Program

The Butch Voices’ Programming Co-Chairs and committee proudly present to you a working list of workshops and sessions along with their presenters. We are beyond thrilled at the topics being covered over the conference weekend. The list is in alphabetic order and of course subject to change.


The Possibilities and Pleasures of Faggot Play – Corey Alexander

Butch/butch private action. Transfags cruising for anonymous sex. Building a boi’s pride up with punches. Two butches wrestling to find out who gets fucked. Gender play between two folks that become boys together (whatever other genders they also may be). Cisgender fags teaching you anal fisting. Fag bashing roleplay. Finding a butch brother you trust enough to bottom to. Being the kind of Daddy that teaches your boy how to become a man. All of these and more can be faggot play. This interactive workshop is designed to enrich your play and help you find your hot spots.

Stone Identity and Sexuality: For Stones and Our Partners – Corey Alexander
Stone is often only seen as an absence, a loss, a problem.  This workshop offers an alternative perspective on stone, celebrating the hotness of stone sex and play, discussing ways to address the impact of anti-stone prejudice, and ways to honor who we are now–even if we are exploring ways to push our own boundaries. This workshop will focus on the challenges and especially the pleasures of stone sexuality, while honoring the complexities that each of us bring to a discussion of stone

Taking it On: Dealing with Our Internalized Misogyny – Corey Alexander
Misogyny is the hatred of women and femininity. We are often accused of this very thing – hating our woman-ness – as butches and transmasculine spectrum folks. How do we create conscious masculinity/butchness that is oppositional to misogyny? Misogyny plays out in our heads, the way we see ourselves, the way we interact with other butches/transfolks, how we move through women/trans spaces, how we work in alliance with transfeminine folks, the way we fuck, the ways others harass us and how we respond, our comfort with our bodies, the way we treat femmes and all the women in our lives. Come ready to be real, and to talk about how it plays out for you, how you deal with it, what you do when you’ve fucked up, how you ally with transfeminine spectrum folks, how you grapple with gendered spaces in your communities, how you work to create conscious masculinity/butchness, how you create relationships and alliances with the femmes and women in your life. This will be an interactive discussion based workshop. All genders welcome, but the focus is on butches and transmasculine spectrum folks dealing with our own misogyny.

Body Modification and Identity – Ash
Anywhere on the andro to butch spectrum can lead to questions both from others and ourselves about who we are and who we want to be. Daily we claim our identity as butch, boi, king, trans, queer, fag. In your life is it hard to figure out what will make you more you? Often changes in appearance and our bodies create a better sense of self. Touching on both internal and external body modification this workshop will be an exchange of our stories and ideas on how we choose to use body modification to express ourselves. This can be a chance to show off your tattoos, talk about top surgery, discuss growing facial hair, and exchange ideas.


Butch Survival: Mentoring Gender Nonconforming Youth – Sheri Atkinson

Surviving in a world that does not value gender nonconforming people can be a struggle. Throughout history there have been butch women, transmasculine people, and gender queer people. However, finding mentors to assist youth through the challenges and struggles of living and presenting their true selves can be difficult. How do we support our youth who may be experiencing the discrimination and violence that we have survived? What skills and tools have we developed for ourselves that we can share with younger gender nonconforming people? What do we have to learn from youth about survival and challenging the worlds limited acceptance of varying gender expressions? Join this facilitated discussion to share ideas, thoughts, and tools.


Reclaiming Butch/Femme: Who’s Heteronormative? – Sheri Atkinson & Cynthia Degnan

Oprah magazine recently ran a story entitled, “Why are women leaving men for other women.” The article framed these relationships in a limiting and problematic way. The premise was that previously straight, feminine women find butch women to be closer to the ideal men that they envisioned being with. The article thus reinforces a heteronormative model based on stereotypes of femmes as essentially straight and butches as essentially men. The idea that butch/femme relationships replicate a heteronormative model is often used as a critique against them. These criticisms are short sighted and oversimplify many people’s experiences. This argument still frames queer relationships in relation to straightness and creates the idea that some relationships are more queer than others. We would like to use this workshop to think outside these parameters and develop a language that is more empowering and reflective of people’s experiences. This workshop will create a space to engage in lively dialogue about the many ways we define butch/femme/queer relationships. Participants can share and model ways that they define and configure their own relationships. This will allow participants to develop language to address the narrowly defined criticisms often placed on us and to build community among ourselves.


