Tag Archives: butchness

Is ButchOnTap one of the 25 Most Powerful Butches in America?

What does it mean to be one of the most powerful Butches in America?

Does it mean that women won’t freak out when I walk in the correct restroom? Does it mean that my friends will stop wondering why I don’t just dress a little more feminine if it’s so irritating? Does it mean that people at restaurants, coffee shops, drug stores, service counters, auto shops, and on planes will stop calling me “Sir”? Does it mean that I will magically have tons of customized clothing options when I walk into any of the shops I frequent? Does it mean that I will stop frustrating the occasional gay man who thought I was a man to hit on? Does it mean that I will have all of the book publishing world and Hollywood open to me to do some creating on a big scale?

Does it mean my amazing and stunning wife will love me more? Does it mean my kids will think I am any cooler? Does it mean my puppy will stop having accidents in the house? Does it mean my cat allergies will suddenly vanish? Will it reduce my cable guy service window?

The answer to all of these questions is a resounding and huge No. But, it would be hella cool.

When ButchWonders posted the poll this morning and invited the world to vote for the 25 Most Powerful Butches in America, I was excited. What a cool thing to see all those Butches (and in some cases, perceived Butches) listed. I mean, there are lots of us! Butches aren’t disappearing! And even better, we are starting to achieve more visibility. More visibility means more mental health. More comfort in daily life. More acceptance. It means kids can figure out they are Butch younger. Less stress. Less anxiety. Less why don’t I fit? Less badly dressed lesbians! (You are a Butch, feel free to shop in either the men’s or women’s department.)

I was also excited to be listed. Heh. But I got tripped up on whether I could ask y’all to vote for me. If I was powerful, wouldn’t everyone vote without being asked? Doesn’t it diminish it if I run around asking for votes?

Again, I think the answer is No.

I’ve done pretty well in life by asking for what I want. After all, I want to be powerful. With power comes the ability to change things. To get things done. With power, people are more likely to take your calls, listen to you. Isn’t it my responsibility to claim that power then? To take steps towards what I want? To help carry the banner for Butches everywhere?

I hope so. Please vote for me. You can vote for 10 of the people listed, so it’s not like I have to be the most powerful Butch you know… Just in your top 10. The poll closes Friday, so vote quickly.

I’ll still Be Butch regardless of the outcome of the poll. Making it won’t make me more Butch, nor will not making it mean I am less Butch. But, it’s Butch to ask for what you want. Vote for me and Be Butch with me.


Lifting Myself – Full Piece Up

 

A couple of days ago, I posted a short excerpt from this piece. It went up at Huffington Post yesterday. You can read part of it below, and the full article at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tristan-higgins/lifting-myself_b_3752947.html.

I have been lifting as part of my fitness routine for over a year, but in the past six months I realized how much I like it and started toying with the idea of doing a competition. A competition would make my training more real and give me motivation — you know, in the same way that training for a half or full marathon motivates runners. It gives them a goal, something to work toward rather than just running “another five miles today.” I cannot imagine anything worse than that, by the way. I am not a runner.

But I think I could be a lifter. At least, I want to try.

 

2013-08-14-IMG_5107.JPG 

So for the past five weeks I have been committed to a special training routine and program to help get me ready for a powerlifting meet in September.

Powerlifting means lifting as much weight as you can. There are three events: chest press, dead lift and the dreaded squat. I am doing powerlifting, not physique (the really, really pretty, lean bodies) or bodybuilding (also pretty but beefy bodies). I joke that powerlifting is the one that allows me to still drink my beloved craft beer. But even that I am doing in restricted moderation since I started training for the competition. See? Focus. A target.

Though I still have a ton to learn about lifting (pun intended), I have learned a few things already:

1. This is a very supportive community. There aren’t that many women who lift, at least not at my gym, and the one other woman who competes has become my hero and a little bit of a mentor (though I am not sure she knows either of those things). All the other lifting coaches in my gym call out to me during my workouts, supporting and offering encouragement. Before and after workouts, they stop me and my trainer to offer a tip here and there. It seems to take a village to lift that bar.

