Tag Archives: Gay

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.


The Cult of Conversion & Confession

Source: bluenationreview.com

Source: bluenationreview.com

A few of my longtime friends have told me that they want to see more of the real writing that I do. The stuff that is about my life, my feelings, my struggles. Like this one about my physical disabilities and battle with pain. Sure, being funny is good, but how about being real? What can I say?

I’ve been in a period of intense business and stress. Literally, the most stressed I think I have ever been. But it’s stress for good reasons, so I am super aware of not complaining. I will tell you though, it is really hard to think about being introspective and real when I am trying to get through the day without passing out from stress and anxiety. Plus, I thought y’all liked my funny. My serious pieces don’t tend to be very popular. Did you read the piece about Israel?

Anyway, tonight, as I sit here in my hotel room far from home, I am feeling a little introspective. What can I say? What to talk about? Hmm… The embarrassing bra fitting? My first kiss with a boy? With a girl? How awkward I was in high school? My family? What I wanted to be when I grew up? My experience in a cult? Coming out? My first love? Becoming an attorney? Learning to dress? Finding my butchness? What’s that? Oh, yes, I did say cult. Would you like to hear about that? It is probably several different pieces because it will be too long. Why don’t we start with the story itself? And, I will leave the impact and my recent life lessons for later.

When I was a junior in high school, I was struggling with lots of stuff. I didn’t feel like I fit in. I always wanted to be part of a big family, but as an only child of a mom with three sisters all of whom live far away, that just wasn’t my daily reality. I think, as I look back, though, that my struggle to fit in was no different than anyone else’s. But I didn’t know that. And then, along came a friend that I really liked. We were in theater and chorus together. I loved spending time with her and her family. And she and her family were part of a cult.

I didn’t know it was a cult, of course. I just knew it was a great group of people who were really energetic and made me feel like I belonged there. I was not raised with a religion and so it turns out there was a lack of information or experience that the group filled. Plus, remember my friend? I had no idea at the time, and of course never did anything about it, but I had a raging crush on her.

So, into the cult I dove, head first. There is some painful family stuff here, but I will leave that aside. Suffice it to say that my family was distraught and we all acted in ways that hurt a lot. I moved out before my high school graduation and into a condo with women from the cult. I regret this so much. I hate the choices I made then. But that’s part of the insidiousness of it, you see. Separate you from your family and your non-cult friends. When you are only around people from the cult the crazy stuff the cult preaches and requires don’t seem so odd – without the balance of a family member or friend looking at you and asking, “They told you what?” These women were all wonderful. If I am attacking anything, it is the cult, the organization, not my friend, her parents, or the women I lived with.

So, first, I lost my family (for a while). Then I lost all of my other friends. They didn’t shun me or anything. I just disappeared and in the disappearing, I lost them. I still regret deeply disappearing for our junior and senior years. I am thankful that my closest friends have welcomed me back into the fold, many years later. It angers me to think of the fun and adventures that I missed for those two years of high school.

Then, the control started. If you really love God, you need to come to all cult events. There was something every night, or almost every night. Remember the power in separating you? Well, I went to stuff every night. And, then there was the encouragement to break all earthly ties – everything that grounds you to your old sinful life and self. That means memories, yearbooks, and childhood mementos. A rummage sale of all your old stuff is a great way to support the cult! And, so you guessed it, I sold, donated, or threw away almost everything from my old “sinful” past. I won’t even begin to describe the regret and pain that I feel at this. I have no middle school or high school yearbooks. No class photos. No love letters from boys or girls. No medals from my swim competitions. Nothing. And that feels awful.

If you are keeping track, I lost my family, my friends, control of my schedule, my freedom, and all of my earthly possessions. Literally. All of this was supposed to make me a good Christian. All of this meant that I loved God more. And do you know what else was supposed to make me a good Christian? Confession.

My first experience with the cult confessions was when a friend drove me home. She told me that she struggled with “homosexuality.” She said that she had impure thoughts about other women. I remember distinctly this conversation. We were sitting in her old beat up Honda. Outside my house, parked by the curb, she shared this. It was like I had been struck by lightning. I said, “I think I struggle with that, too.” Then I got out of the tiny Honda and went inside. I am a sinner. I am going to hell because I struggle with “homosexuality.” Even though I had never slept with a woman. Never acted on this – indeed, messed around more with boys than girls at that point. Except for a girl in 4th grade. We kissed, pretending I was “the boy.” But, that doesn’t count, right? I will leave my actual coming out for later, but the “homosexual thoughts” were crucial to the abuse in the cult.