A Re-Introduction to the Only-Mostly-Dead Art of Chivalry (Now! With 200% More Feminism!) – S. Bear Bergman

Everyone’s heard the stories: men who get kneed in the balls for holding open a door, youngsters who sprawl on bus seats while elders stand, the myth of the handkerchief-carrying gentleman, and all the rest. What, exactly, do girls women people want in the world of chivalry? How can a modern gentleperson be courteous without being sexist or a suckup? And while we’re at it – who goes through the door first, again? Talk a little about the principles, and then learn a lot about the mechanics of walking in public (v. walking in private, natch), and a whole lot more.


An Exploration of Dick – Blast

The ever elusive search for just the “right” dick… We all know just how frustrating it is. Do you ever to get the latest and greatest dick in the mail or at your local sex toy shop and find that it isn’t amazing or at least as amazing as what you hoped it would be? Whether you’re looking for something for a dick be it pissing, packing, or fucking this is the workshop for you. In this workshop we’ll explore a variety of dicks and even some harnesses/packy straps that are available on the market right now. We’ll pass them around, talk about them, and share our experiences with them, both good and bad. Along the way we’ll learn a bit about the dick making process, the materials they’re made from, and what lubes to use/avoid. There will also be a raffle where everyone has the chance to take home an exciting new toy.


Getting What You Want: Sexual Boundaries for Tops, Bottoms, and Everything in Between – Nico Carbellano & Sophie Rogers-Gessert

What constitutes consent — and how to recognize it — is one of the most important questions we encounter in our sexual lives. This workshop focuses on how to communicate with our partners about want we each want — and how to get it. Participants will discuss the ways in which traditional expectations about sex and sexuality, along with our multiple gender identities, create misunderstandings and barriers for open communication with intimate partners. This interactive workshop aims to equip participants with creative and comfortable ways of giving, obtaining, and recognizing clear consent. Saying yes just got a little dirtier.


Bootcamp For Procrastinators: A Writing Workshop – Ivan E. Coyote

Have you always dreamed of writing your memoirs down but were never sure where to start? Do you have a half-finished masterpiece stuffed into the back of a desk drawer? Still stuck on that not quite fabulous first line? Enlist today. Not tomorrow. Not next year. Today. Fall in and step to as Ivan Coyote runs you through a series of exercises designed to build up your first line muscles, train yourself to capture those fleeting late night epiphanies, and practice bullying yourself into believing. Take those first steps toward gaining the skills to add your voice to the collected stories of life outside the gender boxes. Learn to tell your story, your way, in your words.


Butch Burlesque – PaPa Dino

Anybody is welcome to come! Anybody who wants to explore a butch or masculine way of doing burlesques are welcome. Anybody who wants to watch us –please be our cheer leaders and positive reinforcement. When does a butch have a chance to be adored and encouraged to do burlesque? This is the place for you! Bring your suits, sexy boxers or anything that will make you look and feel sexy. Please no nudity. Burlesque is the art of seduction and teasing!


Improv Meets Activism: the Nuts and Bolts of Healthcare Advocacy – Kelli Dunham

What do a successful world wrestling federation tag team match and a successful interaction with the health care system for a butch/stud/ag person have in common? No, not a sleeper hold (at least not usually) but rather team-work. In this workshop participants will share either examples they’ve had of interactions with the health care system that had a less than ideal outcome, and/or situations they can anticipate being in. The gathered participants will then use equal parts improv, brainstorming, and cheerleading to role play positive and creative tactics to help health care consumers take back power in the described situations. And yes, we’ll talk about the “butch goes to the gyn” situation and how to make that experience less stressful.

Is That Me on TV? – Cheryl Dunye, Campbell X, Kortney Ryan Ziegler, Kimberly Peirce & Jack Halberstam
We’ve seen Set It Off, Stranger Inside, Boys Don’t Cry, The Wire and The L Word but have any of these films/tv shows gotten it right? What are the discrepancies in the way we are portrayed in mainstream media and how does it effect society’s overall perception of us? Industry professionals, actors and filmmakers will join this panel discussion, moderated by stud/butch identified filmmaker Cheryl Dunye (Watermelon Woman, Stranger Inside, My Baby’s Daddy), as we explore the way we are depicted in the media.