2. This is hard. If you think it looks hard to lift a lot of weight, you are right. All the equipment is hard. It hurts when you bump into it. It especially hurts when you bump into your limitations. I’ve learned that you can press through them — slowly — but knowing when to press through and when to listen to your body and stop? That’s hard too. My trainer, Janet, is amazing at knowing this. And there are strains, and pulls, and aches, and bruises.

3. The next point aside, femmes dig it. I am told that lifting is very sexy. Muscles, sweat and calloused hands, all a plus. I don’t have to agree to appreciate this.

This is where it really gets good! Hop over to http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tristan-higgins/lifting-myself_b_3752947.html to read the rest. Thanks!


Lifting Myself – Excerpt

This is my newest piece submitted to the Huffington Post today. It should be up in a couple of days. In the meantime, I wanted to post an excerpt here…

I have been lifting as part of my fitness routine for over a year, but in the past 6 months I realized how much I like it, and started toying with the idea of doing a competition. A competition would make my training more real, give me motivation. You know, in the same way runners decide to do a half or full marathon. It gives them a goal, something to work towards rather than just running “another 5 miles today.” I cannot imagine anything worse than that, by the way. I am not a runner.

But I think I could be a lifter. At least, I want to try. So for the past 5 weeks I have been committed to a special training routine and program to help get me ready for a powerlifting meet in September.

Monday's inspirational photo was to inspire me. See the help?

Monday’s inspirational photo was to inspire me. See the help?

Powerlifting means lifting as much weight as you can. There are three events – chest press, dead lift and the dreaded squat. I am doing powerlifting – not physique (the really, really pretty lean bodies) or bodybuilding also pretty, but beefy bodies). I joke that powerlifting is the one that allows me to still drink my beloved craft beer. But even that I am doing in restricted moderation since I started training for the competition. See? Focus. A target.

It’s butch to stay tuned for the rest. Be Butch.


Hunting for Valentines: Interview with Kiyomi

 

Kiyomi is talented... and hot.

Kiyomi is talented… and hot.

 

I broke my interviewing cherry with Kiyomi McCloskey from Hunter Valentine. Now, don’t worry. I already know that I am not a journalist (surprise!), nor do I write for Rolling Stone, so I decided to just talk to Kiyomi — and, of course, ask questions that I thought people who read my blog would be interested in: things about beer, fashion, travel, dating, and being butch. If you want more of the “who’s your musical influence”-type questions, go check out Hunter Valentine’s website. Oh, and Google them, as many journalists do. Read the rest of this interview on the Huffington Post:

Hunting for Valentines: Interview with Kiyomi.

Let the Huffington Post know you like ButchOnTap

Let the Huffington Post know you like ButchOnTap

While you are there, would you please hit the “like” button next to my name at the top of the page? This is to like me as an author, rather than liking the particular article. Of course, you can do that too. ;o) Thank you!


Like a Butch

My daughter has a new expression: Like a Boss.

I realize that this is not new, but it’s new to her and our household. She announced the other day that all the boys in her 4th grade class were saying it. I remember a gorgeous femme explaining it to me a little while back. What can I say? I am not very hip.

Image

This Mallard does it Like a Boss

 

Here are a few of the images I found that represent the expression which is meant to be a clever way of explaining that you are doing something with authority.

Image

Beaker does it Like a Boss

 

Anyway, this past weekend, everything we did, we were doing it “Like a Boss.” It was fun. Then my son added a lovely new twist.

“Mom, you should say ‘Like a Butch’ instead.” First of all, please remember that he is 6. Second of all, how cute is that? And third, how wonderfully accepted did that make me feel? Happy sigh. So, now in our house, we use both expressions. I favor Like a Butch, of course. There are gestures that go with each, as well.

likeabutchLike a Boss seems to be accompanied by the double pistol hands – formerly considered lame and dated (like from the 70s). But now, hip and cool…at least with the 4th grade set. Like a Butch, however, according to my son, should be accompanied with a bicep curl. So, that’s rad.

