Tag Archives: queer

Valentine’s Day Redux: How Not To Spend It Alone

This is an updated version of a post that first ran 2 years ago. It is as applicable today as it was then.

Attention butches!  This is a public service announcement for Valentine’s Day. What’s that, you say?  It’s almost two weeks away?  A whole 9 days?  No need to worry about that yet. You have plenty of time. WRONG!

Please allow me to give you some advice. Let me offer some tidbits I have learned while loving a femme. You need to get ready. NOW. Not 8 days from now, because your girl will know. How will she know?  I don’t know, but trust me they ALWAYS know. And you will feel the full wrath of your girl if you do not prepare.

A special note for you married butches: Do not assume Valentines Day does not apply to you anymore. Sure, you aren’t doing a full court press as you were when you were dating, but you still love her, right? You still want her to feel special, right? This applies to you, too.

Ok, first do not tell me that she is the kind of woman who doesn’t care about Valentine’s Day. Its simply not true. Even if you have heard her say one or more of the following:

1. I don’t care about Valentine’s Day

2. I don’t need anything special

3. I don’t want you to go to any trouble

4. I don’t want you to spend too much money

5. It’s just a stupid Hallmark holiday

6. Flowers are a waste of money; they just die

7. I don’t need any more jewelry

8. Who needs chocolate and teddy bears

These are lies. All lies. Every single one of them. Do not believe her!  Why does she say these things if she doesn’t mean them?  Well, apart from her being a femme, you mean?  I don’t know. Why do femmes say most of what they say?  It could be that she is trying to convince herself of any one of these statements. Perhaps she knows from past experience that you will let her down and she is preparing herself to lessen the blow when another Valentine’s Day comes and goes and she is left with a meaningless card and a lame little teddy bear from 7-11. Whatever the reason, ignore her.

Hopefully, I have convinced you that you must do something – that you must decide on a plan of action and put it in play now.  If so, you may be thinking, “Butch, what should I do?” Read on.

The bad news is that there is not one size that fits all women.  The good news is there are lots of great options and they can be divided into 7 easy-to-understand categories. Fit it into one of these, and you will be golden. Note that only a couple are expensive; at least four of these can be affordable, so not being loaded is no excuse to neglect your femme on Valentine’s Day.  Unless you want to be neglected, that is.

1. Thoughtful. Think mushy. Put together a collage of ticket stubs from shows you’ve been to together, throw in a matchbook from a place you ate at that she loved. What’s that you say?  It looks like crap?  Doesn’t matter. Gather a bunch of papers and little mementos from your life together this past year, glue it on construction paper around a picture of the two of you and she will positively swoon. You’ll see. You can also add the high value presentation gifts here from places like Shutterfly and Moonpig. These websites let you upload your photos, type your message, add as much flash as you like, and presto! They will create a customized card, poster, t-shirt, you name it for you. You’ll need to expedite shipping now – so hurry.

2.  Hard. Intricate or detailed works, too. Create a scavenger hunt to take her to all of your favorite couple’s spots around town.  Recreate the first date you had. Take her to the same restaurant with the same walk on the beach.  Or, order in the same food, and rent the movie you saw on that first date or the day you asked her to marry you.  Take the time to set the table.  It is crazy how much women love a set table.  If you drop a few candy hearts or flower petals on the table, watch out!  Find that special kind of cookie/champagne/cheese/liverwurst (if she loves it, who cares what it is?) that you had on your honeymoon/first date/trip to Scotland, and order it online. You need time for this to be delivered. This will tell her: a) you pay attention enough to know she likes ____, b) you took the time to order it especially for her, and c) you love her enough to plan ahead. Yes, planning = love.  Do not try to make too much sense out of it, just trust me.

3. Expensive.  Buy her something amazing – something she wants. Diamonds.  Silver.  Pearls.  Think Nicole Kidman from Moulin Rouge and you will be on the right track.  Please, please, please do NOT buy her expensive lingerie from La Perla – unless she has asked for this. That is a gift for you. How happy would you be if your girl gave you sexy lingerie that she would wear for you?  Right?  So that’s not your gift to her.  Think jewelry, a trip somewhere, perfume, shoes, a nice bag – all good choices.  Clothes: do not buy clothes. Unless she tells you EXACTLY what to get, you run the risk of buying something she hates, or buying her the wrong size. You really cannot win here.  Too small?  “What the hell makes you think I can fit into that? If you’re looking for a woman this skinny, why are you with me?”  Too big? “Just exactly how fat do you think I am?”  Or for either, the worst is, “You don’t know me at all!”  No, no clothes.

