Video: Butch documentary

This is an absolutely beautiful mini documentary about an artist doing a photography project on butches. Her name is SD Holman and you can find information about her project here.

She talks about butches but she also mentions her femme partner and how meaningful her support was. I wrote down this awesome quote:

“I was hoping that young butches especially, but all butches or masculine-of-center women, would feel the way my wife Catherine made me feel, which was disastrously handsome.”

Here’s the video:

Advertisements

Spirituality

The following fictional story is based on a lot of people’s true stories:

Matilda was different from the other girls right from the start. She preferred running around and playing sports with the boys, and had no use for dolls or tea sets. As soon as she could talk she started asking for her hair to be cut short and to wear pants instead of skirts. Her parents would frown at her and say, “But you’ll look too much like a boy.” Matilda didn’t know what was wrong with that. Strangers would frown at her say “Is that a girl or a boy?” Matilda knew it wasn’t really a question, it was just a statement of disapproval. The girls at school started offering to give her a makeover, but she refused, and eventually they started to avoid her altogether. The boys at school stopped playing sports with her, and began to either sexualize her or refuse to associate with her. Then the accusations began. “Are you a lesbian, or what?” Matilda hadn’t dated anyone yet, but she was already being punished for dating the wrong people.

Soon after the accusations started coming from her peers, they started coming from her family too. “It’s wrong to be a homosexual,” they’d say. “It’s clearly laid out in the Bible,” they’d say. “It’s not natural. It’s a sin.”

Matilda was already labeled a sinner before she had ever sinned. They told her “Hate the sin, love the sinner,” but they didn’t show her any love. They showed her hate. What had she done, exactly? To sin is to violate a moral law. Had Matilda violated a moral law by being different from her peers? Was it a moral duty to conform? They said “Hate the sin, love the sinner,” but they already hated Matilda, not for anything she had done, but for an inner nature they suspected she had.

Eventually, the accusations were revealed to be true. Matilda realized that the warm-and-fuzzy feelings she had always felt for other girls meant something. At adolescence they grew stronger, and they grew into romantic love. Matilda loved the way other girls looked, the way they talked, the way they laughed, the way they flirted. One girl in particular caught Matilda’s attention. She fell in love, and she wanted to take care of this girl, to give her everything she wanted, to protect her from harm, to spend her days and nights with her and to always be by her side. She exploded with joy anytime she was with her beloved.

She had finally sinned.

What is this sin, exactly? Is there a moral law that women should not appreciate and care for other women—creatures who are a part of God’s creation? Is it a moral law that women should not show their appreciation, devotion, affection, adoration, and awe towards God’s beautiful work? Isn’t love a virtue? Isn’t love the ultimate good that exists on Earth? Isn’t love a beautiful gift from God, and isn’t love synonymous with God? How can the virtue of feeling goodwill toward God’s creation become a sin because of the genitals of the people who are feeling it? What kind of God would create creatures who are capable of love and then tell them not to love each other?

Matilda asked questions. They told her, “It’s the act that is a sin. Fornication is a sin, sodomy is a sin.” They told her that she could remain virtuous if she didn’t act on her desires. Matilda understood that in order to not disappoint God, who is Love, she would have to hide her Love away and make it disappear. She understood finally what they were saying. They were saying that you have to obliterate love in order to please the embodiment of Love.

Matilda realized that they were full of nonsense, and they didn’t know the first thing about the God they pretended to know.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

I think that organized religion is a bunch of nonsense, but that doesn’t mean I’m not spiritual. I don’t generally write about spirituality on this blog, for two reasons. The things I do that give me spiritual purpose are real-life activities I engage in that could reveal my identity if I wrote about them. I also insist upon being an atheist and I worry that being spiritual would contradict that. This will be just a quick summary of what spirituality is to me, without getting too far into detail.

I have spiritual experiences, and when I say that I mean that I have things happen to me that feel existential, important, life-affirming, joyous, and hard to explain. The notable thing about my spiritual experiences is that they consist of feeling awe. They are personal feelings of wonder toward things that are beautiful, whether they are sights, sounds, tastes, or physical feelings.