There was lots of confession. All the time. And, not just the things that I did that broke the rules. But also, the thoughts that I had of things that if I did them would break the rules. Yes. The thoughts. Forget free will. Forget the idea that we can control our actions, but maybe not always our thoughts. It is a sin to think of things that are sins. This means that if you thought about stealing a bag of chips, but didn’t do it, you had committed a sin as much as if you had actually stolen the bag of chips. Why not go ahead and steal the damn chips, then? Thinking about cheating on your wife, but thought better of it and left the situation? Too bad. In the eyes of God, you have sinned by cheating on your wife. I imagine that almost every wife we ask would agree that actually kissing or sleeping with someone is a WHOLE LOT different than thinking about it.

Believe me; I realize how insane this is now. I can’t believe that I would ever tolerate this. I was 17, though. And, I hadn’t come out yet. I felt awkward and weird. I didn’t know what was wrong with me. When someone told me it was because I needed God… I believed them. The confession was epic. Like marathon sessions of sharing with cult members what horrible things I was thinking. After the revelatory night in the Honda, the subject of my confessions was always those “homosexual thoughts.” As my struggle increased – because I had figured out I was a lesbian – cult leaders were called in to help me. When I continued to struggle, cult elders were called in. And to each of them I had to confess. Every single sinful thought, desire and wish. They must have gotten off on the things I shared. I wonder if they confessed that.

I spent hours upon hours in prayer. Literally on my knees or prostrate on the ground. Begging God to change me. Begging God to allow me to shine in his light as I was meant to – as a good Christian woman without being tarnished by the unclean thoughts of other women in my head. I used to go to the ocean and pray on the sand. I fasted and prayed, thinking that the fast (being told that the fast) would allow God to work better. One particular evening, when I had been fasting for days and was weak from hunger, I sat in the car with one of my roommates pouring out my heart and confessing my struggles. I cried for over an hour as I shared. As we walked inside, I tripped on the cement stairway leading to our condo and cracked my head against the edge of a step. I remember sitting on the edge of the bathtub while blood dripped from my eyebrow onto the floor of the tub. It was a sign from God that I was doing the right thing, they said. I didn’t go to the hospital. Several days later, when it hadn’t closed up right Student Health told me I needed stitches but it was too late. I still have the scar.

I would have given anything at that point to be straight. To not struggle with “homosexual thoughts.” As sad as that is, I know I almost did give up everything to try and be straight. My family. My friends. My freedom. My possessions. Myself. All gone. In the name of the cult. And still I struggled.

When even the elders couldn’t help guide me back to God’s path, I was sent to a cult psychologist. It was his job to cure me. When the regular old pray-the-gay-away didn’t work, the cult turned to therapy. But the most damaging kind – the kind draped in authority and science. There is no way that I can explain the years of suffering that this man caused me. The violation of my emotions and psyche by this doctor. In retrospect, it is shocking that he was allowed to practice. Conversion therapy only hurts the people who are subjected to it. Sure, I was technically a “willing” participant. But only because I thought I was going to hell because I was gay. Only because every single person in my life believed that I was going to hell; I had no outside friends or my family to turn to. That is a pretty high barrier to overcome. As a college freshman, I was nearly suicidal because I had let God down.

And then, I fell in love with a woman. Thank God.

Falling in love meant sheer torture. Conflict. Denial. Desperation. You name it. But it also meant that I questioned vociferously the elders of the cult. It meant that I started to really read the bible and find other stories, passages, and whole sections that they neglected to focus on. Like Ruth and Naomi. David and Jonathan. Jesus and Paul. I dove deeper. There are lots of sins in the bible. Why is homosexuality the worst one? Why should I feel worse than a murderer (all before taking any gay action, by the way)?

Well, I actually am a lesbian, and there was no amount of praying or cruel therapy that was going to change that. Falling in love meant that I had some strength to fight what they were all telling me. We ran away together. And, then we came back. Sigh. And then I ran away alone. And then I came back. The self-hatred that they had instilled in me was really deep and perverse. I had to be dis-fellowshipped 2 or maybe 3 times. Each time, I was re-baptized in a dramatic ceremony filled with tears and pain under the guise of washing away the pain. Like an abusive relationship. It was very hard to leave. Excruciating. I still have a near panic attack when anyone from the cult comes up or is mentioned. Even tonight when I Googled the therapist to see if he was still in practice. My chest started to seize up. And to what end?