It’s butch to act Like a Butch (bicep curl). Be Butch.


The King Treatment

Yes, please.

Yes, please.

I’m enjoying my third trip to Japan. All have been for business. This means several things. First, it means that I have a carefully planned agenda, filled with meetings, occasional sight-seeing events, cool meals (with tons of people), and nice accommodations. I love to travel, but I don’t fly business class when I am traveling for pleasure.

There is a huge downside, of course. You do not control your itinerary. As it is with my current trip. I am traveling for a full 5 days, to get two and a half days in the office working. There will be no time for any side trips. If my energy allows, which I think it will, I will wander about after the long business dinners are over. But that will only allow some exploration in Tokyo. Perhaps Roppongi or Shinjuku, the gay area. Yes, I will make sure to head over there. I’ve been to both before and had fun in each place.

On my two previous trips, I travelled with colleagues; but on this trip, it is just me. No companions. I am really looking forward to it.

As I write this, I am flying. Sitting in business class. Ahhh. Deep sigh of relief. It is a wonderful experience. Over the course of the twelve-hour flight, there is all manner of goodies, beverages and snacks. It is so much fun. Kind of like a kid in a candy store. Unlike coach, business class has choices – lots of them. Shortly after take off, I was served orange juice or champagne (any guesses as to which I chose?). Then I was given a menu and asked to review it. There will be a main meal service, and then there are a variety of things you can order at anytime during the long flight. And, there is a long list of alcohol and other beverages you may enjoy.

The food is delicious. First an amuse bouche of blue cheese and fruit, and a Manchego, almond and smoked duck dip. Then, the hors d’oeuvres of marinated scallop, tuna pastrami, and foie gras mousse. The main dish that I chose was prime beef wellington, with a portabella mushroom pastry and mashed potatoes (lobster thermidor is the other choice). Dessert was Panna Cotta with mangoes. Yes, on the plane.

At varying points in the flight, I have had Jack, Champagne, and Japanese beer (almost always disappointing). Near the end of the flight, after I woke up, I enjoyed a cheese and fruit snack followed by a roast beef and horseradish mayonnaise sandwich (tiny) with a lovely salad of lettuce, asparagus and balsamic. Are you getting the picture that the food was good?

The flight attendants of JAL.

The flight attendants of JAL.

More than that, the service is amazing. I have had at least four different flight attendants help me, check on me, offer me items. All of them are young and lovely, too, by the way. I think the labor and employment laws in Japan are quite different from in the US (I know this, actually). Most of the time when I fly Southwest Airlines, I feel awkward about asking for anything. The last few times, I’ve either been helped by attendants who were older than my mom, or pregnant. How am I going to ask either of those women for anything? I can’t really expect someone my mom’s age or older to go get me more peanuts. How can I ask a pregnant woman to fetch me a Jack on the rocks? Isn’t that cruel? I mean, she can’t have one. So, JAL is a nice change. Here, there is literally a flock of super kind, super attentive, super deferential Japanese flight attendants. All have lovely smiles for me when I ask for something. All make me feel like it really is their pleasure to serve me – rather than an inconvenience because they really are just here for our safety (the message the US airlines disseminate more and more).

So I sit back with my slippers on, enjoying the warm towels each time they bring one, and order whatever I want. I feel like a king. And this is not just on the airplane. The Japanese people have an amazing ethic about service. They take pride in doing it well. If you are in their restaurant, they will make you feel like a king. Indeed, I’ve never been anywhere else in the world (yet), where you can literally yell out “Sumi mas sen!” whenever you want something, and someone will sprint to your side to get it for you. It’s how its done. It’s not rude. Like, say for example the one time last summer when I was in the Mediterranean and I actually whistled in a pub. My British companions almost fainted because what I did was so rude. And it was rude. I will never do that again. Ever. In Japan, though, that is not an issue.

