Butch Please: Where Do We Go From Here

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BUTCH PLEASE is all about a butch and her adventures in queer masculinity, with dabblings in such topics as gender roles, boy briefs, and aftershave.

Header by Rory Midhani

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To the wonderful, wild, and wily Autostraddle community:

This will probably be my last Butch Please in the format you’ve come to expect. I came to this column for a lot of reasons, and I’m changing things up for many of the same. At the beginning, my intentions were personal as well as community-minded; I wanted to explore and better understand how I “do” my masculinity, because masculinity on a person whose body was assigned female is an inherently complicated thing, and the way I have come to understand everything about myself has not been through doing or seeing or moving, but from writing.

Ultimately, I identify myself as a writer, and that’s all I’ve ever been and all I aspire to be. My love of the written word is what keeps me going, and I ended up writing about queerness because it is my life, and one’s life will always inform one’s work, whether we want it to or not. Perhaps that is self-indulgent, but writing about your own experiences will always be at least a tad self-indulgent, and processing seems to be a thing we are all too fond of in this community.

For better or for worse, what I’ve come to learn is that writing about oneself for the very worldly wide web is a complicated ordeal, one that takes as much from you as it gives to those who would like to hear from you. I’m not used to writing about my own experiences and have always felt very uncomfortable doing so, as fiction has been the focus of so much of my writing energy, and a place where I have been able to work out personal issues in a space deemed safe by its very nature. So this transition from fiction to very personal non-fiction has been an interesting one, and, I have to admit, a little too exhausting for me. I’m a people pleaser, and it’s easy for me to internalize needs all too easily. The need to continually share one’s private wounds, especially in regards to something as personal as gender expression and sexual identity, is something I feel compelled to do by virtue of the responses I receive that tell me it is a great help to them, but ultimately is probably not the healthiest for me.

On another hand entirely, I just don’t feel comfortable taking up space with my privileged perspective anymore. In terms of queer politics, there is a lot to be said for masculinity taking up queer spaces, and certain voices being allowed to speak when others are silenced. I have discussed it before, and I stand by my belief that certain ways of doing masculinity allow certain bodies the ability to navigate the world easier than others. I do genuinely believe that there needs to be a space for masculine-identifying people in the queer world to come together and discuss their identities, specifically those who identify as “butch.” Butch is a term that has had such a strong historical and social connotation, often as negative as it is positive or neutral, and placing the label on oneself seems to be an act that requires a great deal of self-examination. I do believe that we need to foster a community within ourselves because every time I have gone looking for butch community, it isn’t there. Somehow we have internalized that we do not need to discuss certain issues, especially those involving vulnerability and emotions and the constant system of checking oneself that must go hand in hand with masculinity. Calling myself butch is simultaneously empowering myself and devouring myself – I have to break down all of my actions now that they are the actions of a butch, of a masculine body, of a white queer body, of a body that experiences certain privileges. I try constantly to be aware of those privileges, and as a result, I’ve realized that my recounting of my white AFAB queer experiences is taking up space that so many other voices could be filling. And I find those voices extremely essential, extremely compelling, and in need of a space. So why not make this column that space, rather than use it to confront my own issues?

The most important question I can ask, then, is what do you want from Butch Please? What do you want to see in this space? Your voice as the community should be integral to how we develop the community itself, and I want this to be a place where we have important discussions and make positive changes and hear from the people whose voices are so essential to this movement. Would you like to see weekly spotlights from a multitude of butch perspectives? Would you like to have open threads with topics of discussion that can allow everyone to converse and add their own voices? Let’s talk in the comments about the best place to move forward from here.

All of this said, you have been an absolute pleasure to write for, and I love you all dearly.

Best,

Kade

Avatar of Kate

Hard-lovin' butch made of tears, sweat, and spit, in that order. Professional lonesome polecat. Kate is living proof that you can take the hillperson out of the mountains, but she's still probably going to run back to the mountains anyway. Kate prefers the trashy to the classy, and the tender to everything else. Full-time writer, part-time lover. Heart got so big and soggy that she had to cut off all her sleeves.

Kate has written 124 articles for us.

95 Comments

  1. Thumb up 9

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    I have loved your column, and i admire how personal it is. I don’t think i have the guts to share so much of myself with strangers.
    And though i don’t identify as butch, and usually not as anything masculine of center, i am constantly searching for how exactly i do identify, and so this examination of butch identity has been wonderful for me.
    Last week, i was talking with a couple friends (who i met through a-camp) about this, what androgynous is, what femme is, and where do those of us who don’t feel right in any of these categories, where do we go?
    So i’d love more of someone else’s perspective on that.

    (to be more specific, we talked a lot about how androgyny seems to be something really precise in body type and aesthetic (the shane), and how does someone who doesn’t fit that but also is not femme or butch or even hard femme or soft butch, how does someone else in this place identify?)