4. Flashy or Showy.  This is where flowers fall – at least if you have them sent to her work.  Remember that one of the best things about Valentine’s Day is being able to show off your butch or guy.  Flowers at work say to all of her coworkers, “I have someone who loves me enough to send me flowers.”  Translation, my butch is better than yours.  Send a giant bouquet of flowers to her office so she can show you off.  Roses are great if she likes them, but they are really expensive this time of year, so if she loves another flower, send those.  It will look creative and save you some cash.  Do not leave the card up to the college kid at the flower shop.  Put something on there that will make her smile or show her you love her.  Don’t worry about the college kid writing it down.  He isn’t trying to keep your woman happy, so who cares what he thinks?

5. The Event.  Drinks.  Dinner.  A club (even dancing, gasp!).  A movie at the fancy theater, museum, or exhibit that she has been looking forward to seeing.  Note that you can earn extra points and make her feel extra special by doing something that you do not want to do.  Think indie film, chick flick, an exhibit on purses throughout the ages, a flower show … you get the idea.  Or, by getting you into somewhere that is difficult – the “it” restaurant or club.  Plan ahead and get a table.  Remember, planning = love.

6. Manual Labor.  Yes, that’s right.  Along the lines of “The Event” category, do some things for her that you hate to do.  Do the dishes, put away the laundry, clean the house – all before she gets home from work.  Tell her that you are taking her car that morning and go have it serviced and detailed for her.  There are probably a slew of things that your woman would be ecstatic about if you did them for her.  This does not mean that you can do something dude-like that you should already have been doing and call it a Valentine’s Day present.  Do not  unload the dishwasher or clear the table, or for guys, put down the toilet seat, and announce that as your gift.  Poof! Now you’re single.

7. Pampering.  Think manicures, pedicures and massages.  Give her a gift certificate to the spa for the day.  Or… paint her toenails yourself.  I promise that if you rub her feet and then do this for her, she will melt.  Also, a massage is fool-proof.  Tell her that her gift is a massage, and that you do not expect one in return.  Then go all out.  Light candles, turn on music, and give the massage.  Extra touches are key.  Remember, she needs to feel special.  The harder it is for you and the more awkward that you feel doing it, the better!

So pick one of these 7 categories – at least one. More than one is platinum. You have to make her feel special. Girls need to know that you thought hard, planned carefully, or spent a lot of time or money on them.  No matter which of the above options you choose, you MUST write a card. Do not rely on the pre-printed text alone, even if you think it says exactly what you want to say, only better than you would say it. Sure, the card itself is important, so choose wisely. Stick with romantic or cute – make sure it’s not for your grandmother.  But add your own spin to it.  Love her eyes? Great, tell her.  Love her body?  Only tell her that if you add stuff about her heart and mind, too.  She doesn’t think purely physical, so neither should you.

Ignore me at your peril. Butches and straight guys:  take care of your woman if you want her, and therefore you, to be happy.  She might want totally different things than you do, but that’s part of why you love her.  A card and little teddy bear from 7-11 says exactly what you do not want to say — I did not have time/love you enough/care enough to do something special for you.  Get your act together and show her how much you love her!  And, if your woman sent you this post, you better take note, get busy and use this as a checklist.

Prove how butch you are by showing her how much you love her.  Want to make sure that you do not end up alone on Valentine’s Day?  It’s up to you.

It’s butch to make your femme feel really special on Valentine’s Day. 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.


Crying Like a Butch

Tonight, my wife made me watch … The Notebook. Yes, made me.
/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/301/31342575/files/2015/01/img_2326.jpgI am recovering from foot surgery and not very mobile. So, I’m propped up in a chair wincing occasionally while she whirlwinds around me taking care of our life. She’s busy taking down and putting away Christmas decorations, doing the dishes, washing and folding laundry, feeding our cats, tidying up, taking out the trash, etc.

She plops down on the couch every now and then to watch. The fact that she is working so damn hard and I can help so little seals my lips against any protest to her movie choice.

I would rather wash my car, at night, in freezing temperatures, than watch the quintessential chick flick, The Notebook. I’m not a huge fan of chick flicks. Big surprise, I know.