It’s butch to let others take care of you when it is their job – especially when they make you feel like a king. Be Butch.


A Spotless Bowtie

Can you spot the bow tie?

Can you spot the bow tie?

When I was in Tokyo last month I had the privilege of visiting one of our factories. This is where my company makes some ridiculously sophisticated stuff. I mean, seriously. I could not possibly explain it. So, I was delighted to fly to a distant island in Japan and zip on into a special place where no lawyer has been able to go before. One small step for Butch Jaxon, One giant step for Butches everywhere.

This is one of those places where you cannot leave dirt, hair, sweat, or DNA. I had to wear a special suit to visit this “clean room” environment. This means that two women helped me into a hair net (which is bad for the hawk), face mask, special suit (with double cuffs at the arms and ankles), a ski mask like hood, and special booties. Oh so sexy. After getting into my E.T. or Monsters Inc. like outfit, I walked down a corridor filled with air hoses to blow off any remaining filth and into an air-locked chamber before entering the clean room. Wow. What a neat experience.

After the visit (I could tell you what I saw and learned but I’d have to kill you), as the same women were helping us out of our special sterile gear, our guide offered to take our picture. I knew I had to do it. I donned the gear again, and of course, added my special touch. Can you see it?

It’s butch to accessorize, even in the toughest environments, and with the ugliest outfits imaginable. Be Butch.


Three Lesbians Walk Into a Strip Club

Vegas' OG strip club

Vegas’ OG strip club

So, in my last post I left off with the statement, “Umm, how about a strip club?” Well…

Yes! We had a winner. Into a cab we piled and headed way off the strip to Olympic Gardens. I’ve never been here before, but it’s a bit of a Vegas institution. The bottom floor is women strippers, and the top is men. Something for everyone. As we got into cab, the bellman said, “OG.” I took it as a compliment. Yeah, we are original gangsters because – you know – we were rolling like that. LOL. I mean, really. Three white lesbians cocked and ready to go.  Oh yea.

No, Butch, you lame ass. That’s what they call the club. So, off to OG we “rolled.”

Now, I have been to plenty of strip clubs in my day. Enough to relax about it. But, being single. Being in Vegas. With good friends. I got excited. Like when you are about-to-board-a-roller-coaster excited. In we went, slightly (fairly?) intoxicated.

I imagine that a few of you reading this might never have been to a strip club – perish the thought! As I have written before, I am available to be your wingman or tour guide for such an outing. Or, better yet, take your girlfriend – that’s hot. In the meantime, allow me to set the stage – so to speak. I mean, you won’t find Butch dancing on any poles – at least not in public!

All the strip clubs I have been to are laid out the same. There is a long dark hallway leading up to the entrance. Some have a cover charge you’ll pay when you show your ID and others do not. If they do not, they might have a two drink minimum, or maybe not. OG has a cover. Once paid and our IDs were checked, we moved into the club proper, also dark, though lighter than the hallway. Usually near the door is a bar, and a cashier. Past that is the main body of the club. A stage in the center of the room, with a varying number of poles for dancers. Flanking the stage will be front row seats. Further back from the stage, you will find tables and chairs, and still further back in the shadows, you will find booths. Sometimes, there are also back rooms and curtained off areas. I would avoid those for sure – no matter how nice the club is. But of course, to each her own.

Our first stop was for singles from the cashier – I got a lot. Second, my friend has found the perfect spot by the stage. At OG, there are 4 poles on the stage, but it looks like at any given time on this evening, only one will be in use. I kid you not, that within one dancer (a set of three songs) of us being there, every stripper used the pole right in front of us. And, do you know why? Because we were a group of lesbians. Respectful, well-behaved lesbians. And we were all tipping. So politely, too. The strippers must have sent up a flare. “OVER HERE! Kind Lesbians who won’t grope you. Dance over here, Ladies!”

A lovely, hard-working woman on a pole. Do you know how hard this is to do?

A lovely, hard-working woman on a pole. Do you know how hard this is to do?