Almost 30 years later, I am a proud lesbian. Trying to change the world with humor and honesty. I am a wife and a mother. I tell anyone who will listen to be themselves. I question every authority mercilessly (sometimes silently, but still I question). And, this is the first time in all that time that I have been able to write about the pain I suffered in the name of God. This is the first time that I can write the truth. My truth. Even here I feel the control, the pull to protect the cult. Notice no names, no organization listed. I can’t help it.

What else has been the consequence? I am an atheist. A certain one. Not an agnostic. Why? Because I cannot believe in a God that would allow such mistreatment. Such abuse. I cannot abide those stories that are misogynistic and racist at their core, and even worse in the way they are applied and carried out. And being real, because if there was a God, that God would have granted my desperate pleas to be straight. And if God didn’t answer those prayers, then there either is no God, or being gay is simply not a sin – not something that needs to be fixed.

People who know me today simply cannot believe that I would ever follow someone blindly. But you are so strong! So quick to question authority! Yes, but I wasn’t always that way. Maybe by being real, I can help someone else to avoid the pain I suffered. It is Butch to be real. Be Butch.


Why Today Matters

 By now, you have heard that the US Supreme Court has ruled that marriage is a fundamental right and that gay and lesbian people are as deserving of that right as their straight neighbors and friends. As such, no state may restrict a gay or lesbian person’s right to get married. Well, despite the obvious Snoopy dance that I have been literally and figuratively dancing all day, I realize that maybe not everyone gets it.

I have seen a lot of celebration today from both my community and from allies. I have also seen a fair number of what I like to call now-can-we-focus-on-what-really-matters? comments. I agree that there is much work to be done. We need protection from being fired. We need protection from being kicked out of our homes, including the big home of the United States. We need protection in the adoption process, health care, and basically every government service you can think of. We still don’t have those national protections. There is much to be done. But today is a day for celebrating. Here’s why – from my perspective.

In 1993, I had a commitment ceremony with my partner at the time. It was a big deal and looked a lot like a wedding. I had friends back then who did not understand why we would want to do anything that looked like a wedding. That is for straights, they said. You aren’t straight, so why do you want to pretend to be a part of a system that rejects you? We did our best to explain it – over and over. In 2000, we registered officially in California as domestic partners. This was a huge step for many gays and lesbians because it was some sort of official recognition, albeit separate and unequal. Many people took advantage of this registration. In 2004, we rushed off to San Francisco to be legally wed. It was an incredibly exciting time because there was a feeling that all of the people involved were making history. We did make history, but not as legitimately married couples. All of the weddings performed were declared void (which held its own kind of pain), and the whole Proposition 8 nightmare began. Several years later, we separated and experienced the tremendous unfairness of not being married, but still having to go through a divorce, and all of the inequities dealt to both of us by the system.

In 2013, I met my wife. We fell madly in love. We knew that our relationship would be a challenge since she was not a US citizen. But, then that summer, the Supreme Court invalidated DOMA and Prop 8. That meant all Californians were free to marry.  The striking down of DOMA meant once married, we would be able to apply for immigration status. We got legally married late that year, and this time none of my friends asked why we would want to marry. Everyone understood. People fall in love, and some of those people want to get married. In early 2014, she became a legal green card holder. All thanks to the changes in the law – largely brought on by the marriage debate.

The tide has shifted so completely in the last 20+ years people of all walks of life now know how important marriage is. Not because it is the end-all and be-all of civil rights, but because it is an indication of normalcy, acceptance and finality. “They are married, just like we are, so that’s that.” “Of course they are a family, they are married with kids.” No longer can the question, “Is she a lesbian?” be answered with, “No, she’s married.”

If people are married, then of course they can visit each other in the hospital. If two parents are married, then of course they can both come to the parent-teacher conference. Married couples rent apartments and buy cars. They open savings accounts, and go to the doctor. Marriage was never an end, it was a means to an end. And that end is equality. Lesbians and gays who are married get to be treated the same way as straights who are married. Of course she gets to inherit that house, they were married! Do you see what I mean?

To those of you in the LGBT community who don’t want to get married, great! No need for you to do so. Be excited, though, that you can. You are no longer excluded from an institution and the multitude of rights that are automatically bestowed on people who are part of that institution.

To those of you who are offended that my wife and I are now legally married in every state in the union, I feel sorry for you. You are on the wrong side of history. And if you cannot see that, take comfort in the fact that no one will ever force you to marry someone of the same-sex. Nor will anyone force your church to perform such marriages. Don’t worry; the same constitution that grants me the fundamental right to marry, also protects your fundamental right to hate me for it. I hope that you won’t, but I will defend your right to think and speak how you wish.

It’s Butch to support equality. Be Butch.