But, she’s working her ass off taking care of me and all of our business. And, if your wife says you are watching a certain movie, then you will watch it. So, I am watching. My wife, on the other hand, doesn’t really watch. Too busy.

Late in the movie, but not the end, I start to cry. Yup. I’m watching a chick flick and I am a chick starting to cry. I don’t try to hide it. Then the movie ends and I cry more. A lot more. My wife has come back for the end, so we sit there together – me balling and she tearing up. She looks at me and we start to giggle.

Big ol’ Butch balling her eyes out. We laugh and she says, “I guess you have your next post.” I reply, “But that means I have to out myself?” Yeah.

It’s Butch to watch chick flicks if your wife tells you to, even if that means you get a good cry. Be Butch.


I’m Otherthan White & My Feelings About the Murder of Mike Brown

Originally posted on December 4, 2014 at Huffington Post Gay Voices. If you like this post, please hop over there and tell them by clicking the like button.

I haven’t written much about race issues, mostly out of respect for the black community. Even this term sounds wrong as I type it out. Is there a single “black community”? Is there just one “gay community”? Sure, if you are talking about the Castro in San Francisco, Chelsea in New York City, or Hillcrest in San Diego. But are all LGBT people in America one community? No. Neither, I suspect, is there a single “black community,” unless we are talking about a particular area, like, say, Ferguson, Missouri. So out of respect for black Americans, then? After all, what the hell do I know about being black in America?

On the one hand, zero. I am not black. I am one of those Americans who tell people they’re Irish because it sounds more interesting than “white.” I knew I would go to college. I can reasonably believe that if I work hard enough, I will be successful and can support a family. I don’t have to live in fear of the police stopping me as I drive home to my nice, predominantly white neighborhood. When I go into a shop, I don’t have to worry that the employees will follow me around on the suspicion that I will steal something. Even with my mohawk. Zero.

On the other hand, I experience being “otherthan” each and every day of my life. Otherthan being married to a man, because I am a lesbian. Otherthan being like “every other lesbian.” (Do all lesbians look alike except for me?) Otherthan looking like a “regular, normal” woman, because I am too tall, too big, too masculine, too butch. Otherthan identifying as a Christian, Jew, or Muslim, because I am an atheist.

Is any of this like being black? No. No. No. A hundred times no. I offer these otherthans only to say that, within my white privilege, I experience daily “otherness” that might give me some hint of what black Americans face each and every day, at least as far as being otherthan white. I don’t feel like I’m part of the big, white, oppressive system — and yet I am. I’ve had amazing friends in the past few years who have helped me see this better; while it might not be my fault, I definitely experience the privileges that come with being white, middle-class, and educated.

But in my privileged, albeit otherthan, place, I have been profoundly affected by the killing of Michael Brown, the grand jury’s decision not to charge Officer Darren Wilson with any crime for the death, and the reaction afterwards. As a lawyer and a former prosecutor, I am trying to understand why the process worked so differently for Wilson, a white police officer, than for otherthans accused of similar crimes. As an intelligent person who understands the system, I cannot fathom how the prosecutor could have handled the case in the manner that he did, nor why he did not recuse himself. If ever there was a time for the process to be fair and as impartial as our system will allow, this was it. But it wasn’t.

As an otherthan white person, I am trying to understand. Trying to process. Trying to synthesize my feelings. I hope this does not make me sound ignorant about race in America. I do not believe that I am; that education started for me many years ago. I distinctly remember an accomplished black lawyer telling me he got hassled by the cops, routinely, in his Brooks Brothers suit. Upper-class black girlfriends of mine share stories of being profiled as potential shoplifters by retail employes, and of the repulsive comments they receive from strangers at a shockingly high frequency. I know about the way my friends whose families are not all-white or all-black are treated. There are so many of these stories that anyone who listens to them gives up the naïveté (“That still happens in America?” asks the wide-eyed white child) immediately.

I note that my black friends and family are not speaking out much on social media. They are silent. I imagine the pain is too much. I haven’t reached out because I don’t especially like it when straight people reach out to me after a gay hate crime or injustice. It is not my friends’ job to help me understand. It is my job to gain understanding. So here I am, part of the problem, I know, but not feeling quite like that.

I want to be part of the solution.