Sometimes I find the word “miracle” useful to describe something that seems wondrous. I don’t believe that humans can walk on water, or turn one loaf of bread into a whole bunch of loaves of bread, or place their hands on a sick person to make them well. I believe in all the laws of the physical universe, and if something is impossible then it’s indeed impossible. But there are some things that are awe-inspiring and that appear to be impossible or inexplicable, even though they do exist. I like to call them miracles, to acknowledge the awe they make me feel.

Life on earth is a miracle. How a bunch of rocks and water gradually turned into complex beings who are aware of their existence and can manipulate the world to their advantage is awesome and inexplicable. We know it’s possible, because it happened, but we don’t understand how or why.

A lot of human accomplishments are miracles. I know that all of my readers can name plenty of awe-inspiring human accomplishments. Here’s my example. One of the things that has always provided emergency comfort when all hope is lost is Beethoven’s Sixth Symphony. Consider these amazing facts. In the year 1808, a German man drew some black marks on some parchment that represented sounds that he was imagining. Over 200 years later, people who never knew Beethoven and never set foot in Germany can still interpret the black marks he made as instructions for how to produce sounds on special objects made of wood and metal. Those sounds, when produced, still sound like the scene he imaged: the countryside, a river flowing, a community of peasants dancing, and a storm. How it’s possible that images can be represented by sound is totally beyond my comprehension, but there it is.

I’m guessing that most of us feel awe at one point or another, but I think that some people are more likely to feel it than others. I think some people spend their lives looking in the wrong places for things that are wondrous. Some people think that domination, power, control, material possessions, and outward appearance are where they’ll find meaning, but I think those people aren’t finding any. If you take away their power and material things, their meaning is gone. If you really know what meaning is, then no one can take it away from you, because it dwells within you, and it can’t be bought or sold or contained.

I think it’s legitimate to talk about a life force, or a source of love, and it’s possible that that’s what some people mean when they say “God,” but this concept certainly isn’t embodied by a supernatural father figure, and it can’t be experienced through obedience to rules. I also think it’s legitimate for a community of people to come together on a regular basis to explore the meaning of their lives, to sing together, to mark the passage of the seasons, to do good things for the community, and to teach positive values to their children. I might be tempted to join such a group if they didn’t spend a lot of their time also talking about mythical characters as if they’re literally real, because that shit is insane.

I think it’s legitimate to have personal felt experiences that are life-affirming and hard to explain, and it’s legitimate to think of those experiences as coming from a source of life or a source of love. What’s not legitimate is to require the people around you to validate your personal felt experiences, or to require them to sacrifice something on behalf of your personal felt experiences, or to create laws taking away rights from entire groups of people based on your personal felt experiences. That’s why I don’t support either conventional religion or the dogma of transgenderism being enshrined into law.

Sometimes people struggle with being both homosexual and wanting to have a personal relationship with a source of love. It’s sad that this is a struggle because it doesn’t need to be. The struggle is created by the fear and ignorance of human beings, and the desire to enforce patriarchy. Only the mythical father figure in the sky hates gay people, and he’s as imaginary as Santa Claus. The real source of love only knows how to love.

As with all other culture wars, there are extremists on both sides who get a lot of attention, and the middle ground is not necessarily easy to find. To a person who needs spirituality and who is coming to terms with being lesbian or gay, it might look like the only alternative to being holy and celibate is being completely anti-God. But there is a middle ground here.

To Matilda, from the story above, and to anyone else who wants it, I offer the following spiritual lesson.

Your existence is a miracle. Your body and all its organs that work together to give you five senses, mobility, and consciousness, is a miracle. Your mind and its ability to think, feel, and love is a miracle. There is endless beauty and love around you. It’s there any time you look for it. Whatever it is that makes you feel love is a blessing. That blessing comes from the same life force that brought you here. Whenever you feel love or awe, you are connected to the source of life. You cannot connect to this source by crude mechanical means, or by following dogma, or by accumulating possessions, or by gaining power over others. You connect to life and love by allowing yourself to feel awe and adoration for other creatures and for nature and for the miracles that you encounter. You practice love by caring for yourself and the world around you. You might connect to love by enjoying your body and other bodies. The source of life gave you a body and made it feel pleasant sensations on purpose so that you would enjoy having it. This is a gift for you to make your life enjoyable. When you enjoy your life and your self and when you join together in love with another person, you create and affirm the very love the universe is made of. Your love is beautiful, and it makes the world a better place. You have a limited time to spend walking upon this earth, and you should spend all the time you can living in a place of love and appreciation, and you should not spend any of your time living in fear and hate.

