In 2014, Vanessa Urquhart wrote an article about still being a butch lesbian even though, as she says, being a butch lesbian is “increasingly old-fashioned.”
I don’t know who the fuck decided that being a butch lesbian is old-fashioned—well, okay, fine, I do know. Butch lesbians defy patriarchy both by being gender nonconforming and by loving other women—so obviously they had to be rebranded as old-fashioned or “ugly” by people who seek to uphold patriarchy. (Although, if you ask me, butch lesbians are the hottest women imaginable.) According to the new-fashioned sparklequeers, anyone who is masculine is a man, and only patriarchy-compliant women are women, so obviously butch lesbians are just trans men who are in the closet about being trans.
Urquhart made some excellent comments in this article and she said some things that made me cringe. One excellent comment was “I’ve felt hungry, happy, gassy, and anxious, but never male or female.” Same here! Male and female aren’t feelings—they’re biological classifications of the two types of reproductive functions in sexually dimorphic mammals—one who produces sperm, the other ova. It’s how we reproduce. We all know this.
And then there’s this:
“This is especially true because cis-gendered women have a distinct tendency to define themselves in ways that don’t include me. I hear women throw out things like, “As women, we all know how important it is to feel pretty,” or “We, as women, are naturally more tender and nurturing,” statements that never seem to include women like me. Not only do I dislike feeling pretty and prefer arguing to nurturing, I don’t even particularly like eating chocolate. Popular culture, and women themselves, often imply that I lack many of the most essential qualities of womanhood.”
Oh, gawd, why??? No, women don’t all think it’s important to feel pretty! Fuck feeling pretty! I have short hair that I do not style, I do not wear makeup, my leg hair is full grown, and my clothing style consists of whatever pair of jeans and T shirt is hanging around close by, whether clean or dirty. I am a woman. This shit about being tender and nurturing and pretty is a bunch of sex stereotypes. Not all women are Mary fucking Poppins. Nobody should be making the above statements about women, not only because they exclude lots of women, but also because they are fundamentally sexist.
By the end of this article she comes to a wonderful conclusion, which I can agree with:
“But, it’s just as important that young people, girls and boys and genderqueers alike, can have as many examples as possible of men and women who don’t conform to gender stereotypes. I like to think I’m doing my part for that by living as an aggressive, competitive, logical, and strong butch woman.”
What a wonderful conclusion! Let’s make the word safer for gender nonconforming kids by being excellent nonconforming role models!
But then she wrote this new article yesterday: I Didn’t Know I Was Transgender. Um, what?
She says that she didn’t used to know she was transgender and believed that you couldn’t really change your sex anyway. In her old days, when she mistakenly believed she was a butch lesbian, she thought “maybe trans people were crazy, unable to accept reality the way I had,” and that they “mistook societal gender norms for natural rules.” In short, she used to be a TERF. You know, one of those people who understand how human biology works and who know that sex stereotypes are harmful social constructs. But now, she is enlightened, apparently, because she’s realized she’s really a man! However, when I read through her article, I’m still not convinced that she really believes this.
She was unhappy with her female body and when she was aroused she wished she had a penis. Okay. Well, most women are unhappy with their bodies—there is a multi-billion dollar advertising industry currently in operation convincing women to hate our bodies so we will buy stuff to cure the made-up problems—and guess what, that advertising works really well. Women buy stuff to change their appearances all the time. Also, it’s totally normal for a lesbian to imagine herself having a penis. I’ve written about this before. You can imagine yourself with a penis all you want, but you’ll never have a real one, and by the way, the things that two women can do together with their female bodies are quite satisfying and no penis is required, thankyouverymuch.
Now, does this sound like someone who is sure she’s a man?
“I had discomfort with my body, sometimes severe and sometimes less so, but I never thought of myself as having a gender identity, per se, and to be honest I’m still not 100 percent clear what it means to have a “gender identity.”
“I still use female pronouns, and I have yet to change my name.”
Wait…she’s a man but she’s not sure what a gender identity is and she’s still using female pronouns and her female name? Won’t she die from misgendering herself?
And her wife is a “cisgender lesbian,” apparently. If she’s a man, then isn’t her wife straight? These facts do not add up. What I’m seeing here is that she still knows she’s a lesbian.
“The idea of asking people who experience dysphoria not to transition, when transition works so well, and when there is no other effective treatment that we know of, has come to seem unreasonable to me.”
No. Transition does not work for everybody. See the blogs by de-transitioners in my sidebar? See this post on FtM detransitioners who wrote a zine about reconciling with being female? See this post on a lesbian who is pressured to transition and ends up suicidal? Some women take testosterone and finally realize they are lesbians and stop taking it.
“I could probably live as a gender-nonconforming woman who wished she was a man, but why should I have to do that if I could live more comfortably as a man?”
I have a better question for you to ask yourself. WHY WOULD YOU WISH YOU WERE A MAN?
Is it because it’s easier to be a man in a world that hates women? Is it because women have to be sex objects and men can be humans? Is it because your personality and the clothes you like to wear and regarded as “for men” by your misogynist society? Isn’t the answer to this to say “fuck you” to the patriarchy and be exactly the woman you were meant to be, despite what society expects from you?
I say, why live your life wishing you were a man, when you can be a fantastic, hot, smart, sexy, wonderful butch lesbian who makes your lesbian partner very happy. That’s where the real joy is.