What can I do to help? What can I do to combat racism? How can I make a difference? I’m not stupid; I know that the civil-rights movement needed white Americans to see and abhor what was happening to add weight to the fight. A minority cannot win rights from the majority without some help from the majority (basic math). So it was in the ’60s, and so it has been the past decade with gay rights. We wouldn’t have gay marriage in 35 states and D.C. if it weren’t for the support of our straight friends. (Thank you, by the way.)

But as one person, what can I do to help? This is my struggle. I realize I have a tiny podium to share things and try to impact others. I have done that. But what about as I move through the world? As I handle my daily life? How do I say to the black and white Americans I come across that I abhor what is happening and want to be part of the solution?

Last week I read the “Other America” speech that Martin Luther King Jr. gave at Gross Pointe High School in 1968. This is the speech where he says riots are bad but he could not condemn them without also “condemning the contingent, intolerable conditions that exist in our society.” It has been cited a lot in the last few days. In it King calls for an acknowledgement from all Americans that we have a race problem in America.

Well, we have a race problem in America.

We do. We have a system that is skewed. The cards are stacked against black Americans, and the statistical proof of this is sickening. But many people do not (cannot? will not?) see it. This was never more apparent to me than in the past few months. I have spoken to otherwise intelligent, wonderful people who did not hesitate to disparage an entire race. I have moved through work afraid to say anything about Michael Brown for fear that my colleagues might say something to make me respect them a little less. I scroll through Facebook nervous of what I might see.

But how does an otherthan effect change? We can’t wait for voting; besides, basic human rights are not to be voted on. We need “the people” to agree that the system and the rules of the system are geared toward protecting whites, ensconcing them in privilege, supporting them, and helping them flourish. We need the people who don’t see the problem to read and see, to listen and hear.

The laws need to change to provide protections. We need race training for all law enforcement, though I’m not sure how we teach someone that all life has equal value when that idea should be innate; an end to racial profiling; the demilitarization of our police; and lapel cameras on all law enforcement officers.

All these things need to happen, but before they do, the opinions of the majority must change. Right or wrong, it works this way.

So what will I do? I will keep using my podium. I will continue to teach my children about equality, that all stereotypes are bad, that they should question a system that benefits them solely because of their race, and that they should choose friends based on the quality of their character rather than the color of their skin. I will share with the people in my life. I will do so gently with people I like or love, and respectfully with the rest. I will not stop loving or liking them just because they might need help to understand. If we only talk with people who agree with us, we are preaching to the choir. When I pass black and white Americans on the street, I will look them in the eye and smile. I will continue to look for biases inside me. I will keep reading. I will listen to anyone who tells me I am missing something and read things that people suggest I read.

If you have any suggestions for what else I can do, share in the comments. I am listening, as are a lot of white Americans today (and, hopefully, tomorrow and always).

It is butch to stand up and say, “Enough! This otherthan wants to be part of the solution rather than the problem!” Be butch.


World Premiere! Right here!

IMG_1609.JPGCheck out Butch singer songwriter Sofia and her new single and video over at HuffPost where we launched it worldwide today! Watch the video and read the piece there. =:o)

I sought out and landed an interview with an adorable Butch songwriter. Go figure. Check her out, and while you are at it – Be Butch.


BOT’s Box: Mail Call!

Check out this amazing mail call I had today…

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I received a stylish polo from Dapper D Fashions, a sassy postcard from Alpha Harlot, and this rad bow tie – skull and crossbones in wee Santa hats! I’m also particularly intrigued by a package I shall not describe just yet from Berman Innovations.

Thank you so much everybody!


Beauty is Ugly

I had to laugh when a friend snapped this picture of me today getting my hair did. You’ve heard the saying, “Beauty is pain.” Well, it’s also quite an ugly process. Lol.

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I mean, look at that sexy shower cap. And that cotton roll! Anyone who posts selfies should occasionally post an ugly, unflattering pic. I certainly take plenty of pictures that are “un-shareworthy” and deleted immediately. That’s a whole different filter, isn’t it?

Here is the finished product, as it were. Also, not a great shot of me.

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Now, I know you are shocked that the “bleached blonde” hawk of which I am so fond, is in fact, not my natural hair color. While we’re at it… There is no Loch Ness Monster, either. Oh, life isn’t fair. And, mustard will always have that gross watery squirt at the top. Now you know.

It’s Butch to be comfortable looking that ugly during your beauty routine, *cough* erm, grooming routine. Be Butch.