And they did. And we didn’t. Lesbians must be the most respectful audience at a strip club. Why? We love women, so we pay attention. We love women, so we are respectful and super appreciative of: 1) how hard it is to move like that, 2) how difficult it is to stay looking like that, and 3) how gross it must be to dance for straight men all day. Sorry, guys. You must admit that strip clubs are not your best environment. You kinda come here to let loose, right? And, drop those gentlemanly manners of yours. Well, I don’t think that’s true for lesbians. At least not for me, and not for my friends.

So, we had lots of dancers focused on us. Stopping by, dancing close, of course, to encourage us to tip. The first dancer who came up to me asks me if I am single, and I said yes. My friends aren’t, so guess who got the most attention? This lesbian right here. How much fun was this! Beautiful women dancing for me, expecting nothing other than I pay attention and keep slipping ones into the various strings that they are wearing solely for this purpose. I’m not leaving here with a stripper. I’m not heading into any back room. Right? So, all I have to do is enjoy the femme attention. Oh, and keep paying for it with that big stack of ones in front of me. Done.

Now, as butch as I am, and as much as I like to pretend that I am a player (did I say pretend?), I am quite embarrassed to actually deliver the ones. I want to tip because I appreciate their work, but I am afraid to touch them because that seems so disrespectful. Thus, I have to be told that it is indeed ok to slide the dollar bill into the dancers’ g-string, or even better, they explain, into the special snappy string that they are wearing underneath the g-string. Yikes. [“Umm, where should I put it?” “Wherever you like, honey!”] After a few tries, I got it down. One dancer actually said to me when I verbalized my hesitation, “Honey! We are strippers, grab away. If you’ve got a one for me, slide it wherever you like!” I’m pretty sure I blushed – because, you know, I am just (not) that cool.

IMG_0315

As long as I’ve got my suit and tie…

So, there I am. All dressed up (three piece navy blue suit, dress shirt, bow tie, cufflinks, etc.). With good friends. Drinking. And, having a procession of young, attractive women with lithe bodies doting on us and me. Sigh. Some of you will think me a pig, I realize, and that’s ok. I had fun and if you don’t like it, so be it.

I finally had the nerve to get a lap dance. First time in my life.  The dancer had come over almost as soon as we sat down and started chatting me up. As you do. Anyway, later in the evening, I decided to go for it. We headed over to one of those couches – remember the ones that are just past the tables and more in shadows?

There was a lot, a lot, of chatting at the start, something I’m sure is not normal with male patrons. The stripper told me all about her family and why she was dancing. Then she shifted to the main event and started to dance kind of around, in front, and over me. It lasted longer than I thought it would, even though I bought a second dance.

When I went back to my friends, they peppered me with questions. How was it? Was it worth it? How do you feel? Blushing, I am pretty sure, I answered that it was nice. Much more intimate than I expected, but not gross. I got roundly teased and then we all turned our attention back to the dancers on stage. Those ones won’t tip themselves!

As we left the club, that dancer ran up to me and gave me a hug. She was topless as she had just left the patron (male, natch) that she was with and came to say goodbye to us. I guess we left an impression on her and others. What with being polite, respectful, and good tippers. Plus, we stood out. A group of very tall lesbians, including a few Butches. Anyway, I was proud of our group, but I suspect that this would be the case with any posse of lesbos. We are just so different in this environment from our male counterparts, and these, dancers, erm, strippers (“Honey!”) appreciated us – or maybe just our ones. :o)

It’s very butch to hit a strip club, and even more butch to make sure you tip well and treat the dancers like angels (such a hard job…). Be Butch.


The Pleasure Pit

The aptly named gambling area at Planet Hollywood

The aptly named gambling area at Planet Hollywood

So I was with friends in Vegas recently – just for fun. One of the people in our group was having a birthday and so it was off to Vegas we go. This is the first time that I have found myself in Vegas as a single person. Ever. Woohoo! I promised myself and my friends that I was going to have some embarrassing moments. Do some stuff that I could really regret! And, you know what? I did.

