As a community we face hate violence on a daily basis – due to our gender presentation, race, religion, class and/or appearance. Every day- this is done regardless of how we identify internally, the language we use to call ourselves, or the politics that we may or may not possess inside.
We are made to feel not a part of our greater communities for how we appear, the clothing we wear, our haircuts, or our preferred language for ourselves.
We take on misogyny on a daily basis by stretching what our identities can look like, what they can embody, how we choose to identify, and where we fall on the gender spectrum.
We are feminists, womanists, or none of the above in being the type of butches and studs that we are.
We continue to push against boxes that we are pushed into that do not contain all that we are, stretch ones that some feel we do not fit, and destroy others by creating our own language that better describes how we want to be seen in this world.
We go against the grain of society by strutting our swagger as genderqueer studs, fey dandies, pronoun shunning tombois, femme loving bulldaggers, or butch loving AGs.
We face insurmountable odds on a daily basis as people who display masculinity, our butchness, and our sophisticated and complicated ways of being in our skin.
We battle discrimination with employment, public accommodations, and health care on a daily basis due to our presentation and/or identities.
We continually challenge stereotypes, definitions, and preconceived notions among various systems of organized government, academia, and institutional privilege.
We embody the identity of woman. We live in third gender spaces. We take on gender neutral identities. We live outside of the gender binary all together. All in being ourselves – all possessing identities that are ours that no one can take away from us.
We are of varying races and of mixed heritage.
We are working class, upper class, un (and under-)employed, homeless, highly educated, mechanically inclined, dapperly dressed, and old school purveyors of the gender continuum.
We are elders in our communities, activists of varying experiences and years of involvement, and young baby-faced butch dykes leading our movements. We are also marginalized folks who have never been at the table of any movement prior, and longing for our turn at bat.
We are on the front lines battling for the freedom to marry our same sex partners. We are fighting for rights in immigration reform. We are soldiers in the final stages of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.
We are leaders of faith communities, devout Buddhists, atheists, and those of varying religions and degrees of faith in between.
We have been incarcerated in a prison system that is racially and class oriented in bias and privilege.
We are all that we think we are. Throughout history, we have always existed in one capacity or another, whether language was changing or not.
AS A GRASS-ROOTS ORGANIZATION …
BUTCH Voices is not invested in creating sex-segregated or sex-specific spaces. We are invested in continually creating and holding spaces that validate folks who self-identify on the butch and masculine of center spectrums. We support people who want women/womyn’s only spaces. We wish to come together to work together wherever we can to take on the issues we face as a community. Together we are a powerful force to be reckoned with, and have yet to fully embody the breadth of strength we have as a united community.
This August 18-21, 2011, marks the 2nd time BUTCH Voices is bringing folks together at our National Conference from all across North America to meet up in person in Oakland, where we can talk about ourselves and our issues, connect with others, and network with our peers. In this space we can find commonalities, discuss differences, and work together like nowhere else. The conference is open to all, where we have the power to make this space into exactly whatever it is that we would like it to be. We look forward to seeing faces from 2009, 2010 and those who will be joining us for the first time.
As we have said since 2009…
We are woman-identified Butches. We are trans-masculine Studs. We are faggot-identified Aggressives. We are noun Butches, adjective Studs and pronoun-shunning Aggressives. We are she, he, hy, ze, zie and hir. We are you, and we are me. The point is, we don’t decide who is Butch, Stud or Aggressive. You get to decide for yourself.
We are BUTCH Voices.