An Interview with Sinclair Sexsmith: A Very Sexy Butch Wordsmith

In honor of Sinclair Sexsmith’s new book, Sweet & Rough, I got the opportunity to talk with Sinclair. We also asked BOT fans to submit questions that they wanted me to ask Sinclair. The three that we choose to ask Sinclair will win their creators a copy of the book. I’ll go first (cause it’s my blog).

Sinclair

Tell me about yourself.

I’m 35 and currently living in the Bay Area after leaving home (southeast Alaska) at 16 and living in Colorado, Seattle, and Brooklyn. I’m still looking for a place that I really love and want to settle in, I haven’t quite found it yet. I might have to move to a cabin in the woods to find what I’m looking for, but not the creepy kind. I am really lucky to have found/created a career and calling for myself that I love, writing and teaching and coaching about sexualities, genders, and relationships. I live with a cat and a boy and a dog (in that pecking order). Since I work from my home office, I cook a lot, and I aspire to garden and grow more food, but that’s still a work in progress.

I love the way you present yourself to the world, attitude, stance, style. There aren’t as many Butch role models as one would like. How do you get the strength to be so very you?

It’s been a long, slow road to this version of me. It’s taken a long time and a LOT of experiments, a lot of wardrobe changes, a lot of trial and error. And I’m still changing all the time, still seeking ways to become the most “me” I can be. I had really excellent teachers who inspired me while I was coming out and coming into butchness and queerness, which really helped. I have very supportive parents and siblings, and I’ve always been very stubborn about doing my own thing and expressing my own way, since I was young. I’ve leaned on the many communities I’ve been a part of, and have felt so supported and lifted up by the generosity — I’ve learned so much by being part of communities and groups.

To the heart of it… What is special about Sweet & Rough?

sweetandrough-bigIt’s a sixteen story collection of sexy butch/femme smut, so just that is pretty special. It’s got conversations about gender interspersed, plus all sorts of kink, like handcuffs, rope bondage, flogging, anal sex, rough sex, sex in public … just lots of sex in general. I think it gives readers and lovers of butch/femme culture a great introduction to the huge body of work I have on sugarbutch.net and I hope it’ll be a good starting point! They are some of my favorite stories that I’ve ever written, and some of them are in book anthologies that were published many years ago (some published under my legal name, even, before I had this nom de plume) so many of them will be new reads.

Do you do casual clothes as well, or are you always so suited up?

I love casual clothes, but I’m always very polished. I’ve worked in offices and had to wear button downs and slacks, but I’m much more of a jeans and jersey polo style these days. I’ve turned the black tee-shirt into my signature of sorts, so while I wear a tee-shirt and jeans four days a week, it’s still within a signature ‘look’ and style. I have a variety of fashion rules for myself, though—like always wear a belt with jeans, always wear a collared shirt if I’m going out or teaching or going on a date, always wear good shoes (never sneakers, unless working out).

Here are our three winning questions from BOT fans:

How do you manage all your different enterprises…i.e. Your writing, your web classes, your personal appearances? [Kara]

I focus on one at a time, and I have a variety of goals for myself that I juggle. I think of my business as three-prong: writing, teaching, and coaching. So at any time I have some little projects for each of those. This summer I moved Sugarbutch to being updated once a week, so that’s changed my writing schedule a bit, and it’s been great because it gave me time to do other writing projects, like compiling Sweet & Rough!

Do you ever feel pressure to stick to binary gender roles i.e. butch = male/top/dominant/do-er and femme = female/bottom/submissive/receptive? In other words, do you feel pressure to write butch characters as NEVER being on the receiving end of sexual pleasuring? And if so, how do you choose to deal with that pressure? [Deborah]

Yes, I think there is pressure to remain in those roles, and rewards when I stay in them. I’m more likely to get a story published if I write characters into those roles, I believe. Most of the pieces I’ve written that are hard to find “homes” for, by which I mean keep getting rejected from anthology submissions, have somewhat unusual character pairings that don’t fit those binary modes.

The thing is, though, that while there is pressure to conform to that, there’s also huge celebration and praise from the queer worlds when you break out of it, and sometimes big critique from queer community for reproducing anything that looks too normative or following a trope. Just go check out some of the reviews for my last anthology, Say Please: Lesbian BDSM Erotica, on Amazon—most of the ones that are less than five stars are comments about how “the butches are all tops and the femmes are all bottoms, yawn” (I’m paraphrasing, but that’s often the gist).