The best beer I could find in Vegas.

The best beer I could find in Vegas.

Vegas. Lots of fun. Right? Drinking. Gambling. Shows. Food. Drinking. Lots of bad beer in Vegas. For real. Super hard to find any craft beer there. In fact, it was so bad that I tweeted a picture of me drinking what I had (not that I was complaining, it was supplied by a friend) and a beer distributor tweeted back that I should let them know the next time I was there and they would send me to the right places.

Yes, lots of all these things. Oh, and women. When you go to Vegas as a single person – at least this über faithful butch – all of a sudden, do you know what you see? Women. Attractive women. And, I mean everywhere. Now, I am no fool. I have now figured out that these women are, for the most part, instruments of the casino designed to part me from my money. Do you know what I mean? No? Well, perhaps you are a femme, or a gay man, or an über faithful coupled person. Everywhere we went, I saw attractive women. Most of them scantily clad. Never was this more true than at the Planet Hollywood Casino, and especially in their “The Pleasure Pit.”

A parade of distracting dealers in corsets.

A parade of distracting dealers in corsets.

Butches and straight men: STAY OUT OF THE PLEASURE PIT! You will lose money here.  You will be entertained, yes. You will have a lovely view, yes. If you are single, you will feel right at home here. But, you will lose. The casino has made a well-calculated bet on it.  How do I know this?

Because all of the dealers in The Pleasure Pit are lovely women wearing pink corsets, lacy boy shorts, and stockings. Because in between all the tables there are lots of even lovelier women in even less clothing dancing on tables. They aren’t really dancing, at least not in the way that a talented Vegas showgirl, go-go dancer, a trained pole-dancer, or a seasoned stripper dances. But, there they are, wearing next to nothing, and moving around in a dance-like motion. If you show any signs of being distracted by them, they will focus on you. Obviously, this is good for their tips – at least in my experience, but I am sure that the casino trains them. Anyone who has a large stack of chips, focus in. Anyone alone, focus in. Catch anyone staring at you? Oh, it’s on. We are taking all that sucker’s money. Word. At least Planet Hollywood doesn’t discriminate between its straight and gay patrons.

I think this is the dancer that cost me all that money!

I think this is the dancer that cost me all that money!

I am serious. My friends were like, “Butch, focus on your cards.” Seriously, focus! One friend even assisted me by turning my head towards my shrinking chip stack. But, the drinks kept coming, I blame another friend for that. Obviously, she didn’t make me drink them, but when someone (in a corset) hands me a perfectly good Jack and Diet, what am I to do? Anyway, let’s just say, combined with my wonderful friends, it was the most fun I have ever had losing money.

Please, heed my advice. Ignore me at your wallet’s peril. Enough on the distracting dealers and dancers of The Pleasure Pit. On to the really interesting story. After some of our crew has left, the rest of us were trying to decide what to do. See a show? Penn & Teller? Nah. Cirque? Amazing, but too expensive (especially after The Pleasure Pit smack down). Gamble? Out of the question for a couple of us. What to do… Umm, how about a strip club?

It’s hella butch to have fun with your friends in Vegas. Be Butch.


Why I Hate TSA

ButchOnTap

Some days are worse than others. I’ve talked a lot here about what I experience as a butch. Specifically, how people interact with me because I do not conform to gender identities that they expect. I feel all lined up on the inside. I am a woman physically, and I feel like a woman. But … I don’t always look like a woman – or at least what you (the societal you) expects to see on the outside. The expectations go like this:

Big and tall = male.
Short hair = male.
Strong, unapologetic presence (aka, swagger) = male.
Soft face = female.
Woman’s voice = female.
Breasts and no Adam’s apple = female.

All of this adds up frequently to confusion, at best, and hostility at worst. There have been really great pieces written by various butch bloggers about the horrific bathroom stories us Butches routinely experience. The bathroom really seems to bring out the worst in everyone, doesn’t it? I have also written about how my femme girlfriends have experienced this; it’s unpleasant, ranging to infuriating, for our femmes, too.

