Saturday, December 24, 2011

Shelly and Robin (Butch Sightings NYC) at a rock and roll Hanukkah show

Robin, butch sighter in NYC, says:

"Me and my pal Shelly Weiss of OUTmedia. Shelly talks me into going to events in which our collective age is more than everyone in the place put together. Here we're at a dive, Southpaw, in Brooklyn for a rock and roll Hanukkah party with kickass bands and some butch sightings but also the phenomenon that prompted Jenny's post about 'genderqueers." (see our facebook page for more details)

#183 Eli Rock Violinist from the Shondes

Robin in NYC says:

"When asked if he is butch, Eli said, uh ... no. I smiled politely and said, okay, I'm with Butch Sightings, just wondering. Shelly (see above) said, 'hang on, isn't Butch Sightings about female masculinity left of center? What if Eli is trans?' 'Shelly, we've had this conversation before,' said I, sighing. As Shelly and I argued (lovingly) over who is encompassed in Butch Sightings, Eli quietly said, 'I think I qualify...' :)

Eli is a rock violinist in a happening Brooklyn band called the Shondes. Shonde in Yiddish means a disgrace -- which is appropriate for a group of Jewish queers playing intense rock."

#182 Sam of the incredible pompadour

From Robin in NYC:

"I almost broke my neck getting up the stairs to Sam, camera in hand, before she got away. What a cutie! When asked if she was butch, Sam sort of gave me a wide-eyed, "what?" look and Jessica Halem, adorable radical queer femme comic extraordinaire, said, "It's for Butch Sightings! You are butch! Please."

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

#181 Ari (a mother/daughter butch sighting)

My 5-year-old and I went grocery shopping this afternoon and spotted Ari in front of the fancy foods in jars. She had big cuffs on her jeans over black work boots and a confident, easy presence. So, me and my kidlet did a joint butch sighting. I didn't ask Ari for any of her life details, but maybe she'll read this and fill them in!

Here, the adult perspective and the kid one:


#180 Hanukkah First Night Butches - B♀ Brown

B♀ is a very interesting cat. She spent 8 years in Federal prison for politically motivated bank robberies in the 70s in Seattle as part of the George Jackson Brigade. B♀ never spent more than two years in the same prison and when I asked if they were scary places she replied that "only the guards were frightening." Being with 700 other women was never a problem for this butch who knew from as far back as 5-years-old that she didn't want to grow up to be a housewife or mother.

B♀ has been a highway maintenance worker for 22 years. She's 64 now, and her "wifey" is a femme bellydancer. She grew up working class and is still working class and thinks dykes need to talk about class a lot more. I wholeheartedly agree.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

#179 Hanukkah First Night Butches - Ami and Frances

Ami is one of the most sincere people you'll ever meet. She's also adventurous - take the time she and her "wifeall" traveled across country with their then 7-month-old baby and two dogs to visit their marriage. They went to the 7 states and one district where their marriage was legal and chronicled the journey on their blog:

Ami says there is plenty of room for masculine women in the world and I couldn't agree more. Here she is with her daughter, Frances.

#178 Hanukkah First Night Butches - Alex

Alex was a bit shy, but very willing to be sighted (thank you!). She is single, into other butches, kink and has lots of skills, including baking both savory and sweet treats. Alex is 35 and hails from Reno, Nevada.

#177 Hanukkah First Night Butches - Stacy (resighting)

Stacy was first sighted down in LA. I caught up with her tonight and let me tell you, if you are a femme who wants to feel good about yourself, she is the butch you want to talk with! Stacy is not "in the market" but as a self-professed "femme supporter" she just makes a girl feel good.

I asked her how she found herself as a butch and she explained that it was part of her coming out process. She read two books that helped shape her thinking about herself and identity: Stonebutch Blues, and This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color. It was that reading, and moving to the Bay Area that helped cement her identity as a butch, and helped her get past the negative stigma that was often associated with the word.

#176 Hanukkah First Night Butches - Whitney

Whitney wanted to grow up to be an astronaut but then she took a science class in high school which she aced, but found very boring. She was a tomboy as a girl and if you look at pictures from Whitney's childhood you'll see her in "button ups and vests." Whitney found the Oakland Bulldaggers at the Butch Conference and felt at home. She's 25 and when I asked her if she thought butch was a dying breed she said that not too many people her age take on the identity - they might instead, and more oftes n call themselves "genderqueer." For her, buttch is the word that makes her feel most like herself.