Christina Perri at The Dinah!

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/301/31342575/files/2015/01/img_2346.jpgPop music’s queen of romance, Christina Perri is slated to headline Club Skirts Dinah Shore Weekend’s 25th Anniversary (April 1-5, 2015)!

Perri, the singer/songwriter behind “Jar of Hearts” and “A Thousand Years”, is the latest major recording artist to proudly add Palm Springs’ iconic Dinah Shore Weekend to her touring resume.

She will deliver an exclusive live concert just before the “White Party”at the Palm Springs Convention Center on Friday, April 3, 2015.

“Christina Perri’s love song, A Thousand Years, is one of the great ballads of this decade and a song that our community has embraced. She also happens to be incredible in concert so our guests are in for a full-blown treat. Her fan base is broad and she is one of our more established artists so we are expecting record attendance. Her concert is followed up with The White Party, our signature Friday night event so it’s going to be an action packed night”, says Mariah Hanson, founder and producer of Club Skirts Dinah Shore Weekend.

The twenty-eight year old Philadelphia native’s career has been on a meteoric path since her defiant breakup anthem called “Jar of Hearts” was used on Fox’s TV show: “So You Think You Can Dance.” The breakout single was success on a stratospheric scale, instantly catapulting Christina Perri into the public eye and earning her the coveted iTunes’ “Breakthrough Pop Artist of 2011” title.

More than 100,000 fans downloaded the pop ballad allowing Perri, the then manager at a Beverly Hills Café, to not only crack the Billboard Top 40 two weeks after debuting the song on the show, but also snatch a deal with Atlantic records.

Perri followed with the 4x-platinum single “A Thousand Years”, written and recorded for the film: The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1&2”, which famously zoomed into orbit selling over 4 million copies in the United Sates. Perri then released her first album, produced by GRAMMY®-winning producer Joe Chiccarelli (The White Stripes, My Morning Jacket), which entered the Billboard 200 among the top 5 upon its initial release.

Now riding a wave of success since “Jar of Hearts”, Perri is on an international tour in support of her commercially successful sophomore album “Head or Heart”, a collection of cathartic songs and powerhouse vocals released in the spring of 2014, led by the album’s buoyant first single “Human”.

Christina Perri recorded with Butch Walker, John Hill and Martin Johnson, toured with Demi Lovato on her Demi World Tour, performed at the Los Angeles’s iconic Hollywood Bowl with Jason Mraz and will now perform for a sold out crowd at The Dinah – the largest lesbian event in the world – in celebration of the event’s epic 25th Anniversary (april 1-5, 2015).

For more information and/or to purchase tickets go to: http://www.TheDinah.com

The Dinah 2015’s headliners are Christina Perri and Meghan Trainor. Other live performances confirmed to date include pop music’s new “it” girls Bebe Rexha and Ivy Levan. Stay tuned for more talent announcements.


An Interview with Sofia: John Mayer Meets kd lang

I am reprinting on my blog from the Huffington Post.
/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/301/31342575/files/2014/12/img_2082.jpgI recently sat down with up-and-coming singer-songwriter Sofia. We had so much fun talking that I lost myself in a few places. What? I’m not a professional journalist. I am a butch lawyer who writes a blog, and I can count on one hand how many times I have actually sat down with another butch. What follows is (most of) our conversation.

Tell me about yourself.

I’m 23. Half-Venezuelan and half-Lebanese. I was raised in London and lived in Venezuela until I was 5, in Caracas, the capital. I am very passionate about cultures and mixing them. Cultures of the world. I am very much about peace. That’s what I was raised in. I want to promote peace. I’ve been into music my whole life. Started violin when I was 5, singing when I was 13. By the time I was 15, I was writing my own songs. My dad is literally the best guitarist I’ve ever known. [In high school I] went to the five-week program at Berklee College of Music in Boston. I was a songwriting major [at Berklee]. I’ve never been to California. I’d love to do a West Coast tour and hit all the places in California. I really want to play in New Orleans. I went there for the first time for BUKU Music + Art Fest. I went with my friend Avery, and it was like a mental-health trip. “Let’s go to NOLA and have fun!” We made friends with everyone — the waitresses at the beignet shop. I read that it’s the most dangerous city in the world, but I felt safe and comfortable there — more than anywhere in the U.S. I’m Venezuelan and Lebanese, so it takes a lot to scare me. It is really a blessing to have an English passport.

I sometimes feel it’s a curse to have an American passport, I’ll tell you!

