Ross, a year-old queer person from Glasgow, says he's experienced anti-femme abuse on dating apps from guys that he hasn't even sent a message to. The abuse got so bad when Ross joined Jack'd that he had to delete the app. On other occasions, Ross says he received a torrent of abuse after he had politely declined a guy who messaged him first. One particularly toxic online encounter sticks in his mind. Charlie Sarson, a doctoral researcher from Birmingham City University who wrote a thesis on how gay men talk about masculinity online, says he isn't surprised that rejection can sometimes lead to abuse.
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Butch and femme are terms used in the lesbian  subculture to ascribe or acknowledge a masculine butch or feminine femme identity with its associated traits, behaviors, styles, self-perception, and so on.
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Butch and femme are terms used in the lesbian  subculture to ascribe or acknowledge a masculine butch or feminine femme identity with its associated traits, behaviors, styles, self-perception, and so on. This concept has been called a "way to organize sexual relationships and gender and sexual identity".
Both the expression of individual lesbians of butch and femme identities and the relationship of the lesbian community in general to the notion of butch and femme as an organizing principle for sexual relating varied over the course of the 20th century.
The word femme is taken from the French word for woman. The word butch , meaning "masculine", may have been coined by abbreviating the word butcher , as first noted in George Cassidy's nickname, Butch Cassidy. There is debate about to whom the terms butch and femme can apply, and particularly whether transgender individuals can be identified in this way. For example, Jack Halberstam argues that transgender men cannot be considered butch, since it constitutes a conflation of maleness with butchness.
He further argues that butch—femme is uniquely geared to work in lesbian relationships. On the other hand, the writer Jewelle Gomez muses that butch and femme women in the earlier twentieth century may have been expressing their closeted transgender identity. Scholars such as Judith Butler and Anne Fausto-Sterling suggest that butch and femme are not attempts to take up "traditional" gender roles.
Instead, they argue that gender is socially and historically constructed, rather than essential, "natural", or biological. The femme lesbian historian Joan Nestle argues that femme and butch may be seen as distinct genders in and of themselves.
It is not uncommon for women with a butch appearance to face harassment or violence. BUTCH Voices, a national conference for "individuals who are masculine of center", including gender variant , was founded in Like the term "butch," femme can be used as an adjective or a noun.
Because they do not express masculine qualities, femmes were particularly vexing to sexologists and psychoanalysts who wanted to argue that all lesbians wished to be men. In the first half of the twentieth century, when butch-femme gender roles were constrained to the underground bar scene, femmes were considered invisible without a butch partner - that is, they could pass as straight because of their gender conformity.
By daring to be publicly attracted to butch women, femmes reflected their own sexual difference and made the butch a known subject of desire. The separatist feminist movement of the late s and s forced butches and femmes underground, as radical lesbian feminists found lesbian gender roles to be a disappointing and oppressive replication of heterosexual lifestyle.
In this new configuration of butch and femme, it was acceptable, even desirable, to have femme-femme sexual and romantic pairings. Femmes gained value as their own lesbian gender, making it possible to exist separately from butches.
For example, Susie Bright , the founder of On Our Backs , the first lesbian sex periodical of its kind, identifies as femme. She believes the link between appearance and gender performance and one's sexuality should be disrupted, because the way someone looks should not define their sexuality.
Femmes still combat the invisibility their presentation creates and assert their sexuality through their femininity. Some women in lesbian communities eschew butch or femme classifications, believing that they are inadequate to describe an individual, or that labels are limiting in and of themselves.
In the s and s, the term chi-chi was used to mean the same thing. Those who identify as butch and femme today often use the words to define their presentation and gender identity rather than strictly the role they play in a relationship, and that not all butches are attracted exclusively to femmes and not all femmes are exclusively attracted to butches, a departure from the historic norm.
The meanings of these terms vary and can evolve over time. A woman who likes to receive and not give sexually is called a "pillow queen," or a "pillow princess". The term boi is typically used by younger LGBT women. Defining the difference between a butch and a boi, one boi told a reporter: "that sense of play - that's a big difference from being a butch. To me, butch is like an adult You're the man of the house. Lesbians who are unisex and neither butch nor femme are called "androgynous" or "andros".
Another common term is "stud". A stud is a dominant lesbian, usually butch. They tend to be influenced by urban and hip-hop cultures and are often, but not always, Afro-American. In , filmmaker Daniel Peddle chronicled the lives of AGs in his documentary The Aggressives , following six women who went to lengths like binding their breasts to pass as men.
But Peddle says that today, very young lesbians of color in New York are creating a new, insular scene that's largely cut off from the rest of the gay and lesbian community. It is known that butch—femme dress codes date back at least to the beginning of the 20th century as photographs have survived of butch—femme couples in the decade of — in the United States; they were then called "transvestites".