Why am I ranting today?

You may remember that a few days ago the gay flight attendant called me sir. Right, duh. Anyway, whatever. Indeed, today as I am writing this on a different plane, the flight attendant called me sir, and didn’t even acknowledge me when I corrected her. Dumb people suck. But, the reason for my rant today is TSA. I am going to tell you why I hate them. [Hate is a very strong word and I never use it casually. Indeed, it’s a bad word in my house and the kids can’t use it either. So, I use it here today to really convey the depth of my anger…]

On at least 3 other occasions, I have gone through the body scanner at security and had to wait a moment longer, or be rescanned. I know that this is because they thought I was a guy, but my naked body scan showed a body other than what they expected – boobs and no penis, to be specific. Waiting in the security line, when there is a body scan has become quite anxiety producing for me. Will they get it today? Will they ask themselves while looking at the scan, “Where is that guy’s penis?” Or, “Why does he have boobs?” Ugh. How embarrassed will I be?

Today, I prepared for the security as I always do. I am a rule follower. And, I don’t want anyone to have to wait for me. Get it right. Liquids out. Laptop in the bin – all by itself, nothing on top of it. Briefcase directly on the belt. Shoes and jacket off. Bracelets, rings, watch, wallet, and belt removed while in line and put away. I saw the body scanner so I also took my charms out of my pocket (they don’t set off the metal detector). Though stressed, I was ready.

Being a rule follower, I did exactly as asked - even holding my breath.

Being a rule follower, I did exactly as asked – even holding my breath.

I was sent to the body scanner. I stood there making sure to shadow the drawing on the wall in front of me with my arms up and holding my breath. 3 seconds. Rule follower. I step out and wait in that spot where we all wait while some anonymous stranger decides if I am a threat, if my body scan matches what it’s supposed to. Turns out today that it does not. I knew it was coming because I saw the two squares of alarm show up across the male picture on the screen where my boobs would be.

The guy keeping me from my plane – you know, the one who stands there right in front of you and tells you when you are free from that little pen – he asks, “Would you mind going through again?” No, I reply, with dread rising in my stomach and chest (where my womanly boobs are – right where everyone can see them). I turn around and wait for the person behind me to be scanned. From this spot I see that the woman running the machine (not an anonymous stranger here, here she is a stranger in plain sight) has to push a button on the screen before it starts. Now, I see I was right. There are only two buttons on the screen – “MALE” and “FEMALE.” The two buttons are even color coded to make it idiot proof, I suppose. What colors do you think they are? Blue and pink. So, so creative and forward thinking of TSA.

Only two choices to make it simple, and nicely color-coded with pink and blue!

Only two choices to make it simple, and nicely color-coded with pink and blue!

The passenger behind me is lucky that he’s all lined up as a man. She hits the male button, zip bang boom; he gets to step out and heads on his merry, male-identified way. Now it’s my turn. Whee!

She signals for me to step back inside and then, the kicker, asks me, “Would you mind if I ask you if you are a man or a woman?” Really? Yes, really.

Well, hell yes, I mind. Wouldn’t you mind? Hey, are you a man or a woman? Are you a freak because I can’t tell? Hey, do you have a penis to go with those breasts? Yes, I mind. I would mind. And, today I did mind.

But, remember that I am in a little pen, waiting to get to my flight. I can’t get to the rest of my day without answering. And, if I make trouble for her – by I don’t know… yelling at her OF COURSE I MIND YOU IGNORANT FOOL! – then I won’t be making my plane. And, on top of that, there’s a flock of people there who aren’t friends of mine. People who will assume I’m a terrorist, or a jerk, or whatever they assume, but who would certainly be irritated that I was causing a delay – making a scene.