But the U.S. is the center of the music world. Freedom of speech, protests. There is a huge international community at Berklee. Everyone is from somewhere else, but everyone wants to be in the U.S. And Boston, though it’s bloody cold, is amazing. When I was really sick, I didn’t think I was going to make it. I was stuck in Boston with my mom.

Please explain your struggles with Crohn’s.

I was at Berklee and had to withdraw from the semester because I started getting fevers every day. I was hospitalized a bunch of times in a couple of months. Three blood clots were found in my spleen because my immune system was so compromised, so I had to inject myself with blood thinners for about three months. Things escalated so much that I started to bleed internally and had to have like seven bags of blood in a week. I went back to school the next semester and somehow managed to graduate on time. It meant so much to me to be there at Berklee. I had a scholarship and was so grateful to be there, so I kept going even though it got really tough sometimes.

It was after I got sick when I wrote “Mum I Like a Girl.” I came in second in the “Songs for Social Change” competition, and it was the first time in my life I had ever won an award for a song I’d written. So in a sense it felt like I was overcoming my health battle with music.

I inject myself every two weeks with an immune suppressant called Humira. It saved my life. Crohn’s can be a really scary process; it’s almost like having cancer, but it’s not cancer. They use similar terminology: “in remission,” “no appetite,” “nausea.” And I have a high risk of cancer in the future. It’s really a crazy disease to have. I try to speak to my best friend Avery, who struggles worse than me, every day, and her experiences really gives me a lot of strength. It is hard to want to do anything and stay positive, but we do because we know that there are kids as young as 8 who get this. That’s why it’s important that we make it more accessible to talk about stomach problems and make it more comfortable to talk about food issues, including irritable bowel diseases. We would help a lot of people to feel more comfortable with the fact that there is nothing wrong with you. You just have a disease!

Who are your musical influences? Pretend I am from Rolling Stone.

I grew up listening to Eric Clapton and Bryan Adams. My mom loved to play Elvis and Harry Belafonte. Embarrassing albums too, like the Spice Girls. I love what Eric Clapton does because of his smoky element and yet his own stuff added. I went to school and decided, “I want to be just like John Mayer.”

Have you been compared to him?

Yes! … I like how emotional he is and how vulnerable he can be. I struggle with that when I am writing. I get writer’s block because I worry about being emotional. I am also a huge fan of Tegan and Sara, but I think I am late in the game. When I was in school, my mentor was Melissa Ferrick. Do you know her?

No.

She is a big advocate for LGBT musicians. Check her out; she is amazing.

Do you identify as a butch lesbian?

I do. I used to be very feminine. I used to have really long hair. I looked quite feminine. It took me a long time to feel comfortable dressing this way. I think Ellen is one of the coolest people in the world, and yes, I do want to dress like her. I do want to dress like Kate Moennig from The L Word. I don’t know if you know that lots of Venezuelan women have won the Miss World pageant. George Clooney just married a Lebanese woman.

Do you feel more pressure or scrutiny because you are Venezuelan and Lebanese?

Definitely. People say, “Gosh, you are so beautiful! Why would you dress this way?” I felt like I was in drag when I dressed like a woman is supposed to. But I get flattered when people call me “sir”! I secretly wanted to be more androgynous than I was. I get “sir’d” a lot more in the UK than in the U.S. Maybe because here we wear more skinny jeans. I didn’t expect that. But it’s amazing to come home to London and have people say to me, “You look like yourself now.”

Where do you see yourself this time next year?

Gosh, that is a really good question. I have absolutely no idea. I would love to be on tour. In just over a year, I will be releasing the next album. It usually takes about a year to get everything together. My goal right now is to get to play all over the world. I love to travel. I love different cultures. Music brings everyone together.

Do you have any pets that you will have to leave when you go on tour?

I have a dachshund, and her name is Cashmere. Ironic because we spell it like the fabric rather than the [place].

Like Adele?

I met her! And her dog! I worked at her label and had the chance to eat lunch with her. I’ve got a big crush on her.

Ready for the lightning round? Just one-word answers. No explanation needed. Blondes or brunettes?

That’s really really hard. Blondes.

Cake or pie?

Cake.

Boots or trainers?

Trainers.

Movies or television?

Movies. My favorite is A Beautiful Mind.

Snow or rain?

Rain.

Beer or whiskey?

Beer. Blue Moon, partially because of the song.

Bow tie or straight tie?

Bow tie. I do wear them and love them. Went to my first-ever gay wedding and wore one. Plus, I wore one to my graduation.

London or New York?

London.

Suits or dresses?