Creating Social Spaces for Lone Wolves – Krys Freeman

WE represent a wide variety of perspectives, even if sharing some aspects of our gender presentation. But before now, we have had limited opportunities to connect with one another outside of typical social events. We’ve descended upon BUTCHVoices because this conference presents a unique opportunity to relate to, build with and find friendship among other masculine identified women, transmen and allies in a respectful and safe space.

In this session we will take a glance at what happens when we become, via friendship, part of straight bio-male, gay bio-male communities, or lesbian communities out of our fantasy of finding people “like ourselves.” We will take a critical look at how this can be both positive and dangerous. We will discuss the benefits of conversing with people of shared perspectives and what we can do to develop more healthy and affirming communities for ourselves. We will also explore how the web, but more importantly web 2.0, is largely responsible for empowering all of us to do more to create positive visibility for all masculine identified women and transmen. We will take a look at some of the places where members of our community are gathering online (Twitter, Facebook, Downelink, The Definition). And we will talk about how we each must play a role in creating more positive visibility outside of our closed social spaces, as well as within.

Bulldagger: A Discussion for Woman-Identified, Female Pronoun Using Butches – Sasha T. Goldberg

Often experienced as a disappearing identity in ever-changing queer communities where words, labels, and pronouns signify different things to different people, this workshop is for those of us who live, celebrate, and maintain Butch as a woman’s identity. In providing a space for Butch camaraderie amongst woman-identified, female pronoun using Butches, we will discuss what our masculinity has meant, and continues to mean for us, in our daily lives: in the GLBTQ context, in the straight world, at work, at home, with our families, with our friends, and in our bedrooms. Whether you’re a Bulldagger, a Bulldyke, a Stud, an Aggressive, or a Butch by any other name, come and build community with the rest of your pack.


King-Sized: Fat Butches and Boys on Well-Built Masculinity – A panel discussion moderated by Sasha T. Goldberg, additionally featuring S. Bear Bergman, Dante Mandala & Vinny Prell

Our panel of well-built Butches and Boys invite you to come explore the thicker sides of masculinity. Ranging from sizes Large to 4X, featured panelists will discuss the many ways that our large (and larger) bodies inform our sense of masculinity, gender, and self. In addition to speaking about our own personal perceptions of gender and size, we will also address the experience that we encounter in the world––as people who are, both literally and figuratively, larger than the gender and size boxes provided. Finally, we promise to address what King-Sized masculinity means to us, and to pour a little sugar on the attendees.


Butch in the Streets: Techniques for Increasing Your Safety in Public – Grey

Along with the joys of out and proud butch visibility come certain risks. Every now and then it’s necessary to deal with the odd homophobic “hater.” This workshop will address fundamentals of assertive emotional and physical behaviors for enhancing safety while on the streets in potentially hostile environments. Problem-solving dialogue (such as gender role socialization and associated behaviors), role-play and easily learned techniques for physical and emotional self-defense will be discussed, demonstrated and practiced during this interactive workshop. All ages and physical capabilities are encouraged to participate. Be ready to share, learn and play in a safe environment.


Writing Our Desire – Minal Hajaratwala & Margo Rivera-Weiss

A skillshare workshop on writing erotica, porn, smut! Co-facilitated by one butch (Margo Rivera-Weiss) and one femme (Minal Hajratwala) for maximum steaminess. Do you want to write lusty letters to your lover, ravage audiences with your racy monologues, or get famous by publishing your filthy fantasies? This workshop will help you find your voice, overcome inhibitions, and secrete your hottest, wettest inner visions onto the page. Through easy, short exercises and an intimidation-free process, we will break through conventional ideas of what’s “allowed” to be written, and what’s “allowed” to be sexy. We will push past the boundaries of gender-limited vocabulary and pronouns to explore what we really think is hot, in original and creative language that expresses, as explicitly as we desire, each of our unique sexualities. The facilitators are people of color and the workshop will be fully inclusive of all genders and cultural backgrounds. Whether your style is sensual or studly, whether your intended audience is one person or thousands or merely an exploration for yourself — this workshop is for you. Bring a notebook and pen, and be ready to write! Suitable for all levels of writing experience.