Let’s talk about who’s actually hateful and bigoted here

Well, folks, I am back from a lovely and relaxing trip and ready to address the stinking pile of horseshit that people crapped onto my blog while I was away.

I published a guest post by a woman who was harassed at the Vancouver Dyke March, and her harasser showed up in the comments to continue the harassment. It’s absolutely amazing to me that a harasser can get called out on his harassment and then decide that the appropriate response is to continue harassing. How messed up of a person do you have to be to think that’s a good idea?

Mr. Wanda Normous made a feeble attempt to claim that he hadn’t harassed anyone by reporting that he didn’t use a loud voice when talking to her. However, he admitted in his own words to engaging in the following behaviours:

  • “follow around to counter your hateful message until you took it out of the park with you”
  • “walk or stand immediately outside of your personal space with my terror breasts exposed.”
  • “I used two tools to evict you”

In these quotes, Mr. Normous has admitted to following a lesbian around and being in her personal space with the purpose of “evicting” her from the march. This is clear harassment and intimidation.

Let’s take a moment to discuss who is actually hateful and bigoted in this situation. There is a trans march and a dyke march. No lesbians are on record as saying they do not think there should be a trans march. No lesbians have attended a trans march to intimidate anybody. Lesbians have not tried to take over the board of directors of a trans march and kick out the trans people from the march. This is something that trans people are doing to the dyke march, and it’s happening only in that direction. It’s not going both ways.

Speaking for myself, I have been to a trans march. While I was there I just stood on the sidelines and watched. I did not lecture anyone about what they may or may not put on their sign. I did not select a person whose sign I believed was objectionable and follow them around in order to intimidate them. I do not believe I have the right to dictate to trans people what they put on their signs in their own march, nor do I have a right to harass anyone. I believe it’s acceptable for Pride festivals to include a trans march and for trans people to show their pride about being trans. I do not wish to stand in the way of this.

All the dyke marches in every city that holds them have been taken over by queer politics and are now hostile toward anyone who understands what a woman is and what a lesbian is. Comments from lesbians are deleted from Dyke March Facebook pages in every city and marchers hold signs that say things like “No TERFs” to make it clear that actual female homosexuals are not welcome there. The Dyke Marches now cater exclusively to men and bisexual women who agree with queer politics.

There is no logical reason why trans people need to be centered or even invited at all to a dyke march, since THERE IS A TRANS MARCH. A dyke march should center dykes.

What is happening here is that female homosexuals are being completely kicked out of Pride festivals; we cannot have our own march any more, we cannot even speak about our exclusion without being labelled bigots. It’s not just that trans people wanted their own march, which would have been fine, but they wanted every march to cater exclusively to them.

It is abundantly clear that the actual hatred and bigotry here is coming from trans people and is being directed at lesbians. Claims that lesbians are excluding trans people are complete reversals of the truth.

Speaking of lies, Wanda Normous wrote some real whoppers in the comments on my last post.

He has claimed that  “your desire to exterminate transwomen is plain” and that “you only care about hurting and excluding transwomen” and that “you’re just deciding for folks whether or not they’re women.”

Neither I nor the writer of the guest post gave any indication that we wanted to “exterminate” transwomen. In order for this alleged “desire” to be “plain,” we would have had to express it. This claim is purely a product of Mr. Normous’s imagination. Just for the record, no, I do not wish to exterminate anyone.

Neither I nor the guest writer has an interest in hurting transwomen. As for exclusion, I do think that transwomen should be excluded from the dyke march, however I do not think they should be excluded from the trans march. It’s pretty basic logic that the dyke march is for dykes and the trans march is for trans people. Having a march for each group does not exclude anybody—holding a march for each group is actually inclusion. Questions: If transwomen should be included in the dyke march, then why even have separate marches? Why not just make it one big march? And if trans people should be included in the dyke march, does this also mean that dykes should be included in the trans march? Why or why not?

A sign that says “dyke power is female” does not exclude anybody. It’s true that dykes are female. Stating a simple and neutral fact is not exclusionary.

Last but not least, the third lie mentioned above was “you’re just deciding for folks whether or not they’re women.” Nope! We’re not. Nobody can decide who is a woman and who is not. You’re just born that way. Nature and biology determine whether you’re born male or female. Nobody can decide anything about it. People can’t assign a sex to a baby any more than they can assign fingers or toes to a baby. Women are identifying the difference between male and female, but we cannot possibly decide it from our desire or will—nobody can.

I want to particularly highlight the following phrase from Wanda Normous:

“USELESS FUCKING TERF GARBAGE”

This is hate speech directed toward lesbians. Although Mr. Normous is very concerned that lesbians should not be allowed to represent a uterus on a sign because that is allegedly “hate speech” against him, he has no problem with calling lesbians “useless fucking terf garbage.” It’s very, very clear that Mr. Normous has serious misogyny issues. A misogynist and homophobic man who harasses and intimidates lesbians has absolutely no business attending a dyke march and he should be considered an unsafe person and banned from the event.

In contrast, I am a trans-critical writer who makes an effort not to use unnecessarily antagonistic language when talking about trans people. I never use the slur “tranny” and I even refrain from using the words “mutilate” and “delusional.” I believe in giving people basic courtesy and respect, in order to show that I am engaging honestly with issues and not just trolling. For a transwoman to show up on my blog and use this sort of disrespectful language when I have used no such disrespectful language toward him is very telling. Once again, the hatred and bigotry in this situation are coming from trans people and directed at lesbians; it’s a one-way street.

I did notice that Mr. Normous intentionally “misgendered” me by referring to me with male signifiers. This did not harm me in any way, because using incorrect grammar in a sentence does not cause people harm. I found it mildly amusing, but it really didn’t matter at all. However, I have to note that according to trans ideology, misgendering is “violence,” and so according to Mr. Normous’s own political position, he has committed “violence” toward me. Funny how the “violence” of misgendering only matters when directed toward transwomen; when directed at lesbians it’s not a problem.

The last point I’m going to cover for tonight is this:

“your narrative that women are only as good as their reproductive organs”

This is not at all the narrative that feminists present. It is a bald-faced lie to claim this. It is patriarchy that positions women as only good for reproduction and PIV sex. The entire feminist movement has been based on women’s knowledge that we are more than just wives and mothers and that we can do anything we want. Our work has been based on allowing us to control our reproductive capacity so that we are not reduced to our biological functions and can enter the workforce as men’s equals. To name the female reproductive anatomy does not reduce women to just their reproductive anatomy. Similarly, if I identify that I have ten fingers, that does not reduce me to just fingers, and if I identify that I have two eyes, that does not reduce me to nothing but eyes. This attempt at an argument is beyond pathetic.

Over and over I have witnessed transwomen behaving with masculine socialization (entitlement, dominance, and aggression), making ridiculously misogynist and homophobic statements, engaging in misogynist and homophobic behaviours, and telling bald-faced lies about feminists. I am absolutely not impressed and as long as they behave this way I will not be a political ally toward them. Although I would theoretically support some parts of trans activism, such as gender-neutral toilets and the right to wear the clothing one wants to wear, I cannot ally with people who are this hateful toward my demographic.

Over and over, transwomen demonstrate, with their own words and behaviour, that they do not resemble women in the slightest, and that they are particularly dangerous men. Feminists hardly have to call attention to the fact that transwomen are male; they do it themselves.

Anti-lesbian harassment at Vancouver Dyke March

This is a guest post by Katherine Jeffcott who attended the Vancouver Dyke March on August 5, 2017. She says:

I thought I would share my account of the dyke march in Vancouver, including pictures. As you know, I’m big on making women central in my feminism. So, I made a sign which stated simply “dyke power is female”. Here is me with my sign:

Well, we were marching, when this trans woman who was obviously a volunteer or a marshal, came up to me and yelled at me. She said my sign was transmisogynistic (because it doesn’t include male anatomy). Essentially the uterus offended this person. So she yelled at me, but one of my sisters quickly came up and put her arm around me, indicating I wasn’t alone. I kept marching. Meanwhile I was surrounded by other awesome women with amazing signs. Like this:

And this:

We weren’t saying anything against trans, we were simply focusing on women. Interestingly enough when the parade ended and we were in the park, this same trans person followed us everywhere:

They removed their top and followed us in a pink speedo where ever we went. We didn’t say or do anything to provoke this person. All we did was talk about women and female anatomy. Eventually I felt freaked out enough that my partner came and picked me up. I literally had shaky palms and was sweating. I was nervous until I saw my sisters with their sign that said Trust In God: Grumpy Old Dykes. Then I felt at home.

But my question to you is, what about women? Why are we being intimidated in our own spaces? What is it about our anatomy that is not acceptable?

What I love about being a lesbian

Today I’ve had cramps and bloating and I discovered a really good remedy for period pain is watching awesome YouTube videos of lesbians being lesbians. It makes me smile and takes my mind off the discomfort.

Here’s another video by Mainely Butch:

I noticed that almost everything she says about why she likes being a lesbian is butch- related. For example, she enjoys shopping for clothes in the men’s section and she enjoys the way straight women smile at her and the way men look at her when they see a beautiful woman on her arm.

The reasons why I like being a lesbian are not the same as this because I’m not a butch. I’m going to write about why I like being a lesbian and my perspective is both femme and feminist. I’m not sure what order these items should be in. I’ll write them in the order that I think of them but that’s not necessarily order of importance—these points are all important.

I love having sex with a woman. I did try sex with men when I was younger and it was boring and didn’t work for me. When I’m with a woman, she has a body that I’m really into and I love touching her so much, I can sometimes orgasm just from touching her. And she can bring me to orgasm as many times as she wants. I love that sex with women can feel never-ending, because you can be intimate in subtle ways throughout the day, kissing and casually touching each other, and then you can give each other pleasure in an unlimited way whenever you want. It doesn’t feel to me like we ever stop being intimate. And I love that it’s unstructured—you aren’t limited to specific roles or scripts.

I love having a “husband” who’s female. My partner does all the things a husband would do for a wife, like driving the truck, fixing furniture and appliances, etc, except she’s female. I love that I can live with a woman who can do everything a man can, and I love that we don’t need a man in any way. I love that she takes so much care with the things she builds and repairs and does a way better job than men do.

I love that I can go through my whole life not using any birth control. I don’t have to worry about the hormonal effects of the pill, or getting an I.U.D inserted, or being scared of pregnancy. I’m glad nobody is injecting me with semen and my vagina stays in its natural state all the time. I’m glad that sex is divorced from reproduction for me, and it’s just for fun and I don’t have to have babies.

I’m glad that my home is permanent female-only space. I can go home every day knowing that there are no men in my home, and I can display radical feminist books on my shelves and I can hold radical feminist meetings in safety and speak my mind and never have to explain or justify my beliefs to a dude.

I’m glad that my partner doesn’t think that certain tasks are my job to do because I’m a wife. We each do half the chores and what we decide to do reflects our interests and abilities rather than what sex we are. And speaking of household chores, I’d be really resentful if I had to do free labor in the home for a man. I’m glad that the time and energy that I put in around the house benefits another woman, rather than a man.

I’m glad that my partner knows what menstruation is like, so when I’m feeling hormonal she doesn’t make fun of me and think I’m crazy, she does helpful things and is nice to me, because she knows she has felt the same way.

A few points of Mainely Butch’s that I agreed with: women smell better, lesbians are powerful, women are better at conversation, women have intense passionate relationships, and women are smart!

The last point MB made is that being a lesbian is so good because it means being who she is. That was a beautiful note to end on and I feel the same way. I’m so happy to be in a gay-friendly area and to be able to live my life how I want. It’s beautiful!

