“Diversity: the art of thinking independently together.” Malcolm Forbes
Recently, I was told that Butch was a journey on the road to becoming Trans and I decided it was a conversation I wanted to have with other women who are masculine of center. You see … for me Butch was not a pit stop … it was a destination. I had the privilege of attending the BUTCH Voices Community Conversation in Dallas, Texas during the first ever Butchfest weekend. Topics ranged from Butch Misogyny, Trans/Butch Flight, Kink, Healthy LGBT Relationships and Queer Terminology. I was energized by the opportunity to network with and learn about the butch diversity that existed within my own community. The passion and commitment to self awareness has always inspired me. As expected, the community conversation did not disappoint and everyone was refreshingly candid about their feelings around their chosen gender expression. It was nice to see some familiar faces and to connect with others on what the needs are in advancing the conversation and acceptance of female masculinity in the 21st century. I believe this is critical in advancing rights and opportunities for women in our community.
Sex was a topic that led to a variety of subject matter that included S&M as well as kink but allowed us to explore our comfort with boundaries and the need for more LGBT mentors. We determined that the need is not necessarily for more role models but leaders…outspoken about their chosen gender expression which would serve as an outline allowing future generation to explore gender roads less travelled by other generations.
“There is no gender identity behind the expressions of gender… identity is performatively constituted by the very ‘expressions’ that are said to be its results.” – Judith Butler
It is no coincidence, where the rule of law and democracy are struggling to take root are the same places where women and the LGBT community as a whole cannot participate as full and equal citizens. I have always believed that women and my queer community are not victims, we are agents of change, we are drivers of progress, we are makers of peace—all we need is a fighting chance. Just as important…is the use of technological advances that have helped inspire, organize, and empower grassroots action…allowing the LGBT community to be able to connect virally through organizations like Butch Voices. This will help continue to create change…that is not only wanted but needed…to construct a path that leads to having a clear perception of our own personality, including strengths, weaknesses, thoughts, beliefs, motivation, and emotions. I am who I think I am … a sum of my best and worst experiences. I am queer … and I am proud!
“I love to be individual, to step beyond gender.” – Annie Lennox
As an LGBT rights activist, I’ve seen this type of conversation spark change that allowed progress to take hold and that’s where we as members of a fast moving society need to engage others outside our comfort zones. This will not only facilitate change but allow us to become the change we want in the world.
The repression of women, Trans or gender queers within the LGBT community only exacerbates the disparities we still face. Our current laws and traditions that hold back women and gender queers, hold back entire societies but if we commit to creating more opportunities for women and minority factions that exist in our community, I believe it will expedite our quest for equal opportunity. As we begin our important work to improve our personal experience, I look forward to continuing our conversations, discussing our thoughts and sharing our strategies to achieve gender equality.