My lady shared a post on Facebook a few days ago, “Yes, Some Lesbians and Bi Women Really Do Prefer Butches” and it evoked a lot of chatter. She’s always been a fan of women on the boi-ish/masculine side, and someone commented “Yet I would still say your other half is on the feminine side”. I replied that my lady was just amusing herself with me whilst she waited for Gepeto to find her a real boi.
I’ve worked with young trans and gender fluid ‘kids’ (because everyone under the age of 25 is now a kid to me), and there’s a lot of body dysmorphia and anxiety around the expectations (their own; socially applied; external) of what their body should look like. It pains me.
I’m lucky. From a relatively young age, I’ve always been happy with who and what I am. My lady has always been in relationships with butches (stone or otherwise) and early on in our relationship, I asked her if she was okay with “this” and I motioned both hands to me. Because I’m not one for boxes and labels. I am absolutely and categorically content with being a woman. I love being a woman. I love my body and what it can do, and what others (well, now just what one person) can do to it. I work hard in the gym (think headstand press-ups, upside down hanging crunches, and one handed press-ups) to maintain a muscular physique — one that is not typically feminine. I wear ladies tailored trousers and shirts for my meetings with the Ministry of Justice, and women’s True Religion jeans for gallivanting around the globe in. I wear sweats at home in the office. But I also wear braces (suspenders for US readers), waistcoats (vests), engineer boots, baggy men’s jeans, and I’m most comfortable in a vest (tank), comfy fit jeans that hug my ass, a thick leather belt, and big fuck-off boots. I wear other things, but these are the things I’m not allowed to share with you, dear Reader 😉
And depending on how I choose to dress myself on any given day influences how people interact with me. Someone can see my face in a photo with my lady and judge me to be “on the feminine side’. A Sky engineer can come around to our house, see me in a tank and sweats, see lady long hair making him a coffee, and prompt him to say “So, you’re the mannish one then?” A young transgender kid in a club in Manchester can chat to us and say to my lady “I wouldn’t have thought you were gay”, and to me “You’re kind of like Shane from The L Word…do you remember The L Word?” (Yes, I replied, I’m not so old that dementia has set in yet and stolen my memory).
Do I give a shit? Do I care what people I know/don’t know/will never meet again think or say? Am I offended by someone calling me feminine? No. Does it bother me when someone calls me masculine, and says I have too much testosterone? No, because none of these are insults—they’re just observations, based on perceptions, social norms, stereotypes, and media madness. No. I do not. Because I dress how I want to dress, and look how I want to look. And someone else’s opinion matters not a jot to me. As long as I’m happy with the reflection in the shop window, as long as my lady gets insanely hot for what she sees, no one else’s opinion is relevant.
This isn’t a regular state of being for a lot of people, and I’ve come to realise this. I’m pretty sure my confident state of being comes from being raised in a loving family. We didn’t have money, but there was a lot of love. Is that the answer, then? A stable, nurturing family situation, where you’re accepted no matter how you turn out? In my case, I’m all but certain that’s true, so I have a lot to be thankful for.
If only everyone had that chance…