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      OMG YES. This is how I feel. I think one of the reasons I love love bomb girls so much is because I feel like Betty comes closest to how I view my gender. Perhaps if it were a more accepting time she would be butch, but maybe not, we don’t know. I just know that she can’t really be butch because of the time period and so wears what she needs to wear, which is kind of as butch as you can be while still passing as femme. She is by no means androgynous, though. Anyway. The point is that I don’t identify with as butch, femme or androgynous, and would also love someone’s perspective on something like that as well. Maybe someone who has it more figured out than I do.

      • Thumb up 3

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        i also don’t identify with any particular gender/queer subset. however, i start to wonder how helpful these labels/identities are in our efforts to foster community.

        those who don’t feel aligned with the butch, femme, etc. identities often feel excluded or peripheral. As though, they are not as well defined as individuals.

        It seems as though we are on a never-ending search to further distill our identities. the more we can figure out exactly who/what we are, the more that can be reinforced by finding other people that are like us. We turn to others to define ourselves.

        i understand this inclination, and see in manifest itself in my own life and connection with others. i don’t have any sort of lesson or advice around any of this, but i have certainly been thinking a lot about it.

  2. Thumb up 6

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    Kade,

    Your posts here on Autostraddle have been my saving grace since I started reading a few months ago. I want you to know how much of my heart you are able to put into words, as if you completely know every detail of my life, and are able to eloquently put those experiences into beautiful sentences that actually make sense. I am going to be sad to see those posts go.

    I hope you stick around, and that this space can turn into an even bigger revolution for all.

  3. Thumb up 9

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    I’ve really enjoyed reading Butch Please and have admired how much of yourself you have put into it. It would be so intense, too intense, for me to dive down that deep into myself and then bring bits up to the surface to show the world. So I really admired that you were willing to do that. Thank you.

    Annika and Sebastian did this cool thing where they let people ask them questions about being trans and then they would answer them in a post. I think something like that would be cool, a butch panel discussion, fielding questions from readers. You could decide whether you wanted like two or three people answering a lot of questions. Or whether you wanted to go for a diversity of voices but maybe fewer questions. Butches from all walks of life.

    I used to think I was femme because I look ‘feminine’ but I have come to realise that butch / femme are not really identities I relate to at all. So it’s interesting to hear from and engage with people who strongly resonate with them, especially butch, which is furthest from my experience.

    • Thumb up 1

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      I second the Q&A/panel format idea, that was always interesting to read with Annika and Sebastian! (That is, only if you’re feeling up for it, I know I wouldn’t necessarily want to be subject to prying questions from everyone on the interwebs.)

  4. Thumb up 9

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    I definitely think you should continue writing this column about your own experiences, but switch off with people writing from differing perspectives(Trans*, POC, etc.) Regardless, I love the first person narrative and I love that I am able to relate with such intimate things. Even if I can’t relate all of the time, I really enjoy your writing and your honesty.

  5. Thumb up 12

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    I don’t know what to say though I feel the need to say something.

    I don’t think I’m what anyone would call butch. Still, I’ve grown up being way too much of a tomboy to my not-so-little-but-way-too-conservative town and have experienced several microagressions through my 16 years of life.
    Your column always brought me so many feelings. I always thought you were so brave, so true. You don’t know me and here you are, verbalizing secrets that have always been so deeply carved in my heart.
    This is one of my favorite things on Autostraddle. I had never commented on it, but I just couldn’t read this one and not say something. Though it’s like I said before, I don’t really know what to say.

    After all you did for us by writing this and making so many of us feel like we’re not so fucking alone… I think I can honestly say: all we want is for you to feel good. Like, really, from the bottom of my baby dyke heart. So whatever you all decide to do on Butch Please, wherever you decide to go… I think it will be just great. As always.
    I’m going to stop now because I think I already wrote three times what intended to and I’m starting to feel extremely self-conscious.

      • Thumb up 5

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        I just want to affirm that I’ve really appreciated how I feel you’ve gone about listening and doing what you can or know you can to be appropriate and sensitive. It’s hard, and it’s hard because – as with this term, you don’t know what you don’t know, you know? I didn’t know that about ‘butch please’ either (though I’m glad I do now!).

        And yes, people should educate themselves about how to be more appropriate and a better ally to our friends. But sometimes we miss things – we DO slip up. I may not think to understand and learn the history of an ‘everyday’ GLBT-tinged phrase like this before I use it – there may be hundreds of phrases I use without acknowledgement or understanding of backstory. Oh shit. And how will I know which ones to research first? Do I devote an hour a day to academic understanding of terms? How do we tackle this?! (honest question).

        Anyhow. I feel you’ve handled yourself really well with making an effort to be sensitive and being open to learning how to do that better (as many of us- myself included are learning about). And I feel like you are trying hard to be constantly more on top of this stuff. I commend that.

        (end note- I say this as an able-bodied cisgender white gay lady. Others may feel differently. But I do feel that I see and read that you’re trying, and trying hard. And I think that is only a good thing).

        • Thumb up 2

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          Endnote: I’d like to just reinforce that I think that whitebread’s comment and the inherent suggestion is a totally legitimate and important one. Not disputing that at all! I think Kade’s way of responding to suggestions and articulations of how to be more sensitive and appropriate and inclusive has been pretty visibly marked with listening and respect, and I think that’s rad. You know?