The lesbian creation myth

Intro: There was a small conversation between two commenters here saying that we need a lesbian creation myth. Miep said that sounded like something I would write, and I thought, ‘indeed it is’! What I came up with is a story of the creation of life on earth which culminates in the creation of lesbians. It loosely imitates the Biblical creation myth while turning all the male-centered ideas into female-centered ones. Every radical feminist blog needs some Earth-Mother-Goddess-Hippy stuff once in a while, right? I am an atheist, and I wrote this purely for entertainment. It should not be taken as my literal beliefs–it’s just to make you smile. I very much enjoyed writing this, and if anyone else has a lesbian creation myth waiting to be written, I’d love to read it!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

In the beginning, when Mother Earth created life, she first made tiny organisms that could withstand the harsh conditions of her newborn planet. Earth was cooling and creating solid surfaces of rock and water, and the Mother’s fertile spirit moved across the newly-formed land and oceans, leaving bacteria to flourish. She was pleased with her creation, since there was something living for the first time in the barren landscape. Then the Mother commanded, “Let there be photosynthesis,” and algae grew, and it began to use light from the sun to make food.  Once again the Mother was pleased with what she saw.

The Earth continued to change, and eventually there was an ample supply of free oxygen. Mother Earth saw that her planet was ready for more advanced life, so she commanded, “Let fish fill the sea, and plants grow on land.” An abundance of new life covered the Earth. The Mother saw how successful her small animals were, and she was encouraged. She knew she could do even better. She changed the conditions on her planet again, so her first creatures died out, and then she prepared the planet for the next era.

When her planet was ready, Mother Earth commanded, “Let there be giant animals to rule over the land” and many new species of birds, reptiles and mammals covered the Earth. They were greater and stronger than the animals she had made before, and she was pleased with her creation.  Mother Earth enjoyed her creation for a time, and continued to introduce new species whenever she was in the mood, and then one day she decided she wanted to make a more intelligent creature than ever before. It would have consciousness of its own life the way the Mother did, and it would have new abilities that other species didn’t have, like the use of advanced tools and language. She decided that the ape was a good prototype for her new primate, and she began to give some of them the new traits.

Her new species, which she called Woman, evolved quickly. She helped the species along a little but its genetic coding also helped it to evolve on its own. The species flourished and it grew in both number and power. It continued to improve until Mother Earth’s enemy, the Devil of Death and Destruction, noticed how well the creatures were doing, and decided to interfere. The Devil was a malicious and effective demon, who took it upon himself to destroy the lovely things that Mother Earth created. He attacked the male of the species, giving him a deeply-embedded desire to destroy everything Mother Earth held dear: her Women, her other animals, and her plant life.

Mother Nature did the best she could to stop the evil from spreading. She added extra compassion to some of her new creatures so they would have the desire to defend all life. She was pleased to see some of them make good progress against the Devil’s plan. But it wasn’t enough.

The Mother had created Woman in her own image, fertile and conscious animals who would create and protect life. But her creatures had to mate with the males of their species and some of the males had become quite evil, obviously causing distress to the women.  The Mother loved her women and wanted them to be happy, so she decided to give them a gift. She created a special kind of woman who would defy the Devil’s wickedness by not mating with his hateful brutes. Instead, they would mate with their own sex. This wouldn’t result in a baby of course, but it would result in extra protection for all of womankind, because of their love for the female of the species. Not only would they be immune to the Devil’s tricks, but they would protect other women from them too.

The genetic coding that turned some women toward their own sex also occurred in some of the males, and they too turned toward their own sex. The Mother considered this an acceptible by-product of her plan—after all, it wasn’t a whole lot of them, and it wasn’t stopping the rest of the species from procreating.

Once the woman-loving women were created, they began to defend all of womankind, as the Mother had planned. She was very pleased that her plan had worked, and finally took a day off to rest.

The evil encoding that the Devil of Death and Destruction created still exists in some of the male genes, but a league of exceptional women created in the Mother’s image are leading the battle against it, and expect to succeed before long.