Must-watch film: Gender Troubles—The Butches

I finally got to see Gender Troubles: The Butches after a whole year of waiting! This film has been made available for the next two weeks for free as an International Women’s Day present! It can be accessed here.

Gender Troubles: The Butches is a documentary that interviews five butch lesbians on a variety of issues affecting butch lesbians. Here is the filmmaker’s statement:

“I felt a need to make this film because as a butch lesbian myself I have experienced so much isolation. I often felt that I was the only one like this. Growing up in a rural area I had no role models. I could not find a future for myself in the women in my life. Not in my family. Not among friends or at school. Not in the adults in my world. Not in newspapers, magazines, television or the movies. I was left to figure it all out by myself. I don’t want other butches, especially younger ones, to feel like they have to go through it all alone too.

When I moved to the San Francisco Bay Area when I was in my 20s after college I discovered others similar to myself there. I was relieved. But 30 years later I still find that many of the myths and stereotypes about butches like us persist. We are still battling for our right to exist and to be ourselves. Insults, insinuated or shouted, still occur. I continue to find degrading caricatures of people like me. Realistic and positive images of butches are still lacking in the media.

My butch friends had gone through many similar situations but we had rarely shared our stories, often out of shame. As a result we didn’t know how common our experiences were. And we had been under the erroneous impression that we each had to bear these burdens alone. My butch friends inspired me to do something for us and to acknowledge and appreciate our own lives.

So with the help of my friends, we made this film to validate other butches, most whom we would never meet, and to let them know that we know what it is like. They aren’t the only ones. We have been there too and they are fine just the way they are.

With this film I feel we are like the citizens of Dr. Seuss’s Whoville who shout all together
​“We are here! We are here! We are here!” so we can be heard and claim our space.”

I am so happy to see positive, authentic representation of a group of butch lesbians who are proud and happy with who they are. What a treat!

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9 thoughts on “Must-watch film: Gender Troubles—The Butches

      • I remember watching her videos years ago on Youtube while exploring the Youtube trans world. She seems like a really introspective person, and she has a few videos really early on in her channel about kind of “owning” her butchness, but she did go on to transition and I wonder why. I can’t really remember now, and I was solely considering trans then as a solution to dysphoria so I wouldn’t have paid attention to why she shifted her outlook. Somehow when people search for relief, they don’t really understand why or how they find a specific solution, and I didn’t then either.

        It would be helpful to have an entire Youtube filled with the lives of butches just like the FtM channels. “Week 73 as a Butch” or “Going to work as a gender noncompliant woman.” We don’t really have much visibility. I think for a lot of us, it’s hard to imagine ourselves really going through the little details of our often challenging and unique lives for decades just the way we are, especially when the dysphoria is out of control. Many of us are just internally in crisis mode all the time, especially before we find any kind of therapeutic help. More visibility would have helped me to at least know there was another option for how to exist in the world as this kind of person when I was bingeing on post-testosterone and post-top surgery videos.

        Thanks for posting this video. It’s so nice to watch. I hope many of us can pitch in to support these women and the director 🙂

        Liked by 3 people

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