So I think while there is pressure to conform, there is also a lot of reward when one doesn’t conform—and the folks who often get the most attention and status in the queer worlds are the ones making their own way. Honestly, I have felt more pressure in person to conform with the butch/femme roles than I do with my erotica—in some ways I think erotica (or the way I write it, anyway) has more leeway than the in-person stuff.

I hold vulnerability as an incredibly deep value, in my work and in my personal life, and the transparent vulnerability that I show through my work is really important to me. It’s the heart of my business, I would argue, and the heart of my style as a writer. So while sometimes I do write stories where the butch character is the top and the dom and the one doing all the action, I also write stories where the butch character is getting off or receiving vulnerable touch, and I think it’s important to talk about the gender role restrictions as a piece of the erotic discussion. I do still identify as stone, so there is a piece of me that is very challenged with receiving intimate touch, but I believe in sharing it as part.

What motivated you to begin publishing your work? Was it difficult to find support at first? [Meghan, Tina]

I’ve always been a writer, and always wanted to publish work and write books. In college, I started obsessively reading lesbian erotica and writing dirty poetry, and I started learning about submitting to anthologies, and started dreaming of one day having one of my stories in a real book – and then I was shocked when one of my stories was finally accepted (to Best Lesbian Erotica 2006 — that was my first official erotica publication)! I have an undergraduate degree in writing, and studied at the Bent Writing Institute for queers in Seattle, so I have been in writing groups longer than I’ve been publishing writing—so the support came first. I don’t know if I would have started publishing if I hadn’t had support around me, like writing group colleagues who were egging me on and reading my submission letters and comforting me when I got rejected and supporting me to keep trying.

Writing groups and community are so important when trying to get your work out there. It’s hard to find writing groups who will take erotica seriously, I’ve found — so at times, over the years, I’ve made my own writing group, specifically so we could talk seriously about the erotica writing, not just the dirty actions in the story that were titillating.

My big long-term goal has always been to write books, plural. Many of them. Most of what I do aside from write is me trying to find a way to fund my writing, since writers — especially genderqueer trans butch/femme sexy kinky dirty erotica writing — rarely get paid very much.

Now back to my questions. What is something people don’t know about you?

I do write about it and talk about it, but I still find that it’s a surprise when I tell people I was born and raised in southeast Alaska, and that I left home at sixteen. I had a rough time as a teenager, and was really searching for something, though I didn’t know what. In retrospect it was always about being a queer butch, but it took me a few cities and partners and mustering a lot of courage to come out in order for me to find those identities, and then another five or so years to really be comfortable claiming, living in, and expanding the definitions of them.

Also, I’m a really big introvert, and need lots of time alone to do the deep thinking that I see as instrumental to my work. It’s not always obvious because I love leading workshops and performing, too—it’s a bit of a contradiction, but that’s just how it is.

I am really surprised to hear you are an introvert! What would you like to tackle that you’ve not yet done?

I’d like to do a podcast, I’ve thought about it for years. But I just don’t have the time, with my current schedule and number of projects I take on. Personally? I’d like to have a vegetable garden. After years of living in little apartments in big cities, I have a yard right now, and a few little things growing, and it’s so thrilling.

Are you ready for the Lightning Round? These are just A or B answers, ok? No need to explain.

Bow tie or straight?
Straight.

Motorcycles or race cars?
Motorcycles, definitely.

Herringbone or plaid?
Hmmm, tough one. I’m inclined to say plaid because I’m a kid of the 90s, but really that was more like flannel. I rarely if ever wear patterns. I think I have a herringbone tie, though, so I’ll go with that.

Soup or salad?
Salad forever! Breakfast salad, dessert salad. All the salad.

I almost spit out my soda. All the salad. Heh.

Roses or daisies?
Daisies, especially Gerberas, they’re my favorite. But I am a pretty classic romantic, I believe in roses too.

Well, we have that in common. Gerberas are my very favorite, too. And I am definitely a romantic.

Beer or whisky?
Whiskey! But with an -ey, because bourbon.

Curves or muscles?
Mmmmmm, curves definitely curves.

There are so many more questions that I want to ask you, but let’s wait and do another interview some time soon, OK? Maybe around your next book. As for that book, you can buy it from Amazon here.

I was so pleased to talk with Sinclair. I am inspired by Sinclair’s authenticity, success, and talent. It is Butch to be authentic, sexy, and talented – not to mention kinky and dirty. Be Butch.