          To use a painfully stereotypical Australian word,

          onya Kade.

  6. Thumb up 6

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    yo, i’ve commented to your columns before i so i think you know what’s up. as a sorta white, sorta butch 20 y/o, your words resonated w/ mine, and i’ll be sad to see you go. that said, i get what you mean re: different voices. i think ideally, i’d like to see butch please continue with a rotating cast. obviously, butch doesn’t just mean white and FAAB — i like to think you could easily put a group of people together of various ethnicities, gender identities, and life experiences, all of whom ID as butch.

    you’d probably have to do some interviews and shit, but. idk. i like this column. it’d be cool to see it mutate and grow.

  7. Thumb up 7

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    this column has been my favourite one on this website and from all the comments it has gathered i think a lot of people think the same, right? it’s like allowing me to read a personal diary and “compare notes”. that makes it very special and i’d hate to see the deeply personal element go.
    however, i see this has you anxiety-ridden and it’s awful. hope you find a healthier way to write the column and keep the same impact.

  8. Thumb up 5

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    I mainly want you to keep writing about experiences (it doesn’t matter whose or what they are). You have a great writing style that has allowed me to catch a glimpse into a way of interacting with the world that is different than my own; connect with it, even though I don’t identify as butch; and basically understand the world a bit more. Most topics can be interesting if they are talked about in the right way. This makes me think that I will get a lot out of whatever you choose to write about.

    Basically, I vote yes for any ideas that involve you writing more for the site and no to any ideas that involve you writing less.

  9. Thumb up 4

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    I think you know that everyone who reads your column has grown to love it, and at least for me, it’s changed the way we view ourselves and everyone else. Thank you. Wherever you choose to go with this is going to be great because you’ve already created something great.

  10. Thumb up 21

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    Of all the regular columns on Autostraddle, butch please has been the most intriguing and powerful for me by far. It vibrated with an authenticity that clearly was very taxing on you, and I am sorry for the inevitable haters and trolls that rankled you for that.

    Just because there are more representations of white, AFAB, masculine perspectives in the queer community does not mean you shouldn’t write, or that your experience is any less valid, or that you should move over. Yes, I think it is crucial to deliberately create space for voices that have been and remain marginalized. But that is the role of the editors, of AS as a whole, which does a good job of being cognizant of the need for this space. It is not the role of your column to do that. It is your role to be one voice among many, to bring your experience forward, and you do it incredibly well.

    You present an authentic perspective that resonates with a lot of people, butch and femme and both and neither and in-between alike. It is particularly valuable coming from you, because though you may have a list of traits that could perhaps be labelled as ‘overrepresented’ in the queer community (though I think making those claims is really just an insidious way of playing Oppression Wars, which is just the worst), you are well aware of the limitations of your perspective and the privilege inherent in it. You make sure your readers are aware of it too, which is an incredibly powerful (and empowering) thing.

    To lose your nuanced, insightful perspective in the form it has come thus far, and the stories you want to share, would be a tragic thing for this queer community, no matter what boxes or categories we do or do not fall into.

    That being said, your mental health comes first, above all. You do you.

    (I will give you one piece of unsolicited advice that was told to me when I first started in the freelance writing game. If you want to remain sane, never read the comments on your articles. Any of them. Not even this one. I’m not particularly good at sticking to it, but it is good advice.)

    • Thumb up 5

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      “You present an authentic perspective that resonates with a lot of people, butch and femme and both and neither and in-between alike. It is particularly valuable coming from you, because though you may have a list of traits that could perhaps be labelled as ‘overrepresented’ in the queer community (though I think making those claims is really just an insidious way of playing Oppression Wars, which is just the worst), you are well aware of the limitations of your perspective and the privilege inherent in it. You make sure your readers are aware of it too, which is an incredibly powerful (and empowering) thing.”

      Kate does have an interesting voice. What makes Kate’s voice important to me as a QPOC is that Kate knows that, Kate KNOWS that zir voice is (to be frank) “over-representend.” All this and Kate has this platform called Autostraddle express zir voice and that’s it. This. Is. It and maybe a personal blog or whatever. A lot of Kate’s criticism is based on the fact with enough research, actually take this shit seriously you find many, MANY queer white genderqueer voices, beautiful voices expressing a visceral , poetic outpour of their soul that is genuine, real and plenty. I speaking from my perspective see this all the time “white trans-macusline persons speaking about their experience, life and the everything”…well relative to QPOC voices.

      The level of AS for QPOC voices (which they are actively trying to incorporate) is just not there yet. It is really an issue if resources and outreach and interest, I get it and it is not Oppression Olympics, what one may see just a ” exploration of theory given to reading racism/trans*/feminism 101″ is someone’s real life. Speaking for me anyway, I’m not trying to have people of privilege rebuke their mother’s name, just be aware and sensitive and open to the fact that your experience is not universal. DO NOT FRAME YOUR EXPERIENCE THAT WAY!!

      But yes, I do agree about reading the comments on what you write, it is true!