Suits.
You are adorable. People will want to know if you are in a relationship.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/301/31342575/files/2014/12/img_2081.jpgI am too young for a relationship right now. I want to have some fun. I always try to be a gentleman. … I say no to misogynistic butches. I don’t want to be the horrible power-controlling stereotype.

You don’t have to be, Sofia. There are plenty of butches who think like you do — like me! Don’t let a few opinions change who you are. If you are butch, be butch. You don’t have to let it be an excuse to embody the worst parts of male stereotypes.

I really enjoyed talking with Sofia, and I hope that she gets more exposure! Check out her music on iTunes and Spotify.

It’s seriously butch to be an out butch singer-songwriter. Be butch!


What to Buy a Butch for the Holidays

(Notice the clever, but oh-so-subtle use of “Holidays” instead of any particular December religiously-identified festivity.)

Alright, so you just realized that your daughter is a butch. Or you have finally realized that your mom, who you always knew was a lesbian, is a butch. Maybe your co-worker or boss is a butch and you want to give her a little something. Or, perhaps most worrisome, you are newly dating a butch – be you butch, femme, or otherwise… What to buy your butch for the holidays? Well, fear not dear readers. I am here to serve. In that vein, let me give you a list of the best gifts for a butch. Really, of course, it’s just a list of gifts that I think are super rad and worth giving to someone like me. Your butch may hate all of these things. Generalizations are only as useful as humor and light reading (i.e., my goal).

Note to my wife, kids, and parents: This is not for you! We’ve already covered our holidays. :o)

Now, given that I am not sponsored, I will not be referring you to any items that anyone has “paid” me to suggest – though I might happily create such a list next year, if any of the lovely people who make these items and items like these want to ask. This post is all me.

1.  Bow ties. Yes, the proverbial tie might be lame for your father (Right, Dad?), but butches (at least my kind of butches) love ties – bow ties specifically. The crazier the pattern, the better. Something I wouldn’t have picked out for myself. Something that reflects you, so that when I wear it, I will think of you. Maybe your butch doesn’t know how to tie a bow tie? Never fear, send her this link (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OoUre0ugkmI), tell her how hot you think she’ll look, and give her a cool bow tie. She will be motivated to learn how to tie it.

My goodness! This is a real knife ($1600).

My goodness! This is a real knife ($1600).

2. Multi-tool. A fancy Leatherman or Swiss Army one is great, but you can also do any multi-tool you find in any bin at any hardware store or market. Because, let’s face it, what butch doesn’t want/need/have to have a pliers, pocket knife, and awl in her pocket/bag/car/desk at all times?

3. Alcohol. I’m going to say craft beer or scotch/whiskey. (I realize it’s a stretch). Minis are cool. If you do minis, get some weird stuff your butch may not have tried, or a full-size sampler of Belgian beers. There is always a Beers of the World box this time of year, and many of the butches I know would appreciate such a box.

4. Craft Beer Tour. I love experience gifts, as long as the giver comes with me. Send your butch on a craft beer tour. San Diego, Portland, San Francisco, Denver and other brew cities will have lots of these to choose from. Substitute historic homes or flower gardens if that’s better for your butch. It’s about the experience.

5. Anything from REI. For my non-US readers, REI is an outdoor adventure outfitter company and pretty much everything they have there is rad. Carabiners, D-rings, knifes, multi-tools, biking/kayaking/spelunking/climbing stuff, compasses, cool flashlights, solar-powered chargers for all your electronics. I mean, the list goes on and on. Any trip to REI will result in many lesbian sightings, even for non-lesbian flooded cities. I find things there each trip that I suddenly cannot live without, even though I never knew I needed them!

6. Video Games. Whatever her gaming system is (PS3/4, Wii U, iPad, etc.), take a look at her games and get her the newest one that is like those other ones she has. If she is into Call of Duty, she might not like Ratchet and Clank, for example. (It’s like the difference between a violent shooting game and a Mario Bros. game). Any of the people at a good gaming store (GameStop, Best Buy) will be able to make suggestions based on what your butch already owns and plays.

7. Lingerie. If you happen to be reading this as a femme in love with/married to/or dating a butch, consider giving your butch a lovely box of unmentionables that you will wear. I promise, your butch will think of this as a very special gift – even though you will be the one wearing it. Or get her lingerie for herself if she likes lacey things.

8. Kid Stuff. Kids take note, if you are of the age that you might need a ride to pick out a gift for your mom, think about making her something. Who doesn’t love a handcrafted gift from the kiddos? I, for one, absolutely cherish the painted cards, ironed crafts, and even the pottery gifts my angels have made for me. If you are old enough that you can drive to buy a gift yourself (but don’t want to make anything), think about getting your mum a gift card. If you know that your butch mom likes movies, music, or a particular store, you can get her a gift card for said store. No problem with that. Personally, I prefer that you struggle to choose something for me that you think I will like. But lots of people, butches included, love a gift card. If your mom loves going to Home Depot, then that might be a great gift card for her.