In case you are thinking, “But Butch, you are a big tough outspoken butch. Why didn’t you give her a piece of your mind?” Have you ever been pulled over by a cop for a traffic violation that you didn’t do? And you know it’s because of profiling, or you are in the wrong place at the wrong time, or maybe the cop is just bored? Well, did you scream at the cop? Did you refuse to give the cop your license? No. You can’t do that or you would get arrested. And, if I did anything like that here, I would most certainly have been removed to a private room and strip searched, or detained. No matter what, I would not have been making my plane.

So, I didn’t say what I wanted to say. Instead, I simply said, “No. I’m a woman.” With that, I was ushered into the machine, where I stood, again, making sure to shadow the drawing on the wall in front of me with my arms up and holding my breath. 3 seconds. Even when hurt and angry, I am a rule follower. This time she pushes the FEMALE button, it’s easy to find being pink and all, and my body lines up. No little squares on my chest now. The machine now validates my very existence as a woman, “She’s a she and she’s got bumps where she should and none where she shouldn’t.” Whew. What a relief.

Are you kidding me? I laugh and I write here to try to work through the pain of it. How crappy is this? I can’t explain really adequately how much I hate TSA on this day.

I wait for my belongings to come out of the belt, and I walk over to the bench after I’ve collected them. I am numb, no, not numb – because I am feeling lots of things. Bad things. Painful things. I am in shock. I am embarrassed and I cannot believe what just happened. I walk through life proud and tall. I am certainly insecure, but I am never ashamed of myself or apologetic about who I am. Not Ever. I won’t apologize for not looking the way you think I should. And, if you don’t like it, you will not be in my life, or if you must be in my life, you will get the barest possible minimum of involvement from me and certainly, none of my heart (unless you read my blog… plenty of heart here).

But this situation is different. I can’t tell the idiot calling me a “Dyke!” from across the street to “Eff off!” or even better “Thank you!” I don’t have my friends with me, or a girlfriend to squeeze my hand and whisper, “It doesn’t matter, baby. It’s ok.” I am without coping mechanisms in this situation. So, what do I do?

First, I tweet out how angry I am. Including to TSA. Then, I take a few minutes and call a very good friend for help. She is on my side and I tear up as I tell her. Sigh. It can’t be right that it goes this way.  And, I write, of course. It makes me feel better immediately. Thank you for listening, by the way.

I am filing a complaint with TSA. They need to know what this feels like. They need to make some changes. There should be another way to do this. Another way to handle those of us that don’t conform to gender stereotypes so that we don’t feel less than human. I’ll let you know what TSA says. How awesome would it be if something came of this?

Until then, I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating… It’s butch to be yourself – no matter the cost or what a stupid machine thinks of you. Be Butch.


ButchOnTap

Be Butch.

PinkRoziz

Always A Story...

softlybutch

4 out of 5 dentists recommend this WordPress.com site

Dear Butch, ... Love, Femme

a little sound advice from one side of the spectrum to the other

A Femme in NYC

Adventures & Misadventures of a Butch/Stone Butch Loving Spaniard

javonmonet.wordpress.com/

A Diary on Love, Sex, and Navigating Life as a 20 Something Queer Woman in the DMV

A Boy and Her Dog

Traversing the Border between Butch and Transgender

Sudden Awareness

It's like I just awoke to find myself living someone else's life

P J Perryman Books

Sparkly Knickers

Dapper, Irish & Butch

Dapper- it's a state of mind.

singlequeergrrl

single. queer. grrl.

Stories from life

cisgender, unlearning oppression, transgender, resistance, butch, femme, gendered space, women, women and police, women and hospitals, women and transphobia, genderism, transphobia, sexism, allies, coming out, gendered spaces, women and welfare, solidarity, barbara findlay, washrooms, women and psychiatry, still sane

Butch Ramblings

“I’m not wandering aimlessly, I am experiencing endlessly.”

Vulnerable Verbiage

Involving an uninhibited, workaholic, independent, femme lesbian. I let it all hang out in my blog house!! ENJOY!

SNARKBOOM

Random. Snarky. (Not always) Funny.

Warped Rainbow

Pathos: It's not just for breakfast anymore

%d bloggers like this: