Autonatic #5: Nat & Tracy Straddle The Abbey, Suzanne Westenhoefer Talks Butch/Femme (VIDEO)

This week’s episode of Autonatic combines some of the only things we genuinely love about The Real L Word: Tracy and Nat Garcia. If Stamie and her pajamafied kids had been there, it would’ve been love-overload and we’d be forced to rethink our stance on children going to bars. Also it was only five minutes long. If they could condense The Real L Word‘s hour-long shitfests into 22-minute programs, we might actually really like it? And we aren’t Generationally ADD or anything. Like we read books and stuff.

Tracy and Nat take their beautiful, glowing selves to The Abbey — WeHo’s premiere lesbian establishment since 1802 — for drinks with friends, including comedian Suzanne Westenhoefer, who we love, because only an a-hole couldn’t love Suzanne Westenhoefer. She’s not labeled as Suzanne Westenhoefer in this video, but we have fantastic gaydar.

There’s some discussion of butch vs. femme and Nat accurately points out that Southern California’s version of ‘butch’ is like, way different from the rest of the world’s. Thankfully, though, no one used the word ‘futch,’ so we got to walk away from this debate with our dignity intact.

As far as Tracy’s problem of not having a term for ‘looking femme’ while participating in ‘butch’ activities, like skateboarding, we know what that feels like. May we suggest that Tracy’s AUTOSTRADDLING the perceived lines between butch and femme? Hm? Do you see what I just did there? That’s what we do.


Once again, big thanks to Showtime for filming, lighting, editing, funding, producing, hosting, and sharing this week’s episode of Autonatic which is also called More to L with Nat Garcia! We couldn’t have done it without you! No, really, we really couldn’t have. Because we’re not owned by a large corporation and we have no money and can’t even afford a goldfish.

kelsey has written 9 articles for us.


  1. I like to call myself a feminist femme. Not that all you ladies who shave your legs and such aren’t feminists. It’s just that I feel very feminine and beautiful, but it’s deeply in contrast with the heterosexual male [and therefore societal, blah] view on femininity and beauty.

    • Must’ve missed the [and therefore societal] bit.

      Basically what I’m saying is that I’m a femme, and I feel absolutely feminine and beautiful in my most natural state. And there’s more to that than hairy legs.

      • its all well and good when you just dont shave your legs, cause then the hair is soft and its not so bothersome, but when you normally do and theres stubble to rub up ons, thats not so fun.

        oh god now im thinking about mutual stubble and velcro and oh no

  2. Perfectly exemplifies what I hate about the scene in LA. What’s with the efing labels? It’s not like this in other cities. And yes, there are virtually no women at the Abbey except hags. Way too many hags.

    I gotta get outta here!

    I do love me some Nat, though. ;-)

  3. Why do we have to buy into this whole b&w butch/femme thing? Have we come further than mirroring male/female relationships? God, I’m so grateful for NYC and the lack of… this. Autostraddle that line and be whoever you are ladies.

    • Least in the circles i move straight relationships don´t generally adhere to that axis to any real decree.

      This is completely unconnected but when i was working today(i´m a commercial fisherman) there was this pack of killer whales hanging around the boat for hours(and a few hundred puffins but thats normal). Just thought maybe somebody would find that interesting.

    • You don’t have to buy into it. Nobody’s forcing it on you. Some people just like it. It doesn’t have to be a mirror of heterosexual relationships, either. I would call myself a femme and my fiance butch, but she cooks most of the time and I do things like fix the sink or put together furniture. She works from home so she’ll likely take primary care of the kids if we have them, but I’ll be the one to give birth. I have a very demanding career, so I’ll likely make more money than her. I wear dresses and heels and other things like that because I enjoy them. She wears suits and ties because that’s what she enjoys. She has no strong connection to her gender, but still definitely considers herself a girl. On the other side, I have a very strong sense of myself as a woman. Those feelings have very little to do with how we dress or what we do and a lot to do with a gut feeling. We take aspects of heteronormative relationships and re-appropriate them to suit our own style. We are both happy in what we do and how we do it. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. Just as there’s nothing wrong with not entering into a butch-femme relationship. It’s a matter of personal preference and the fact that we have the freedom to live the way we want to (whatever way) is a wonderful thing that we should be celebrating and encouraging in everyone.

      The issue I did have with this was the idea that an activity can be “butch” or “femme”. Especially one like skateboarding. Taking sexist assumptions about what is inherently masculine or feminine and applying them to queer culture is kind of gross. If you look and feel femme while skateboarding, it’s not a butch activity. It’s just an activity. Just like you can be butch while knitting a scarf. It’s just an activity. The whole idea of the butch/femme dynamic, as I see it, is being able to demonstrate and live all the possibilities that come with being a girl. To show that we can be masculine or feminine or somewhere in between and still do anything and everything we decide.

  4. its amazing the difference between there butch and femme to my cities butch and femme.. Im from the Midwest and NONE of those girls look butch AT ALL!! When i think of butch i think of a chick who you have to look twice at to decide if there a girl or guy… Now i am considered femme and im still way more boyish looking than any of those girls.. lol

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