  11. Thumb up 8

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    a lot of the criticism about autostraddle’s inclusivity is deserved. that being said, i think you do a really great job of acknowledging your privilege and dealing with your criticism, specifically when you make a mistake and apologize/correct it. and while it is great that you recognize that this is a fairly exclusive website, and it is good for you to try and change the part that you play in all of this, it is not all your burden to bear. lately there has been a greater diversity of work being published here, which is awesome and the reason why i’ve kept on reading autostraddle.
    anyways. personally, I think that a column that deals with an individual’s emotions and experiences regarding their gender presentation (while acknowledging certain privileges that they might have) is a great fit for this website. some of the criticism that you’ve received for this article sort of just boils down to ‘I don’t like it when THE FEELS are being shared!’ which is a legitimate opinion but doesn’t mean that everyone wants you to stop talking about your life. I don’t really have any suggestions for the future of this column (just be careful of the power dynamics if you’re sharing the stories of others), but I hope everything goes well, and that you know that many people (myself included) really appreciate and have benefited from you sharing your experience here. it makes us feel like we’re not alone. so thank you for all of your previous columns.

    • Thumb up 3

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      Yes! This comment. I deal with my privileges and get checked on it but I “keep on truckin!!’” I’m just wiser about it and more aware. No one is perfect and I just love that Kate is not so fucking defensive about it.

  12. Thumb up 1

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    Kade,
    I do not challenge your feelings in relation to pouring your heart out. Sharing can be exhausting. Going to those places within ourselves that continue to challenge us can and will take us to some dark places. I can empathize with the potential paralysis that could ensue. I do however politely wish to suggest that rather than occupying this space, perhaps you assist in the transformation of this space. Much like turning the soil and tossing in some seeds. Through this column you create a space for interplay, communication, and exploration (I could go on for days here) between those who may not have initiated dialogue on their own. Thank you.

  13. Thumb up 6

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    I usually try to stay away from this kind of, hm, issue. I know I have neither life experience nor any kind of social knowledge to be able to say something that won’t sound stupid.
    Plus, living in a South America country is very different from living somewhere up in North America or Europe, or Australia for that matter. Someone who’s considered privileged here – example, me – wouldn’t be in any other of these places (in some aspects of course. I’m still a cis woman, but while I’m considered “white” here, I wouldn’t be in any other country). So I never really found myself fit for this kind of discussion. I still don’t.
    But it seems to me (from lots of comments I’ve read in other articles) like sometimes people act as if only one person could talk, only one person could have a voice. Like, because I’m talking that means you can’t. I mean, why can’t we all talk? Every experience is unique and everyone is different and nobody is saying otherwise.
    We are all already a minority, if not in number but in voice (I won’t, of course, say some aren’t more than others). We’re women -cis and trans- and “worst of all” (as my mother would probably say) we’re gay (or however you identify, you’re still part of that rainbow).
    I’m really sleepy, so if anything sounded offensive I honestly don’t mean it. Really. I can barely type right now.
    I just think we’re just so awesome. Why can’t we all enjoy our awesomeness together? And really, just enjoy what everyone has to offer, in their own, unique, way?

  14. Thumb up 5

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    I just want to say that reading your column has, quite simply, made me feel better. I’m a nervous butch who’s new to the game and not sure what it means, that I like my hair short and my shirts buttoned up. I love your exploration of the ways that masculine presentation makes you feel–and of the fact that masculine presentation in no way stops you from feeling. Your column has helped me feel at peace with being a person who acts and dresses pretty butch, and still sometimes cries, and still really, really cares. The point is, I’ve loved reading your writing. Thank you for sharing.

  15. Thumb up 1

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    This has quickly become one of my favorite columns to read here!!
    And I really appreciate that you are willing to share with everyone some of you personal issues and thoughts.

    Sharing isn’t always easy. Sharing something that is personal and private is doubly hard.

    Reading some of your articles has inspired me to write out some of my own stories. I may not be ready to share with others, but the act of writing them out feels like a big step forward for me.

    So, thank you.

  16. Thumb up 3

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    I would like to be rather better spoken with this at present but I am so tired, so oh well!

    I would like to say that I have thoroughly enjoyed your writing. I believe you said ENFP? INFP here. As such, the theoretical meanderings, the introspection, the interplay and discussions of hearts and feelings.. I love that shit. (I’d be interested to know how many other NFs in particular felt/feel this way also).

    You articulated things I’d heard in a fresh way that I’d never heard before. You articulated some things that I’d never heard articulated before, period. I have a quote folder on my computer that is filled with things that are compelling and true; I usually collect just sentences and paragraphs from my source, but with your writing, I started with a sentence or a paragraph and then just took whole pieces. So much truth, beautifully said.

    You write beautifully, your thoughts are beautiful and by all interpretation you are beautiful. (I’ll perhaps blush in the real world at A-Camp one day having said that to a stranger on the internet but still).

