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Transgender Butch

This piece of writing is pulled from a journal entry. It's very personal in nature and not polished.

May 6, 2004

It is comforting to me to know that the further I get into transition, the more solid I feel in my butch identity. One would imagine that there would be greater disconnect there as I am seen more unquestionably as male in the world. Maybe socially that is true, but in the ways I relate to myself it feels completely opposite. Actually seeing my body begin to make more sense to me, being more comfortable with who I see in the mirror and still feeling the most connection to who I am as a butch over any other part of my identity is a powerful thing. I have stopped describing myself as a man to people, not that "man" is a term I ever used often or very comfortably. When I tell my story, I explain that I am taking testosterone solely to make my physical self align with the image I hold in my head.

The decision to transition for me was an intensely personal one which had little to do with how I wanted other people to see me and much more centered around what I needed to do to be able to see myself. As a result of these changes, people assume I was born male. They don't recognize my female history upon first meeting, and I feel like it's on my shoulders to find opportunities to share pieces of my experience and challenge their assumptions when it's appropriate. It's something I do because I feel like I owe to to myself and my history, I owe it to my feminist beliefs, I owe it to the people who have their views broadened by knowing my story and ones like it. I don't feel like it is my responsibility as a member of the trans community. In fact I have begun to feel less and less responsibility to that community, whatever it is. I am a butch at heart, transsexual by circumstance, really.

A gift of this transsexual experience as it relates to being a butch is continually having the opportunity to express what exactly it means to me to be a butch, because I am not taken as one at face value. I am required to justify my right to continue to claim that identity and in doing so I get to examine and understand what it really means at it's core. I have spent years justifying it to myself, and in working through all that shit I have become very comfortable in presenting it to the people around me.

In the past year... six months... I have done a lot of opening myself up to new experiences, new ways of seeing myself and expressing my sexuality. I gave myself the freedom to acknowledge attractions outside of the butch/femme dynamic, experienced them, loved them, they pushed at my boundaries and I have grown as a result. In that time there has not been a point where I felt like I wasn't being true to myself, even though the configuration of my relationships might have looked very different from anything I had ever known or expressed. That new territory has been exciting and beautiful, I have learned more about myself than I expected I would, it has all been raw and honest and I am thankful for every piece. The common denominator in all of this has been that I am a butch, and I always felt that being respected and honored. But, the way that I experience being a butch while in relation to another butch... another masculine identified person... a non-femme identified person is very different than what it feels like to have those pieces complimented and completed by a femme.

My new girlfriend asked two months ago if I had missed being with a femme. At the time I wasn't sure how to respond, feeling full of newness and excitement. I can say now with certainty that yes, I missed it. I didn't realize how much I missed it until I was able to come home to it again. I had found comfort with another trans-masculine person, an unspoken understanding built out of our sameness. I'd found deep and true love and caring for a person who I fully intend on having in my life for the rest of my life. But for me that connection didn't translate into intimacy (and I am not only talking about sex) in the same way it does with a femme... in the ways I have come to affirm that I am most at home.

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