Boys Don’t Cry and Beyond: A Conversation Between Jack Halberstam and Kim Peirce

In this exciting and wide-ranging conversation, Jack Halberstam (author of Female Masculinity) and Kimberly Peirce (writer/director of Boys Don’t Cry and Stop-Loss) will explore a wide range of topics associated with the representation of gender-queer and specifically butch characters. Touching on topics like visuality, genre and normativity, embodiment, cinematic language, narrative convention and visual experimentation, Halberstam and Peirce will try to give a sense of where we are and where we are going nearly a decade after the theatrical success of Boys Don’t Cry. Halberstam and Peirce will pay particular attention to the question of genre and will lead the audience in a discussion about the use of tragedy versus comedy, narrative film versus experimental film in terms of the representation of gender non-conforming characters. The two will discuss Peirce’s plans to make a butch-femme romantic sex comedy and will think together about the history and the future of queer film. Be prepared to be provoked and challenged, annoyed and inspired by this conversation; bring your questions and comments about boys, butches and beyond.


LGBT Greek Life – Latasha Hampton, Miriam Theus & Mahogany Corina

This workshop on LGBT Greek Life will touch on the history of LGBT Greek Fraternities/Sororities and what a significance it has on the young Womyn who are in or out of College that wanted to be apart of the Greek but knew their sexual preference would not be accepted. We will discuss the history of the LGBT Greek Fraternity/Sorority Foundation and what positive images they represent. We will also discuss the similarities and differences between the regular Greek Fraternities/Sororities and the LGBT Greek Fraternities/Sororities.

We will talk about the different LGBT Greek Fraternities/Sororities that currently exist and supply a general website where the majority of them are listed. We will provide information about our Greek Fraternity, Alpha Lambda Zeta Fraternity, Inc. and our goals as an organization.


Is God Butch? – Rabbi Jane Litman

Rabbi Jane invites human beings of all gender and spiritual/cultural identities to participate in a reflective conversation about the interplay between gender and faith. Possible discussion topics include theology, prayer, religious heritage, values and community. Please come to share your truth and listen to the experience of others in a safe respect-filled moderated discussion.


Classic or Classy? Dealing with Classed Stereotypes in Butch/Femme Communities – Paige Kruza & Sophia Lanza-Weil

Butch-femme communities have traditionally included assumptions about class, money, and how the two play out both within the expectations of our relationships and how we express our identities. Within a stereotype that a butch will always buy dinner and that a femme will shop non-stop, stereotypes of our relationships are deeply entrenched in class. This workshop will be an opportunity to discuss these assumptions, our own expectations of ourselves and our partners, how they do or do not relate to our personal identities and our identities within our relationships, and how to challenge and alter the class assumptions we encounter. Some questions we will discuss include how these class assumptions affect our identities as butch or femme; how class difference plays out in our relationships; how can we confront class assumptions and talk with our partners/dates about class; class “passing” and gender presentation; and more.


Intergenerational Panel – Joe LeBlanc, Krys Freeman, Marion Abdullah, Bev Jo/Slake, Jill Lessing

As Butches, Studs and the various identities that we represent as a group, we have much to discuss with and learn from each other. Too often history is lost because of the polarization among the ages of members within our community. Join us for a round table discussion focusing on the various issues we have faced and still face among a panel of individuals representing a range of ages and years in the community. Share your voice and revel in the experiences of those who have paved the way before you or are just coming up to continue where others have left off.


Fathoming Each Other: A Community Healing through Witnessed Mediation and Heartshare – Joe LeBlanc & Jill Nagle

So often when we try to tell each other who we are, and how the world feels for us, we get triggered, and wind up even more hurt than before. We’re offering something different: a Witnessed Mediation using Nonviolent Communication (based in the work of Marshall Rosenberg), followed by a Heartshare. Three people who identify as Butch, TransButch and FTM will get expert help hearing, understanding and connecting with one another on a very deep level. Your role will be to listen, bear witness to, and hold space for this process. In other words, to show up with respect, curiosity and nonjudgmental attention to support the three people who will be taking the risk to be open and vulnerable in front of everyone. Afterwards, you’ll get to share from your heart, and get heard and witnessed with the same kind loving attention you offered to the three who spoke. This isn’t a discussion, debate or sharing of opinions. It’s a different form of interaction—Community Healing—to help us all get connected, fathom one another and heal old rifts. Please come in support of this intention.