    Look after yourself – a most noble cause for anyone – know that your words have meant a lot to many, keep some of your secrets and thoughts and self inside and air them if and when you are ready again. But know that you’ve done a lot already. Thankyou. x

    *forgive my poor grammar usage
    ** HUGS

    • Thumb up 1

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      The awkward moment when you talk about blushing and sign off with a kiss. hugs. shit.
      Tired.
      as in, ‘you’re one of my AS heroes of intelligence, insight and articulation’
      and a declaration of ‘I feel like I know you a bit because you hung parts of your soul on the internet clothesline’ internet friend-type love

      yes?

      good-o. WHEW

      Do yo thang.

      (okay time for bed!).

    • Thumb up 1

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      “I would like to say that I have thoroughly enjoyed your writing. I believe you said ENFP? INFP here. As such, the theoretical meanderings, the introspection, the interplay and discussions of hearts and feelings.. I love that shit. (I’d be interested to know how many other NFs in particular felt/feel this way also)”

      Hey, I’m also an INFP and “Butch Please” is one of my favorite columns on AS and I love Kate’s writing. I’m not MOC or butch at all (as I’m sure you can tell based on my username, lol) yet I felt like there were many ways in which I could relate to this column. It gave me sort of a bird’s eye view of what it’s like to be an MOC queer and as someone who’s on the other side of that spectrum I found it very intriguing and eye opening. Just my two cents.

  17. Thumb up 3

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    Kade, I love the way you write, and really respect the way you deal with privilege. I don’t think that fact that you are white and “over represented “should mean that you write less here.rather that the AS editors should search for more POC to write on autostraddle (not a criticism at all, I think it is bring actively worked on). The main draw of this column for me is your writing. Dr.’t stop.could you consider writing about slightly less personal things? Haircuts? Representations of “butch” in the media/films? A funny article about how to use strap on? But just write something! I’d love to see some butch-themed fiction, for example.

    But most importantly, don’t make yourself ill. That is really important.

  18. Thumb up 11

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    I would like to see the column (and AS at large) bring in older voices. Most if not all of the authors are under the age of 35. When I read the articles I see a lot of the typical struggles of youth being expressed in addition to queer struggles. While I appreciate the awareness that Kade and other AS authors bring, sometimes I feel like I have crossed a lot of those bridges and already addressed many of the issues because of time and experience as an adult. A certain comfort in my own skin, as it were. It would be nice to read articles that offer a range of perspective from those who are older and have identified as queer (whatever that means to them) all of their life or someone who is just beginning to explore this world. Perhaps they are raising children, hitting their stride career wise, or they are about to retire, or they are caring for aging parents who may not have always accepted them. What are their life lessons? Compare and contrast how they felt as a twenty-something and as 30-, 4o+-, something. I guess I’m looking more at the Ivan and Bear Bergman’s of the world. I realize that being a twenty something queer today is a whole other ball of wax than being a queer twenty-something in the 70′s, 80′s, and 90′s. However, there are new issues and questions that arise as my queer soul navigates this world and would love to see them addressed on AS.

    • Thumb up 2

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      I agree with this. Most of the columns that are written here are navel-gazy, introspective pieces. Which, there’s nothing wrong with that, because in my early 20′s I did a lot of that too. But it would be nice to have some columns about raising a family, or how to navigate a career as a queer, or other topics that are relevant to older people. I’d even love to hear more from Riese about running a company like Autostraddle.

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        I second these comments. It would be great to read more pieces that are less introspective and deal with a variety of “grown-up” situations that most of us will encounter at some point in our lives (career, family, etc.)

        Still, I thought that this column was always interesting and I hope that something just as interesting will follow!

      • Thumb up 1

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        I agree! I think part of the reason Butch Please never resonated with me is because my age of writing my feelings and posting them on the internet (anyone else remember LiveJournal?) has passed. I’m all for youthful introspection, but it’s not what I love about AS. I would love to see articles written by the 30+ crowd about things like re-locating with your partner, raising families, work life, issues that I deal with on a daily basis as part of becoming an adult.

        Would also love to see more articles written from a non-white perspective. I think everyone here does a good job of checking their privilege, but sometimes it feels like “hey guys I know I’m privileged but now that that’s out of the way I’m going to totally go off into my own privileged world in this article.” Yay for you that you’ve recognized you’re speaking from the dominant voice, but let’s go a little deeper than that.

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          dude, i had a DIARYLAND. then one day my bff jake told me about this new site livejournal where your friends could leave COMMENTS, so in 2002, i switched from diaryland to livejournal.

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        This was an interesting comment. I’m 27 and I do feel a little ‘old’ for the coming of age narratives that are quite common around AS. Don’t get me wrong, they are great and there is definitely a space for them here and a lot of people connect with them. But it would like to be nice to hear from people at different points in the life cycle.

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      I so agree with the need for some older voices, and I am way over the 35 years.
      But in saying that I am so hugely proud of the younger voices, that have opened up and written what it’s like to be out and queer, and what they are going through to become more comfortable in their own skin.
      There is much rejection and acceptance in just being female, and then add navigating that with being queer or trans, it can be formidable but not impossible challenge.
      Please don’t let those negative comments, knock you out of the written word that you love dearly, you do have an important voice, and should express yourself, regardless of who loves it or not.

      best to you, and your future writings.