Butch and femme lesbian genders were only starting to become apparent in the s, since it started to become common to allow women to enter bars without men. The s saw the rise of a new generation of butches who refused to live double lives and wore butch attire full-time, or as close to full-time as possible. This usually limited them to a few jobs, such as factory work and cab driving, that had no dress codes for women. Although femmes also fought back, it became primarily the role of butches to defend against attacks and hold the bars as gay women's space.
Although butch—femme wasn't the only organizing principle among lesbians in the midth century, it was particularly prominent in the working-class lesbian bar culture of the s, '50s, and '60s, where butch—femme was the norm, while butch—butch and femme—femme relationships were taboo.
Rush reported that women held strong opinions, that "role distinctions needed to be sharply drawn," and that not being one or the other earned strong disapproval from both groups. In contrast to ONE, Inc. This was especially true in relation to the butch identity, as the organization held the belief that assimilation into heterosexual society was the goal of the homophile movement.
Gender expressions outside of the norm prevented assimilation. In the s, the development of lesbian feminism pushed butch-femme roles out of popularity.
Lesbian separatists such as Sheila Jeffreys argued that all forms of masculinity, including masculine butch women, were negative and harmful to women. This dress was very similar to butch dress, weakening a key identifier of butch lesbians. While butch-femme roles had previously been the primary way of identifying lesbians and quantifying lesbian relationships in the s, 50s, and 60s, lesbian feminist ideology had turned these roles into a "perversion of lesbian identity".
In these excluded communities, butch-femme roles persisted and grew throughout the s. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. See also: Effeminacy ; Sissy ; and Top, bottom and versatile. Masculine and feminine identities in lesbians. This article possibly contains original research. Please improve it by verifying the claims made and adding inline citations. Statements consisting only of original research should be removed. May Learn how and when to remove this template message.
Main article: Femme. LGBT portal. Retrieved Duke University Press. Sdal Press. Rutledge International Encyclopaedia of Women.
NYU press. Critical Introduction to Queer Theory. Edinburgh University Press. Irreconcilable Differences? Intellectual Stalemate in the Gay Rights Debate. Greenwood Publishing Group. An Exploration of Lesbian Stereotypes".
Journal of Lesbian Studies. Continuum International Publishing Group. Edited by Ivan Coyote and Zena Sharman. Female Impersonation.
Retrieved 31 March Alyson Publications. Bear Butch is a noun. San Francisco: Suspect Thoughts Press. Sex Roles. Retrieved May 1, April 9, Archived from the original on December 19, Retrieved 11 September May 8, Sex and Sensibility: Stories of a Lesbian Generation. University of California Press. Pleasure and Danger: Exploring Female Sexuality. Susie Bright Journal. Journal of the History of Sexuality. Brazen Femme: Queering Femininity. Arsenal Pulp Press. Visible: A Femmethology, Vol 1.
Homofactus Press. Tribades, Tommies and Transgressives: Histories of Sexualities.
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Written by Derek M. The words we use to identify ourselves can give insight into our values, our personality, our appearance, our profession and our passions.
Last month, as people from all over the world came to New York City to celebrate WorldPride , The New York Times asked readers to, in ten words or less, tell us who they are. Many respondents listed multiple, intersecting identities, and some discussed seeking acceptance and community and finding it right here in New York City.
As these unique descriptions poured in, we were reminded that we are all humans with a story to tell. At 33, Melvin West knew it was only a matter of time — months maybe, a year for sure — before he would be dead.
A gay man living in Paris in , he was attending, he said, a funeral a week. He was a shoe designer, working alongside the couturiers at the Givenchy headquarters in Paris.
He had already achieved a great deal in his career. By the time he was in his 30s, the poor, black boy from southeast Washington D. If the run ended, he thought, it had been a good one. His career would continue on with fanfare: vice president of footwear at Ann Taylor; senior design director at Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein; top roles at Target and American Outfitters. The current outlook on H. There are treatment plans involving medicines that manage the disease and some believe a cure is on the horizon.
But still, West said, he knows that being diagnosed can take a mental and emotional toll on the newly diagnosed, especially if they are young, poor and black. Live your life. West recently left a position as a senior design director for a shoe brand, but it does not mean he is slowing down or thinking about retirement. Who can I help? What else can I do? She said it, like Pride itself, had been co-opted and commandeered. To understand the words Bishop employs to describe herself is to understand Bishop herself.
Feminine, Bishop argued, is often seen as docile, tame and meek. She likes women and sex and she wants you to know that about her. A military veteran, Bishop has lived in the South and Pacific Northwest. Not even in L. If there is one thing Marvin Argueta — who uses they, them and theirs pronouns — is sure about, it is that they are, in fact, unsure.