Text Dancing

I had a bad day. Really bad. Burst-into-tears-at-the-airport-bad.

Maybe it’s because it started at 3:30 am. Maybe it’s because I got scared by a giant, life-sized statue in my parents house – in the dark. Maybe it’s because their dog (my sister?) wouldn’t “play ball” as she’s supposed to. Maybe it’s because of the few terrifying moments when I had to search for my treasured polar bear necklace and my wedding ring that my cats knocked off the bathroom counter. Assholes.

Or maybe it’s because there was a detour to my terminal at 4:45 this morning. Again. Months later. Then again, it could be that I missed my return flight because I was so desperate to see and talk to my wife that I didn’t hear the gate change announcement. Or the change in departure times. Or the 3 pages for me. Seriously. One of my finer moments.

Whatever the reason, by the time I ambled down the jetway and saw these hilarious caution signs, I lost it. Out came the camera. Then the editing tools. Hope it makes you laugh, like it did me.

IMG_9994-0.JPGIt’s Butch to find humor in an otherwise difficult day. Be Butch.


Stop Gender Policing

20140723-225343-82423281.jpg
I started my day with an email asking me for an interview. The student addressed his email to “Mr.” I was nice enough to respond to him anyway – though I’ve been known to ignore someone who didn’t take the time to check this. I actually couldn’t help him (not an expert in what he was looking for) so there was no harm done. I got a nice apology note – though I didn’t call him on it.

Then, a little later in my day I had a conference call. It’s me, another legal beagle (“Kim”) and the woman on the other side (“Hillary”). When Hillary answered the phone, I said,

“Hello Hillary. This is Tristan (I can’t use Butch here because it will confuse you), and Kim from Blah Blah Corp.”

And Hillary says, “But not in that order, right?”

Kim and I are confused and I reply, “What?”

Hillary says, “Well, you said Tristan and Kim. Tristan first, but you’re Kim, right?”

“No. I’m Tristan.”

“But Tristan is a man’s name and this is a woman’s voice.”

“No. I’m Tristan and that’s Kim over there.” I point in wonder to Kim across my desk. We both look shocked as we realize what’s happening.

Hillary starts to sputter and apologize profusely, “But I thought – Oh I’m sorry – I didn’t mean to -”

Didn’t mean to what? Imply that my parents are idiots for naming me Tristan? Didn’t mean to imply that only a man can have a traditionally male name? What exactly didn’t you mean, Hillary?

Of course I didn’t say any of this.

Now, Kim and I laughed. Kim knows I’m a good sport. I joked to Hillary that at least we know she didn’t Google me. Ha ha ha.

This interaction left Hillary embarrassed (rightly) and befuddled (natch). Even though I’m a good sport, that’s not going to stop me from (anonymously) putting Hillary on blast.

I mean. What the hell? What on earth would lead a professional woman to be so desperate for gender conformity on a professional phone call that she would behave this way? It’s not a call set up by Match.com. It’s a professional meeting. To discuss contracts. And indemnity. And licensing provisions. Boring stuff for most of the world; not me, of course, I love that stuff.

Who the hell cares whether she is talking to two women, a man and a woman, a woman and a Butch, or – two aliens, for that matter?

Is she going to defer to the person she thought was a man? Is she going to ask me out on a date? What was she doing being so concerned? Maybe the man should be doing the speaking and if he’s not, then he’s clearly not on the call yet. Should we wait?

I’ve been on conference calls before with a bunch of men. I’ve no issue asking the people to announce themselves so I get a chance to place the voices. Occasionally, I ask if the person who just spoke was soandso. But, to get absolutely tripped up over the fact that I’m speaking and my name doesn’t match my voice? It’s a new level of gender policing.

Though I despise the bathroom double takes and mistaken Sirs, at least those have an explanation – however feeble or rooted in ignorance they may be. This one left me perplexed. Shaking my head, as it were.

News flash Hillary: Not all women are named womanly names and not all men are named manly names. Sometimes, a woman is named Pat, or Hunter, or Michael (grrrowl). Sometimes, a man is named Kelsey, or Michele, or Shannon. And sometimes, a Butch is named Tristan. A big ol’ woman-identified Butch. Get over it.

Have any of you ever experienced this kind of crazy policing on the phone?

It’s Butch to stop gender policing. Be Butch.


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