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        I agree too, and it’s not just because I’m not 20-something. I love reading the younger voices too–(I’m looking at you Rachel and Carmen and too many others to mention). Good writing is good writing regardless of age.
        But the older readers are still around, the mid twenties ones are now 30ish, and we are probably all going to stick around, and Reise and Laneia are…what, late 20′s? I wonder what the plan is for content in upcoming years, I hope it’s a bit more balanced. There is room for everyone’s voice, and it can still be at heart a place for young homogays to have a safe space. I would like to hear the CEO and Exec. Editor’s thoughts on this.

        Finally: the poster referring to haters and trolls–I think there was one rude response, another said she’d like less ‘angst’ and I said I had mixed feelings about the last article but understood and accepted when she explained why she could write no other way. I wasn’t calling her out for fishing for compliments, either, like the rude one and I made it clear I felt that woman was out of line.
        I don’t recall a previous post that wasn’t given all positive responses. So if writing what she wrote caused her that much anguish despite 98% probably high praise feedback, then she is right to stop for her own well being.

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          i’m 31 and laneia is 32! our number one goal for this year is actually to attract more older readers and cover more topics that matter to grown-ups. seriously, it is written down in several places that this is our #1 goal. (#2 goal is also related to diversifying the voices on our site, obvs) our first effort in that direction is robin & carly’s series about being newlyweds, moving cross-country into a new home, furnishing/decorating and settling into adult-life (they’re 30 and 32). obvs that’s still a youngish story so we’re actively seeking older writers, over 35. one thing that really surprised and delighted me is that most of the trans* writers who replied to our trans*scribe call for submissions are between 30 and 60, and hopefully some of them will stick around and write for us regularly about a lot of things.

          my butch girlfriend actually said once that butch please reminds her of herself at 22 but doesn’t resonate now, which of course is nothing against this brave fantastic column, because it’s fucking awesome and so good and the comments on it make my heart swell, but yeah! what i mean to say is we feel you and are making efforts in that direction. and hopefully my gf will be writing more too.

          i know laneia feels like whenever she writes about parenting, that not enough people comment who are also parents, and then she feels like nobody cares, even though i think everybody really cares. part of the problem with me personally is that i’m in this weird limbo stage in my life between all these youngsters i’m surrounded with and the oldster i feel like i’m becoming. but my life is SO different from how it was when i started blogging. when people ask me to write more on autowin, i often think, well, there isn’t as much to SAY now. i was figuring so many things out then that i’ve figured out now. i know who i am now. i think also b/c this job keeps me in a youthful economic bracket, so to speak, sometimes there are Adult Things that I can’t speak to quite yet.

          but anyhow yes! we are on board and looking for new ways to speak to an older audience. honestly this matters a shit-ton to me personally as a human who hangs out on this website because i don’t want to age out of my own website.

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          on an unrelated-ish note:
          i don’t have any kids, but i absolutely LOVE it when laneia talks about her kids! it really really makes me happy, knowing that someone can interact with kids in ways that i, as a kid (at least that i can remember) wanted to be interacted with is out there, and so successful. so i really care, especially as someone who wants to interact with kids on a day to day basis (teaching hopefully), and as someone who might have children of their own one day. i feel like a lot of people feel the same way, and that laneia should totally write more!

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          yeah, def. I don’t always comment, cos I don’t know what to say, but I do really enjoy reading people writing thoughtfully about parenting. One of my parents, um, wasn’t the greatest and so it almost shocks me to see how much thought and attention people put into raising their little ones up thoughtfully. Making a mental note to at least thank Laneia when she writes about her kids.

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          this comment made me all smiley inside. thanks Riese. I started reading AS during the tumult of my early twenties, and I’m excited to hear that it’s gonna grow with me.

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          thanks for the feedback, I can’t believe Laneia feels no one wants to hear about parenting articles. Or anything in the world she might write. The lack of comments has me puzzled but then given how many read vs. how many comment might be part of it, maybe older readers/non members w kids don’t comment as they don’t feel a ‘part’ of this site re: demographics targeted. Although, there really is no excuse for not typing “nice article, I liked how you talked about _______” now and then. Hell I am typing w use of one arm right now.

          You’ve done a nice job with some things like Getting Baked that anyone can relate to, your ongoing coverage of politics, don’t think I have to tell you about Things I Read That I Love (honestly has caused me to be late more than anything else I do).
          I would like some first person articles from some older voices, not all in the same vein of ‘when I was a young homo I had to walk 10 miles in the snow to get to find a gay bar” although as I write that, I am struck by a conversation with my niece when she was in high school. She casually mentioned her gay best friend, how out everyone was, etc. I was thrilled by that but then not so thrilled by her overall opinion it was no big deal anymore. It turns out she was living in a bubble and thought it was like that everywhere. You can guess where I directed her.
          I get you with your comment re: autowin, and thanks for writing it when you did.

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          This is me not making a joke about one-handed typing, much as I would love to (I assume this is an injury and I hope you heal fast!)