#175 Hanukkah First Night Butches - Sasha and Anja

Sasha T. Goldberg is the facilitator of the Oakland Bulldagger Group, which she founded in 2009. She is an inspirational appreciator of life and butches, and a community builder whose made a positive impact in the lives of many; there's something incredibly powerful about claiming who you are and bringing others together to do the same. Tonight Sasha and the bulldaggers got together to bask in the glow of Hanukkah at Chevy's.

Sasha says she always knew she was butch but when she was a kid, didn't have a word for what she would be as an adult. She thinks she probably first heard the term "butch" as a derogatory comment. She found it to be anything but for her. Stonebutch Blues was the first book she read that talked about butch life.

I asked Sasha what it was like to show up with a group of butches - she said sometimes it's like the sea parting (wrong holiday, right desert). She doesn't mind.

Here Sasha is with Anja. Anja ("j" pronounced like the "g" in geranium) has a small gap between her front teeth that was caused by having braces as a kid and then not wearing her retainer afterward. She's glad because she finds gap teeth sexy (they look good on her, for sure). She rides Honda CBR 600RR Supersport. She has had many cars, but always wanted a motorcycle and appreciatets that it lessens her impact on the environment and saves gas money. Plus, you know she looks good on that thing!

(Sasha left, Anja right)

(Anja left, Sasha right)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

#174 Boxers Off: Butch Burlesque - Suri

"This is Suri who goes by Best Bites on FB and in the queer performance scene. Suri and Suri's partner are a hot couple ... of performers and young queers totally into one another! Lovely to watch. Suri strongly IDs as queer but is 'closer to the butch end of things.'"

#173 Boxers Off: Butch Burlesque - Judy

Robin reports, "Judy here says she is butch but really believe everyone is yin/yang and yin/yang is fluid. She owns a really cool housewares store in Brooklyn and travels the world stocking it. She gets called "sir" often enough and thinks that is just ridiculous but her friend pointed out that it's her butch vibe. She is a cool customer."

#172 Boxers Off: Butch Burlesque - Suzanne

Robin says, "Suzanne is a research librarian and she doesn't mind if I tell everyone that she is really shy. Shy butch librarian. It's a femme top porn story in the making. She came out in the 90s and knew she was butch soon afterward and has been a plaid button-down pocket protector butch every since."

#171 Boxers Off: Butch Burlesque - Lisa

Robin sighs, "Lisa, earnest butch into good things like veganism and environmental causes, recognized me ... from OkCupid. (I have to get off of that thing and lend myself an air of mystery.) Lisa lives in Brooklyn and is butch to the core, never been anything but, she says."


#170 Boxers Off: Butch Burlesque - Nicky

Robin laughs: "Asked Nicky, 'are you a butch?' She says, 'yeah but I prefer to ID as prince.' She performed at the butch burlesque that night and I have one word, HOT."

#169 Boxers Off: Butch Burlesque - Ariel Speedwagon

"Miss Robin loves Ariel Speedwagon. This is a butsch mensch if there ever was one. Ariel loves Butch Sightings and when I said that it's run by Jewish femmes, Ariel said, 'only Jewish femmes would have the chutzpah to do it!' cute."

#168 Boxers Off: Butch Burlesque - Drae Campbell

"Drae Campbell is a stage, film and solo performance actor. Drae stars in and wrote the award winning short queer film, 'You Move Me.' Drae also is this year's 'Miss Lez,' but agreed that 'Mister Lez' would be more fitting."

#167 Boxers Off: Butch Burlesque - Rudi (and Robin, NYC Butch Sighter)

"Asking Rudi, 'are you butch?' would be asking the obvious so I said, 'have you heard of Butch Sightings?' Rudi had not, (though many people at butch burlesque had) so after an explanation, Rudi said, 'well the femme has to be in the picture...for context' I said it was not necessary. Rudi insisted and then as our photo was being taken said, 'it's a chance to put my arm around a hot femme.' ::blush:: god. I love butch confidence!"

#166 Boxers Off: Butch Burlesque - Kelli Dunham

"Robin swoons over Kelli Dunham. Kelli is a standup comic, she says. But it's comedy with poignancy and the self-flagellation that comes from being an ex-nun. Kelli asked me what I thought of the shirt -- plaid and all. I was confused since a plaid shirt is a butch uniform. Someone in Montreal wrote in a performance review that Kelli had on a plaid 'flannel' shirt. She shuddered (in a butch way). She is no flannel-wearing butch but a very dapper one. I gave a big thumbs up to that shirt... and Kelli."

#165 Boxers Off: Butch Burlesque - Lea Robinson

Robin, our intrepid NYC Butch Sighter did us proud last night when she went to Boxers Off: Butch Burlesque, NYC. Here come all her sightings!