To Be Young, Gifted, Black and Butch: A Critical Genealogy of An Intellectual Tradition – Amy Ongiri

From Bessie Jackson’s 1935 recording of “BD Woman’s Blues” to Cheryl Dunye’s 1996 fictional documentary Watermelon Woman, Black lesbians have been seeking to define the presence of Black women in the LGBTQ community who, as Bessie Jackson sang, “got a head like a switch engine and walk just like a natural man.” This presentation will seek to recover what is too often an overlooked or hidden history at the same time it gives definition to Black butch identity as an intellectual tradition. Nina Simone declared, “To be young, gifted and Black” and “a lovely precious dream” in a song based on an unfinished play by Lorraine Hansberry. This presentation will explore Black Butch intellectual production as a “lovely precious dream” that has multiple manifestations. It will consequently explore various kinds of intellectual production from the artistic practice of people such as Bessie Jackson, Jackie “Moms” Mabley, Alelia Walker, and Gladys Bentley, to the work of scholars and writers such as Pat Parker and Lorraine Hansberry. In examining the histories of African American lesbians who embrace various forms of female masculinity, we will examine several important questions including: How do you define what is Butch? Is it a question of presentation or is it a question of presence? Is it possible/necessary to historicize terms such as “Butch,” “Stud,” “Bulldagger,” and “Aggressive” before defining a historiography? How do we constitute an intellectual tradition from histories that have mostly been hidden, ignored, or overlooked?


Light-Not-White – Redwolf Painter

A workshop for light-skinned and racially ambiguous people of color and ethnic minorities to explore questions about the nature of gender and race as they pertain to us:

What does it mean to be butch, genderqueer, trans, or otherwise gender-nonconforming and racially ambiguous?
How do we deal with the “choice” we have of passing as white and assimilating?
What costs do we incur if we decide to align ourselves with our ethnic minority or of-color community/ies)?
How do white ideas about women/femininity and men/masculinity impact our well-being?

We envision a workshop in which a group of racially ambiguous/light-skinned (mixed race and otherwise) ethnic minorities/people of color can talk about the cost of seemingly incongruent internal identifications and external appearances, constructing positive identities, and building community among light-skinned people of color. We are interested in the strengths and resiliencies that light-skinned queer and trans folk exhibit in refusing whiteness and simplistic notions of gender. This workshop is intended as a space for transformative exploration that leads us to a deeper understanding of ourselves and others.

Note: we actively invite darker-skinned and/or “not light” people of color to the discussion as well, as we value their voices in discussing colorism and the significance one’s skin color can hold in a racist society.


Politics of Passing – Vinny Prell

Whether we are discussing gender identity, race, sexual identity, ability level, or any other identity, “passing” is a charged and complicated issue. But what does it mean to pass? Is passing something we work for or against? What does it mean to pass as a certain identity? Do we try to pass? Why? Does passing hurt our work for equality? Join Vinny for a moderated discussion on passing.


Flirt Like You Mean It – Q

Are you the shy type? Looking for ways to re-ignite the spark in your relationship? Just getting back into the dating scene and want to brush up on your skills? This workshop is for you! We’ll cover everything from the history of flirting to bad pick up lines, and give you concrete usable tools. Since the best way to gain confidence is to practice, we’ll spend part of our time putting the theory into action. This class will be a safe and relaxing atmosphere to come learn, explore and have fun. Flirting may not be the most natural thing for you, but I bet you’re better at it than you think. You will leave with both the skills and the practice to have you flirting with new confidence.


Enabling What? Exploring Disability, Gender and Sexuality – Laura Rifkin, Lenn Keller, Mira Ingram, Syndy Sharp, Patty Overland, Marion Abdullah, Morningstar Vancil & Dominika Bednarska

An intergenerational, multi-cultural panel discussion with audience participation. Film clips, poetry, and conversation with members of Fabled Asp (Fabulous/Activist Bay Area Lesbians with Disabilities: A Storytelling Project). How do ideas about ability affect our gender identities? How does having a disability affect us as butches, femmes, etc.? How does being a butch woman with a disability affect our social standing in the community? What is it like being partners with butches with disabilities? How do changes in our bodies impact how we see ourselves as sexual beings? In this panel and discussion we will focus on disability, body image, relationships and sexuality. Through creative writing, film clips, as well as personal experiences we will facilitate a conversation that explores our preconceived notions about what constitutes butch, femme and other identities and think about how to expand our perceptions to include a broader range of abilities. People of all abilities are welcome!