          I have to agree that I’m 100% behind any parenting articles Laneia wants to write. I always enjoy them and I’m not particularly in the place where I’m ready to have kids (25, in grad school). So there’s that. And I do enjoy the relateable to everyone things actually basically I agree with pretty much everything mkr just said. Thumbs up.

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          Exactly. This may not apply to me right now but it’s good to store that knowledge for future reference. p\Please believe, if kids are in my future i will be searching through AS’s archives!

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          ALSO ONE MORE THING: it’s REALLY hard to find writers over 35 willing to write for free. we’re really limited by our budget w/r/t what we’re able to offer y’all… this actually applies to a lot of areas where our diversity is lacking. it’s a huge bummer, obvs.

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          Hmmm I hit the +1 button, but not cos I like the fact there are less writers over 35, just the fact that this is a very good point.

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      I second this! I would love to see more stuff from people who are out of their 20s, so as to see myself reflected more in postings here. I also would think that folks in their 20s might want to hear what it’s like to not be there any more.

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      hi! riese gave an excellent answer to all this already and she is obviously most well-informed as she is The Boss, but i just wanted to take this moment to remind everyone that ABSOLUTELY ANYONE can submit to Straddler On The Street, and i am actively looking for humans over the age of 35 to interview so that our readers (and the staff!) can all hear/read about things that the writers of this site can’t speak to personally (ie, marriage, raising kids, longterm career paths, retirement, etc — of course a few of our contributors can speak to these issues but we know most of us cannot yet).

      i know not every human wants to interviewed on the internet, but if you even have an inkling of a desire to do a short fun painless interview about ANYTHING YOU WANT pertaining to yourself/your life, i urge you to submit and let me interview you. i want the Straddler profiles to be a diverse group of voices, but i can only interview the people who allow me to interview them, ya know?

      if you’d like to submit to be a Straddler On The Street email me: vanessa [at] autostraddle [dot] com.

      (if you have no idea what i’m talking about, you can check out the column here: http://www.autostraddle.com/tag/straddler-on-the-street/)

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    reading this column has been very interesting, and i am glad (as a femme who loves butches) that there has been a butch voice on autostraddle. i think even though you feel your brand of queer is “overrepresented” in the community at large, it was underrepresented on this site in particular. i wouldn’t want to see it go!

    the one thing i was afraid of when reading the column – even though it has always been written from a personal perspective, etc. – was that there was *only one* explicitly butch/masculine-of-center voice on autostraddle. not that yours is not incredibly brave and valuable and helpful – i just wish there was more than one perspective on masculinity here.

    i think earlier commenters’ suggestion that the “butch, please” column involve butches from different walks of life, or gender identities, or ethnicities (or whatever variation) would be great. you could interview them maybe?

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    I always crave these articles. I love your thoughts, and they have really created space in my mind to understand things I never had the words or ideas for. My whole life I had been such a tomboy, and when I came out, I became extremely femme. I never really understood why, and a few months ago (after reading what you wrote) I began to understand that I didn’t like how it made me feel. I began to poke and prod at myself. I began to think about appearing more andro and it made/makes me giddy. I really love the idea of getting up in the morning and playing with how I represent myself. Thank you for everything you’ve ever written. You make me feel stronger, happy to be masculine and feminine, and I only hope it’s not at a loss for yourself.

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    I’d love to see (I don’t know if it’s already here) a post about when you came out and if you ever had any trouble accepting your sexuality / butchness. Also, and maybe not on this section, it’d be great if autostraddle would add a definition of all the different lgbt words (eg femme )

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    I’d really like to see all the different perspectives of the community. Whether it be your own writing about the subgroups that exist, or maybe having guest writers “represent” each subgroup.

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    I think opening up a space for guest writers would be awesome. I think the butch community has a great need for this sort of expression – internalized ideas about masculinity from the straight world into queer communities needs some serious un-doing, for the sake of the masculine among us and the not-masculine who suffer because of it. This kind of personal writing touches deeply, right at the spot where it is so needed.

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    Hey Kade!

    I’ve been a lurker for a few months and this is my first comment ever!

    You put a lot of your personal self into this and if it’s starting to wear at your mental health then by all means stop! HOWEVER, I don’t want to lose Butch Please for the sake of “inclusiveness”. I really enjoy reading and relating to your life. I like knowing that I’m not the only person who takes hours to draft a text or turns down invites because of anxiety or has a serious problem with sharing personal info with others (offline). It took me three years to tell my own(technically half)sister that my father died and I only told her because her dad died! LOL

    For the record, I’m femme, black, had “underprivileged” upbringing and I appreciate/relate to a lot of what you’ve written here. I believe that’s it both personal and accessible. If this column morphs into a Q&A panel with a diversity of people(as it’s been suggested), I personally wouldn’t be attracted to it anymore. If you replace one white,cis gendered butch with a string of “diverse voices”, would that be equal? Nope! I believe that would cause the diverse voices to have their stories/experiences be diluted in a sense.

    I do agree AS could definitely use more diversity but for now I will continue to checkout it anyways because my ability to find meaning in someone else’s life has nothing to do with their race, gender, or sexual orientation. I can relate to any human on some level. The goody bag comes from having offerings that are in depth and personal enough for that to get through!