My new favorite. His shirts are so rad.

My new favorite. His shirts are so rad.

9. Her Favorite Dress Shirt. Parents, this is a great one for you. Think about getting your butch daughter her favorite designer shirt. Maybe it’s a little out of her price range (like my new favorite, Robert Graham), or maybe you found it on sale. Whatever the situation, one of the coolest things my mom and dad have given me in the past few years is dress shirts from my favorite designers. This falls into the category of things I might not have bought myself, and makes me feel very special. a) They paid attention to what shirts I like, and b) They took the time to go buy me something that they know I will wear and will make me feel great.

So there you have it, 9 ideas for gifts for the butch in your this holiday season. There are gobs of others, of course. Books, movies, food, tickets to a musical, concert, or ballet, candles, plants, tools, crochet kits. You get the idea!

Those of you who love a butch (mom, partner, friend, co-worker), It’s your turn to be butch. It’s very butch to give her a gift that shows you’ve been paying attention to what she likes and enjoys. Be Butch.


The Broom

As promised in my last post, I am going to share some things about the whole getting married process. Here goes.

The first wedding-y thing that She and I did was go to a bridal bazaar. Fun, right? Yes, you are probably imaging right now that I signed us up gleefully and dragged her to this cornucopia of wedding planners, photographers, dress shops, tux purveyors, caterers, dish renters (did you know people do that?), and florists. There was even a fashion show! No, of course, I did not drag Her there. But neither did She have to drag me. I asked Her to marry me. She said yes! So, a wedding was going to happen, and if a wedding was going to happen, we needed things. From people, you know, who handle those things. A bridal bazaar is a pretty efficient way to see a lot of these vendors all in one place. So there. We went.

The first thing that happens, in case you’ve not been, is that we walk in the door and they ask us “Bride or Groom?” They have stickers, you see, pre-printed in pink and blue (surprise!) that say exactly that. You are to wear one of these stickers as you peruse the tables and exhibits, and they instantly mark you as a potential customer. She happily dons a sticker that says “Bride,” as if there was ever any question, and then looks at me anxiously.

We had talked about language not long after we got engaged (it is not just semantics), but hadn’t come to any conclusions. I didn’t like referring to myself as the “Bride” because that has very girly/feminine connotations to it for me. Plus, if ever there was a “Bride” it was my love. “Groom” isn’t right either. I identify as a woman and as female, so I don’t refer to myself with male pronouns. Neither fit and we left it at that.

Back to the sticker passer-outer and my beautiful Bride gazing at me expectantly at the first wedding-y thing we did. Will I pass on a sticker? Will I chose one? Well, without thinking, I took one of each, ripped them each down the middle (basically), put them back together, and formed a new word “Broom.” I was able to do it pretty well, actually, so that the “Br” and the “oom” lined up nicely.

20131206-192433.jpg

I stuck that on my chest – to the delight of my Bride and the sticker passer-outer. You would have thought I was the funniest person in the world judging by her reaction. The sticker passer-outer almost died. She loved it. I smiled at my Bride and we walked on. That initial reaction was repeated throughout the bazaar more times than I can count. It seems no one had ever heard of a “Broom” and everyone loved it.

It was pretty amazing to feel the kind of acceptance that this allowed people to show us. “Broom? I love it!” “Make way for the Bride and the Broom (now let me sell you something, of course)!” “That is the cutest thing I have ever seen!” “I have never heard of a Broom, it’s perfect!”

We scoured every inch of that bazaar, holding hands, heads held high, and had a blast.

We found our photographer there, by the way. Not directly, but through a referral of someone we liked who turned out to be unavailable. So, not only was it relationship and language-affirming, it was fruitful. (I will talk about our photographer and the process in another post.)

Butches, go to a bridal bazaar with your fiancée. Maybe you can even score some butch points by researching one and suggesting it first! If you are marrying a femme, I promise that she has already thought about going to one. I know my Bride was happy the day before, during, and after. I made sure that I didn’t look like the other partners of brides there – miserable and dragged against their wills. And, I was rewarded for it.

It’s very butch to find your own language… and to attend a wedding-y thing. Be Butch.


Poem + Tweet = Peep

I’ve started writing short little poems on Twitter. To be a tweet, it must be 140 characters or less. This is creating a new kind of poetry. I’ve seen others play with it and I like it. Kind of ee cummings meets haiku.