Butch-Femme Communication: Not Ozzie. Not Harriet – Diane Sabin & Jewelle Gomez

Like everything we do we’re greatly influenced by our pasts in all of our communication with those we love. How did your parents talk to each other? How did your brother and sister speak to each other? What did the guys hanging out in the gym sound like? What do women really talk about in the beauty parlour? All these things bounce around in our heads when we communicate with the people we love, especially in a femme/butch relationship where the external culture (and sometimes your internal self) ASSUMES you will mimic the heterosexual norms. How easy is it to stop talking and begin listening? How can we hear each other above the din of voices from our past, from the television and movies? Let’s talk about that.


Non Conforming Gender Presentation and Job Searching – Davey Shlasko & Clair Farley

Finding a job is never easy. For butches, trans folk, and anyone whose gender might come across as unusual, there can be particular challenges. Transgender Economic Empowerment Initiative (TEEI) is the first ever coordinated program to help transgender and gender non-conforming people find and keep rewarding jobs in safe workplaces. We know that everyone wants to use their talents, live up to their full potential, and give back to the community – not to mention get paid well and treated decently! In this workshop, TEEI staff will lead discussion and activities about the challenges we’ve all faced in getting and keeping employment, and offer some concrete tools and strategies for navigating the job search while being yourself.

How is That Your Mom? Isn’t He a Boy? – Jay Walls

Description: This discussion group is for anyone who has parented, is parenting, or is interested in parenting in the future. Although there is abundant literature and research dealing with parenting by gay and lesbian individuals, little attention has been paid to the differences within our communities. What are the special challenges faced by the butch parent? How have you dealt with them? What are your fears and concerns about parenting? Where do you turn for support? What have been your successes? Useful parenting resources will be provided, and we hope to encounter a wealth of experience and curiosity in the room. Come, share, and learn!

Gender Transgressive Individuals of the Asian Diaspora – Willy Wilkinson, Jai Arun Ravine, Mel Chen, and Ami Puri

Whether we call ourselves butch, trans, stud, male, transmasculine, or any number of other terms, gender non-conforming, female-born individuals have always rebelled against the expectations of Asian family and community. We also reject the ignorance and objectification inherent in the popular depiction of Asians as a hyperfeminine race. Come hear a diverse panel of gender transgressive individuals from the Asian Diaspora speak about how we define and express our gender within varied cultural, family, historical, and geographic contexts. Panelists will also express themselves creatively with video, spoken word, and visual art. We look forward to a discussion with the group. Everyone welcome.

Butches in Leather – Rope Wolf, Corey Alexander, Loren Quon, Chris Wilson, Joan Norry, Cayenne Woods
Panel will include a Daddy and Hys boi, a Daddy (that has a girl), a butch bottom, an African American butch slave, an Asian butch Master and Hys boi, and a Native American butch Master. This group spans from 28 to 60 plus years old, and includes former leather titleholders and leather community trailblazers. Rather than discuss our leather coming out stories, we will talk about our leather dynamic and how our butch identity influences us and plays out within that dynamic. We will also try to dispel myths about leather relationships and include in our conversation—polyamory, play partners vs. relationships, how our ethnicities influence our leather relationships, and activism in BDSM and LGBT communities. Additionally we will take questions from the audience


Constructing Black Fe/Male Masculinity – Erica Woodland

This workshop will offer a space for trans/butch/stud people of African descent to share their stories and explore their black masculine identities. We will focus on learning from each other’s experiences and critically reflecting on our identities in a safe space. The presentation will include images from popular media, radical writing about black masculinity, work within the black butch/stud/trans communities and personal experience followed by a facilitated discussion. The discussion will explore how we shape our identities in a racist, patriarchal, homophobic culture, resist and reclaim popular images of black masculinity, and navigate our romantic relationships. We will also investigate our relationship to black male masculinity, the implications of passing, and our power and privilege within black masculine identity. This workshop is open to all, but intended to be a space for black identified butch/stud/trans people.