are a lot of big-haired lesbians, so I’ll see what is going on.

What can your fans look forward to from you?

The new season of Orange comes out on June 17. Season 4. I normally would insert some kind of crazy joke here, but instead I am just going to say that. That is really all I can talk about in terms of Orange. My calendar comes out once a month with whatever dates, whatever universities I am speaking at and where I might be doing House of David because I am starting to tour that out. There are a couple of big things coming down the pike that I am not yet at liberty to discuss. That is about it. I think that is enough for anybody isn’t it? It’s a lot of fucking shit.

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Yes, Lea. It is enough. I am exhausted just thinking about it. Catch Lea DeLaria at her show at Dinah on Saturday, April 2 at the Palm Springs Convention Center. Check Lea’s website to keep up with her – or at least you can try.

It is totally Butch to interview the most famous Butch there is. I am very excited to Be Butch!


Antigone Rising: Everywhere is Home

 Antigone Rising, an all girl, boot stomping, alt country band, released their new music video for their song “Everywhere is Home” from the lesbian mob comedy feature film “Alto.”

Alto is a quirky love story set in the midst of an unanticipated run-in with the New York mafia. It stars Diana DeGarmo, Natalie Knepp, David Valcin, Lou Martini, Jr., Melanie Minichino, and Antigone’s own Nini Camps.

Antigone Rising isn’t content to simply make music. They continue to rise to the challenge of being role models by using their musical success to educating youth around the globe as cultural ambassadors to the United States government. 

The band has successfully launched their own noprofit organization Girl Bands Rock to inspire and educate kids, especially young girls, that it’s ok to think outside the box and pursue careers in non-traditional fields. They have partnered with school districts and youth centers all over the country to create innovative programming dedicated to building confidence in youth by developing leadership and creative skills through musical workshops, outreach programs and performances.

Check out the new video and the band Antigone Rising. Because, after all, girl bands rock. 


The Sir-offender

I’ve got a new post up over on the Huffington Post. Will you go check it out for me? Maybe like it so the good folks at HuffPost know some people read what I write?

It’s Butch to support ButchOnTap on Huffington Post. Be Butch. 


Butch’s Adventures with TSA: Forbidden Words

It’s time for another episode of Butch’s Adventures with TSA. In today’s tale, we learn about those forbidden words.

After smooth sailing through the millimeter wave image monster (no doubt because I sing-songed my hello to the agent staffing the magic pink and blue buttons), I collected my stuff from the belt. 

The benches were full of travelers getting dressed, so I moved over to the table where they do they bomb swipey thing. As I was grabbing the only liquid I had removed from my batchel – a tiny travel cologne flask – I noticed an agent I like.

Me: How’s my favorite TSA agent today?

Agent: Good! It’s my Friday. 

Me: (sprays cologne) Mine too!

Agent: That smells good… What is it?

Me: Spicebomb. Oh. Can I say that here?

Agent: (laughs)

Me: You should see the bottle. 

Agent: Do you carry it? (Eyes my bag)

Me: I stopped after I got pulled for search the second time.

Agent: (laughs) Have a great trip!

There you go. A nice TSA agent who has a sense of humor.

It’s Butch to be nice to the TSA even when they’ve not always been nice to you. Be Butch. 

  


Notes from 18C

Hi BOTs.

A few random thoughts for you as I sit in my seat on the plane. 

1. Couldn’t find a parking spot this morning. Being late and having to park closer to the airport isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Also, no one is leaving the airport at 6:30 am. 

2. Been called “sir” twice already. Yes, I am a big Butch wearing a bow tie, but it’s only inches above a giant chest (of boobs).

3. TSA was in full effect, making me pass through the imaging machine twice. I don’t have male parts and they can’t seem to get this.

4. The days of empty seats beside you on planes are gone. Unless you are a big Butch in a bow tie. Then, you frequently get an empty seat. Hahaha. 

5. People who need coffee are in a bit of a club. You can seriously bond over your latte. Especially when you had time to get one and 19C didn’t.