You have to be brief, and use space, punctuation, capitalization, and line breaks effectively.

Since most of you don’t follow me on Twitter, I thought I’d glue them together here in a post. Here are 7 that I’ve written so far.

20130825-171046.jpgONE

your gorgeous
blue eyes
flash:burn:cut
through my
defenses:fear:pride
leaving me laid
bare:open:breathless
in anticipation of
what awaits

TWO

When we are
Together
Time flies by
When we are
Apart
It moves achingly
Slowly
Would that I could
Slow
And speed
Time
At my whim

THREE

Red:lips
Pink:cheeks
Orange:passion
Blonde:attitude
Green:innocence
Blue:eyes
Pale:skin
The colors of my love

FOUR

Cold
Open
Space
In bed
Where you should be

Missing you
A full time job
No
Thank you

Endlessly waiting
For you to appear
To fill this space

FIVE

You gorgeous
Open and trusting
Kind and distracting
So Damn Sexy

Me lucky
Satisfying you
Appreciative
Devoted

Us … happy

SIX

Peanut butter:jelly
Atoms:electrons
Waves:shore
Rubber:road
Grass:earth
Peas:pod
Sound:air
You:me
Nothing between
No spaces
None
At all

SEVEN

She uses
Crazy
Madly
Deeply
and
Always
To define her love

I cross my fingers
Close my eyes
Please
Please
Please
Let her be right

What do you think of this new, drastically abbreviated kind of poetry?

It’s Butch to find new ways to express yourself. Be Butch.


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!


She Found Me

Butch is single. Isn’t she? I committed in a post late last year that Butch would stay single. It’s easier, I thought. After all, I need to keep some things for myself. Right? Plus, it is a lot of fun to flirt. No harm or anything. Just fun. Only it’s getting harder for Butch to be single. Butch has always been close to me. Not exactly me, but close. Butch is more confident than I am. More flirtatious. More fun, too. But, as Butch, I talk about things that really happen in my life. About thoughts that I really have. About my kids. My parents. My friends. Always. And yet, Butch is separate. I did that to protect myself. And my kids. My parents. My friends. And any woman I might be lucky enough to date.

But, I also put out a call to the Universe asking for what I want in my next partner. It was a pretty detailed list. I said I hoped I’d be lucky enough to find her someday. Well, I did. Or rather, She found me.

I haven’t wanted to share this, and so I’ve really not been sharing much at all. I haven’t posted anything in over a month. That ends now. So… I am not single. And, neither is Butch. I won’t tell you about her, though.

But, oh my gosh. I wish I could tell you about her! If I could, I would probably start out by telling you that she is beautiful. Gorgeous, really. She has style and dramatic flair. Everyone sees her. She turns heads when she walks anywhere. Men flirt with her. Butches would too, if I wasn’t standing there (trying to look even taller and bigger than I am). My friends all tell me how gorgeous she is – in that way that reminds me she’s out of my league. (I’m sure they don’t mean it that way, but my rampant insecurity, well, you know.)

She has curves. And freckles. Sigh on both counts. She is funny, and charming. Thoughtful and considerate. She is kind. Like so kind that I sometimes think she must be teasing me – but, she’s not. She is the nicest woman I have ever kissed. And, adorable. When she smiles and laughs it melts my heart. She is smart. Scary smart. Fiercely independent. Strong. Sassy. And sophisticated, well-traveled, open-minded, but not full of herself. Just a touch of uncertainty which makes her gorgeousness and brilliance tolerable.

I would also tell you that her friends call her a mermaid. She loves the water. She is crafty and likes to sew. She likes to go out and have fun. Wants to travel the world with me, and cuddle on the couch. She loves to play with my kids and that goes a long way. My kids adore her. And she them. I am pretty much over the moon.

Butch & Femme Hands

Butch & Femme Hands

So She found me. For the life of me, I don’t know why She did or what She sees in me. It’s definitely a Beauty and the beast thing we’ve got going. (She corrected me, “It’s not a Beauty and the Beast thing, it’s a Beauty and the Butch thing.”)

It’s too bad I can’t tell you about her. She really is amazing, but you’ll just have to trust me.

So, not only am I not single (and neither is Butch), I am in love. And so is Butch… With an amazing, sexy, gorgeous, brilliant, kind, funny, charming, adorable, independent, passionate Femme.

It’s Butch to be found by the world’s most amazing Femme and to recognize you’ve been found. I hope you are as lucky as me. Be Butch.


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