Twice in the past week I’ve had friends say this to me – “it’s so funny that you think you’re butch”.  This comment is right up there with the standard exclamation “but you’re so pretty!” when I talk about what being butch means to me. Both make me roll my eyes. Both take me down a rung on the ladder of self-worth. Both are said with best intentions.

In this instance, my friends who think it’s “funny” are women of a certain age – over 45-50 – so I can imagine that being butch may come from a different era for them. I don’t know a lot about lgbt history, or even the feminist movement, but I know that back in the seventies the lesbian separatist movement cordoned off the butches into their own category and marched along without them.  I posit that these friends of mine, being fairly feminist themselves, might still harbor the antiquated guidelines (and internal prejudices) borne from that decade. Because clearly they don’t realize that by telling me they think the words I find powerful to identify myself are “funny,” they force me back into a box of their own design, and injure my self-confidence with their thoughtlessness. Not that either of these women intended to hurt me – but the double-standard never ceases to amaze.

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