"This is Lea Robinson, the very masterful Master of Ceremonies and butch/queer event promoter. Lea ids as both butch and genderqueer and is a big fan of Butch Sightings (gave me a press pass! I love being so official)."

#164 - Mitra in front of Tom & Jerry's

    If you know San Francisco, you know that on a hilly street above The Castro district every Christmas is Tom & Jerry's disco holiday extravaganza with a huge 40' foot tree next to their house. My partner and our good friend and our kids all went tonight to see Santa and check out the amazing lights, moving toy Ferris wheels, trains and giant wrapped presents. There I ran into Mitra and her girlfriend, a very hot femme who used to do my brows (only I had no idea she was queer - it's so hard for femmes to "see" each other). Once I explained the site, Mitra was happy to be photographed (with her girlfriend's consent). Here she is, and a few photos of the amazing and wonderful gayer than gay Christmas display.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

#163 - Kat

I was running/walking on a sunny day down by the water when I saw Kat and her partner coming my way. I was a bit (very) abrupt in asking if Kat identified as butch - as I had to yank off my ear phones, and catch them as they were going the other way. I'm not the most delicate of women...

Kat shrugged and said she guessed, and yes I could take her pic. Her partner, who was wearing their adorable baby on her back, asked me why I asked Kat and not her and how I defined butch and put me on the spot. I asked her what she thought, but she wasn't taking that for an answer, since she asked me first. She said in a queer women's therapy group this comes up a lot as a topic. I felt that she was offended by my asking, or rather, by my pegging Kat based on appearance.

Here's the thing, appearance may or may not represent who someone is, but it's the best I have to go on until I interact and find out. And there are definitely butch signifiers. Some people "signal" butch and aren't. Many feminine women aren't femme. Some people seem queer and are straight. All this is true, and yet, I want to ask, I care about butch representation and outing myself as a femme and dealing with the boundaries (what is allowed/not allowed).

Anyway, it was another challenging/illuminating experience and I am very appreciative of them both taking the time to engage in the conversation and in Kat allowing me to take her pic for the site.

Here she is with the reflection of her partner wearing their baby.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

#162 - Bawdy Storytelling Presents: Blythe Balwin, Poet, Performer, Hottie

Tonight I had the eye-opening pleasure of attending Bawdy Storytelling in Oakland. I heard stories that surprised and moved me, and some that made me a little uncomfortable too. As a performance artist and writer and someone who often makes others feel a little uncomfortable, I appreciated that.

Here's a pic of Blythe, who is one helluva storyteller. Listening to her girlfriend crack up next to us was downright delightful.

Blythe, also known as Sparkplug, identifies more as andro than butch, although was very happy to be on Butch Sightings, and for that I am grateful. Thanks to Dixie De La Tour for putting me and my friend on the guest list, and thanks to @Reddivadana for making the connection.

Next month - Bawdy Storytelling's theme is Butch/Femme. I think you know what that means! January 11. See you there?

With Love for Ivan Coyote's Ability to See and Tell

Butches of Belfast, and then some

Monday, December 5, 2011

#161 Sam

Robin, ever the sighter, even in the winter when most butches seem to have gone underground, says:

"This is Sam. I was walking in the bank as Sam was walking out and she backed up and held the door for me. I gave her a big smile and thanked her (love butch manners), and then we both said, 'hey wait, I know you?' Turns out we both lived in Northampton, MA around the same time. We both moved to Brooklyn last year too. Sam said a femme found her as soon as she moved here. I said, well I guess you ID as a butch then. She does and I told her about Butch Sightings. 'Way cool!' was her response."

#160 Butchdaddy

Robin, who wears lovely dresses quite well, says:

"This is a different sort of butch sighting because the butch made herself known to me. I recently signed up on a dating site as Femmeandpoodles. In my profile I say that I am only interested in butches, (and I even give a little plug for Butch Sightings). You'd think between my moniker and my stated preference, I make it pretty clear that butch/femme is my culture. But still, I get women with whom I share a horoscope sign or who feel they can sway me to like feminine women or tell me their friends think they're butch'y'. So the other day I signed on to the site in order to take down my profile and there was a message from 'Butchdaddy' that read: 'Love the blue dress!' (from one of my photos). If you're a femme, I don't even have to explain why this is such a great message. Butchdaddy is in Florida and in a relationship but that doesn't matter because it was so nice to be appreciated by a proud butch daddy who knew that I was a real deal femme. So I thanked her and told her about Butch Sightings and asked if I could put her photo up and she said yes."