What ever happened to Norah Vincent?
Maybe you remember her. She was a rather right wing anti-transsexual butch lesbian back around the turn of the millennium. She was the darling of the David Horowitz crowd back then. She wrote a book, Self-Made Man: One Woman’s Year Disguised as a Man.
Times change and she more or less fell out of the spot light.
We are never supposed to ask if butch lesbians have gender issues. Or if they are one of the trans-communities like gender queers, two-spirit, cross-dressers etc. In some ways their being butches, formerly known as bull dykes puts them in the same sort of semi-outlaw status shared by many other transgender people.
I used to kid about how there were two types of lesbians, bisexuals and men.
I know that is bitchy and not really true. Except it is. Many more lesbians than gay men have been in heterosexual relationships, married etc. That really makes them lesbian identified bisexuals like myself.
In reality the vast majority of lesbians are neither butch nor femme. We may not all wear flannel shirts, Birkenstocks and the like but we are often less likely to buy into the corporate pushed femininity.
We are all familiar by now with how TS/TG women are not all heterosexual after transition, how many are lesbian or bisexual.
The same is true of TS/TG men. Many of them are gay or bisexual men.
I think the same sex attraction of many TS/TG people post-transition might well be an extension of homosociality.
As the years go on and as it becomes more acceptable to come out as transsexual/transgender I think we might see ‘drag queens” and “bull dykes” fade into history. Settling into images found on the lurid covers of 1950s and early 1960s pulp paperback novels.
Trans could easily become the identity of those who would have settled into the role of butch or queen in a previous generation.
From She Wired: http://www.shewired.com/lifestyle/2013/09/05/op-ed-where-have-all-butches-gone
By: Roey Thorpe
In the company of lesbians of my generation and older, I frequently hear conversation about how much things have changed since we were young. And invariably, someone asks: Where have all the butches gone?
The question is driven in part by nostalgia, and in part by discomfort with what seems to have been a shift in the way young lesbians think about gender.
And the first question often leads to others: Why are all the butches becoming men? Why can’t they understand that gender is a social construct, and that women don’t have to conform to a feminine ideal? Isn’t that what we were fighting for — a world in which women could wear tool belts and neckties and do anything we damn well please, without the constraints of gender?
At its very core, this was the vision of the feminist movement, and lesbians more than anyone understood how transformative this could be.
Years ago, I asked the same questions, but today, this conversation makes me uncomfortable. Because I am of this older generation, I have seen things change — and not change — for a long time.
I have, in my life, loved many butches. My relationships and affairs have almost always been with masculine women and, more recently, with trans men as well.
In my experience, for as long as I have found myself in intimate circumstances with butches/studs/masculine-identified women — from way back when I was too young to be in the bars where I was meeting and going home with them — a curious thing happens. Once there is enough trust established, I become witness to a moment of confession. The confession goes something like this: “I don’t know how to explain this, but I don’t exactly feel like a woman. I mean, I’m butch, and that’s close, but honestly, I’m not sure what I am.”
Don’t get me wrong, there are many, many proud butch women who are exactly that: women. In today’s terminology, their gender expression is masculine, and their gender identity is female. They wear their tool belts proudly, and I am happy to admire the show. For them, a butch identity resolves the issue — if people have a problem with it, it’s their sexism or homophobia rearing its head.
But that experience is not everyone’s, and it never has been. Butches may look a lot alike on the outside, but they aren’t the same on the inside.
In the mid 1990s, as a grad student, I wrote about the lesbian history of Detroit. I interviewed 48 women who had lived as lesbians between 1930 and 1970. When I met them, these women were mostly in their sixties and seventies. Of the 48, four — almost 10% — said that if they were young today, they would transition their gender and become men.
Continue reading at: http://www.shewired.com/lifestyle/2013/09/05/op-ed-where-have-all-butches-gone