    If you can no longer write for BP, I hope that it at least stays within the same format of being written by the same person for multiple posts.

    Best to you!
    Sunshine

    PS: AS needs a glossary or something! I’m not studying anything close to liberal arts so when I first got here I was like wtf is a FAAB/QPOC/microagression/heteronormative/etc.

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    Butch Please is my favorite part of Autostraddle. I don’t identify as butch, but I always appreciate what Kade has to say. I like the combination of intellectual and personal perspective.

    Kade, if you don’t want to take the space (which I feel you are totally entitled to), to talk about butch issues, please write more columns about your thoughts on other issues.

    Some suggestions: clothing and haircuts as a tool for conveying identity, coming out in a workplace, weddings/marriage, high rates of addiction in the queer community, religion, outsider status…

    Thanks for all your words, and for sharing yourself with us.

    If you write somewhere other than Autostraddle, let me know so I can go read it!

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    I loved your writing very much and it’s a pitty you stop doing this in first person. It was very interesting to read them.

    What I want from you, but more from autostraddle as a website, is articles (first person) about people who are queer (in some way)and are not American/Canadian. Lot’s of people read this website from all around the world and it would be nice to see some of their stories here too. Also from people who are from non-english speaking countries.

    Not to complain btw. autostraddle is so awsome and I don’t have a website in my own language that is so eloquent and intelligent as autostraddle on queer matters. And I think thats the reason that people from all around the world read this website.

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    Finally.. Please write something that will give the reader joy and inspiration.instead of a hopeless and depressed feeling like your previous articles. Because being queer is not about feeling depressed and fucked up, but about living how you want to.

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    Kate,
    You’re an excellent writer and an important voice, not only as an individual but as a representative of a larger community. I would be sad to see the end of your Butch Please columns.

    How about combining your voice with guest writers / readers? Could you feature / interview other compelling people in your column? That way you could balance sharing your personal story with getting a larger story out.

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    There are lots of comments, so I hope you get to mine…
    Your column has moved me to tears a few times, and is one of the few regular columns I really enjoy currently on Autostraddle. I hope you continue. As a femme frequently fallen for butch/boi/masculine-of-center lovers, I appreciate the deep introspectiveness that you’ve been providing. I want to know the inner workings of the butch mind and feelings, several of your columns have given me insight into those of my current boifriend. If you’re looking to expand upon what you’ve been doing, perhaps writing about other butches, past and present, would be a good alternative. But truly, I’ve loved what you’ve been doing so far. Not every butch can articulate in words the revelations you have here. They need a voice to represent them, why not you?

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    I like this “round table” idea maybe even interviews/POV type pieces with other butch identifying women? I sometimes feel like as the queer world has become more transpositive (which I fully support) the butch is becoming less visible that once one steps too far towards that M in a MOC direction it becomes almost expected that a gender transition is the next “obvious” step. Butch Please and other features that show a positive butch identity IMHO allow for a place for this particular spot on the gender spectrum to shine.

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    I’d like to see stuff from pretty much the entire gender spectrum–butches, femmes, FTMs, MTFs, etc. Just sort of answering the question, “What is gender?” Because that’s a question that nobody really asks. People talk a lot about gender roles and gender expression and gendered interaction, but nobody talks very much about what gender itself is and how people identify their own genders.

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    Kate,

    Thank you for writing all that you have here. It has helped me, but I never decided to comment before because I would have been reiterating what other people said over and over again redundantly about the articles’ excellence. If you need to stop for your own health, please do so–you as a person are more important than your writing (unless, I mean, you think otherwise).

    As for making space for other voices:

    “Your playing small does not serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do.It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same.”

    That was Marianne Williamson, who had lots of privilege and didn’t acknowledge oppression in many ways, but in this space I think it has truth. The internet has a fair bit of space–and if people want to read a different perspective, they will. The fact that you actively look for people who are more marginalized than you makes me doubt that you would be doing anything besides giving others a place to start from. That said, the universe has been ridiculously unfair in my favor–I’m able-bodied, white, and generally well-off–so take that into account.

    Also, I would really like to see a collection of other sources of writing about butches (and other genders/identity groups/I don’t know the pc language that I should use here but wish I did). There is a lot of presupposed knowledge that is bandied about on this site, and it would be helpful to rookies and non-women’s, gender, and sexuality studies majors if there were a page with “the classics” to read. Even if they are only classics because everyone disagrees with them now, it’s really helpful to at least know the titles. And while older folks may not write for free, many have written things that are accessible. Whether they are public domain or places to buy them, I’d like to see that.

    Also: while making space for those who do not fit a mold is of utmost importance, please do not ignore the celebration that comes when for frakking once we find a label that we can champion. I am a butch and the sense of belonging and pride I get from that burns fiercely enough to make every bad thing that comes with non-normativity worth it. If I ever put someone down for not belonging, please punch me in the face–but I will not belittle the importance of community with those who resonate along the same wavelength as me.

    If you’ve read this far, thank you for putting up with me. And again, thank you for all you have done already.

    DFTBA,
    Bear

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