Monday, July 9, 2012

Butch Bodied Femme and the Man Nod

A few months ago, I was sitting around the back tables at QEJ with Amber, Jay, some interns and some other folks and we were talking about our identities. Other than Jay and our awesome intern V, QEJ has now and always has been staffed and run by an overwhelming number of femmes---male and female.

On this particular day, we were all chatting about our plethora of identities, and when it got to me, I outed myself as a femme. Amber looked up and looked at me and said, "Your femme identified?"
And I responded, "Have you met me?"

For years, I have identified myself as femme. In Minneapolis, I was an early member of the Femme Mafia (sigh how I miss my hometown femme posse), and I have written about and spoken about what it means, for me, to identify as femme. Not since my twink days (see my recent blog post with pictures from that era), though, have I had a body type that is often associated with femme boys. To be clear, femme boys are often either thought of us very skinny types, the twinky femme, or the big girl femmes with large and in charge fierce bodies. But as my body has become more and more stereotypically "masculine," I have had to out myself as a butch bodied femme more and more and then explain what that means.

Here I go again.

I was raised, largely, by a single Mom, with an amazing step-Mom, and all of the most significant influential people in my life have been women. When I moved from Duluth, MN to Kansas City, MO and the kids in the neighborhood would form step lines, the guys never wanted me, so I learned how to step girl style. When I came out, it was into a fierce community of queer women at Warren Wilson College, and I was often proud to be the only boy ever invited to Girls Night Out with the hot Atlanta lesbians at Wilson. While, I do not carry myself in what many folks consider a stereotypically "femme" manner (which is problematic in and of itself)...the fact of the matter is that I am femme through and through with femme sensibilities, femme tastes, and femme expression in so many ways.

It just so happens that the men in my family are all broad shouldered with thick legs and bubble butts. It's a burden, but I will gladly bear it.

What is even more interesting, is that in my mind, I am clearly a femme and I am floored every time a straight woman flirts with me. I think I scream....HEY GIRL HEY....with every step.  But recently...I have crossed into new territory. Because of my body transformation and my size, now the straightest of the straight guys give me the "nod." That secret and mystical "what's up" head nod that says...."you are one of us." When the big ripped manly men trainers at the gym started doing it, I knew I had crossed into some new and strange and alien territory. Somehow, my body has transgressed and crossed over into an area of masculinity to which I have never before had access, and it makes me giggle my ass off. That somehow, the fact that I can lift a certain amount of weight or have a certain body type gives me stature in some primal, probably biological, way with other men is something that is absolutely fascinating to me. The trainers at my gym KNOW that I am gay, especially considering two of my exes also work out there and I have never been shy when it comes to PDA. But something in these men's heads has clicked on and they now give me a level of respect and recognition that I have never had from straight men ever.

Butch bodied femme is something else.

 I do have to say a shining moment came recently, at QEJ's major donor party, when the subject of femmes came up and my darling V came to my defense and proudly declared that I am a butch bodied femme. I just love it when the butches come to my aid. *swoon*

Gender, sexual orientation and gender presentation are a beautiful complicated mash day I will tell you of my insane love of butch bottoms....but that's a another blog. Until then....kiss a femme and appreciate all the work that goes into being just this fabulous!


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