6. Carrying your wife’s license and credit card so she can forgo a bag for the day is gallant, but you should check your wallet before you leave for a few days. I’m sorry, Gorgeous.

7. Selena Gomez’s Hands to Myself is a really good song. “I mean I could, but why would I want to?”

8. I’m finding writing to be a bit of a challenge right now. I keep thinking of things to write about and then dismissing them. So, that means not much creativity making it to the page. 

Bear with me while I try to press through it?

It’s Butch to press on. Be Butch. 


And the Winner is…

Tonight, I drew the winner of The Dinah weekend pass giveaway. Check out the video as the drama unfolds. 

It’s Butch to enter contests with ButchOnTap. Thanks for Being Butch!


Win Tickets to The Dinah!

I’m excited to be able to run my first contest. And it’s not for a free CD or tshirt – not that I don’t love free CDs and tshirts. I mean, everyone loves a free tshirt. Just look how the crowd absolutely loses its (collective) mind when someone starts throwing tshirts from the stage. You’ll never wear it, but you are ready to kill for it. You know what I am talking about.

But no, this isn’t a tshirt. I get to give away two sets of Weekend Passes for The Dinah this year in Palm Springs! This contest is for the first set of Weekend Passes. I have another contest planned for the second set. Can you hear the dramatic music in the background? Anyway, how do you win these tickets?

All you have to do is post a picture of you all dressed up in your outfit for the Black Party on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram holding the ButchOnTap logo. Just print it out or if you are tech savvy, add it to your image (like mine below). You can get the logo here if you are a WordPress user, here for FB users, and here on Twitter. Sidenote: Isn’t my logo badass?

DinahByBOT

To recap…

1. Get dressed up and get a picture with the logo.

2. Share your picture with the world in one of 3 ways:

– Post it on the BOT Facebook page and use the hashtag #DinahByBOT

– Tweet the picture on Twitter tagging @ButchOnTap and use the hashtag #DinahByBOT

– Post the picture on Instagram tagging @ButchOnTap and use the hashtag #DinahByBOT

Bonus points –> If you do all 3, I’ll enter you 3 times.

Karma points –> Wear a bow tie and you’ll make me smile.

Get it up by Monday, February 8th (at midnight, says the lawyer). Oh, and you have to be 21, and get to the event yourself. This is just the tickets to get into the event. The winner will be picked by me at my sole discretion. Right. Ready? Go!

It’s Butch to get dressed up and compete for free tickets. Be Butch!


20 (Selected) Things I Love About My Wife

Perhaps it is telling that I started this post as 10 things. I had to keep going. And, I could keep going further. But blog best practices suggest that lists should be limited to 10. I think double-flouting that is enough rebellion. Plus, she might get a big head if I listed 30 things. 25 things would be safe, maybe 26, but not 30. So, I give you 20 (selected) things that I love about my wife.

20 Things I Love About My Wife

  1. The Scottish lilt of her voice
  2. Her total devotion to her friends and family
  3. Everything, absolutely everything, about her body
  4. Her colorful and fun sense of style
  5. The passion she has for the sea and all of its inhabitants
  6. Her stunning eyes – with no makeup and with dramatic cat eye makeup
  7. The way she remembers everything and is so thoughtful with details I seem to forget
  8. Her brilliant mind
  9. The fact that she laughs at almost all of my jokes
  10. Her ability to wear heels and other uncomfortable clothing gracefully
  11. The way she holds my hand – actively squeezing, rather than lazily
  12. Her inability to tell a striker from a quarterback
  13. The way she drapes herself over me and fits no matter how small the available space
  14. Her crinkled up nose and other funny faces
  15. The fact that she will grab the screwdriver to tackle a project if I am not fast enough, but stills sees me as big, strong and capable
  16. Her passion for life
  17. How sparkly she is
  18. The unjaded way she sees the world
  19. Her laughter, and her tears
  20. And, last but certainly not least, the fact that she loves me

It’s Butch to proclaim your love loudly, even if you don’t have a blog on which to do it. Be Butch. 


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