Yet wading through that murkiness of uncertainty, they said, they have discovered a kind of truth, and by extension a semblance of their identity.
They remember having feelings for boys as early as middle school. Genderfluid describes a person who does not solely identify as one gender identity or another, choosing instead to have the flexibility to fluctuate between genders or express multiple genders simultaneously. Pansexuality describes a person who experiences attraction to people regardless of their sex or gender identity. Living on the outskirts of heteronormativity was a struggle where Argueta grew up, they said.
An immigrant, they came to the United States from El Salvador with their family when they were 7, planting their roots in the predominantly Latino Brentwood community in Long Island.
Argueta became a Brooklyn resident in while enrolled at Baruch College. Why should I be put into a box? That might be as far as Argueta goes in changing their outward appearance, they said.
Or it might not. That child, Kimberly Bliss, is now a year-old fiction writer and nonprofit worker living in Brooklyn. Adopted by a couple who found her at an orphanage near the U. Air Force base where they lived, Bliss was raised in the suburbs of Buffalo, N. She said she had always dreamed of living in New York City, and collected magazine clippings and pictures of the city, plastering them on her bedroom wall. As a teenager, curious and exploring her sexuality, Bliss joined the Gay and Lesbian Youth of Buffalo, where she connected with peers and attended information sessions.
An older lesbian, who ran a local gay bar called M. Comptons, would let Bliss and other youths run the coat check as a means of subtle exposure to the culture. After graduating from Sarah Lawrence College in , where she studied creative writing, Bliss moved to the East Village. In the city, she waited tables for cash and danced nights away at local gay clubs.
Ten years ago, Bliss and her longtime partner, Maria, had a son, Mateo. Then in , the couple married, just days after the Supreme Court passed the decision that legalized same-sex marriage.
Gervich, who was assigned male at birth, went from small-town Midwest boy to a self-proclaimed nonbinary trans-femme film editor and homemaking spouse. And one description they hope to attain in the future: a loving parent.
The two have been together for about a decade and were married two years ago at a farm in Hillsdale, N. Gervich was raised in West Des Moines, Iowa, and transferred schools when they were young because of bullying.
They responded to the bullying by trying to embrace masculinity. Gervich met their wife at an Oktoberfest party while attending college in Portland, Ore. That night, the couple stepped outside to take a cigarette break, even though they were both trying to quit smoking at the time. In , Gervich and Allison moved to Brooklyn to find better career opportunities and found a sense of belonging in the city.
Gervich landed a job as an assistant editor at an independent media company and has fully embraced their nonbinary gender identity. They are considering female hormone therapy, but they put the idea on hold in an effort to start a family. Am I really feeling this? Gervich thought of the adversity their child might face, but took comfort in the idea of being able to console them through experience and insight. Trust yourself. And really listen to what your heart says because the world is filled with these competing voices telling you to doubt yourself.
I remember feeling free. At the time, Larson-Curry identified as a girl. He tried for years to live with the dissonance. Maybe, he thought, he was a tomboy. Then, when he became attracted to girls, he thought maybe he was bisexual. By , with the support of his parents, Larson-Curry began taking testosterone. The effect, he said, was remarkable. This is who I want everybody to see. Larson-Curry said he and his wife who is a veteran and also transgender experienced a period of homelessness when friends they were sharing an apartment with, angry at their relationship, forced them out.
When Waqas Jawaid considered the risks, to both himself and his family, of sitting with The New York Times to share his thoughts as a gay, partnered Pakistani man at odds with the Islamic faith, he first thought about his friend Sabeen Mahmud. She had become a well-known progressive human rights activist, and the founder of The Second Floor, a progressive cafe and popular queer-affirming space in Karachi aimed at fostering open dialogue.
Mahmud was shot and killed in after hosting a debate at The Second Floor. Still, Jawaid has faced challenges. But as he entered his teenage years, he found himself attracted to men. With that question came doubt, and the realization that he had other questions. Why was he allowed to live in comfort while others around him suffered? She thought being gay was a disease, then a disability, then a phase. I was successful in my academics, I was successful in my career aspirations, but I still just felt this deep unfulfillment.
Why do I feel so joyless? How do I move on from here? Because something needs to change. Kozub, who was assigned male at birth, grew up with her parents and brother in a suburban home in Woodbridge, N. J, attended the same all-boys Catholic high school as her father and brother and joined the Boy Scouts. From an early age, she dreamed of becoming an Eagle Scout, the highest rank in the scouts. But holding onto those accomplishments gave her a sense of victory.
In May, Kozub, who double-majored in journalism and American studies, graduated from Fordham University as class valedictorian. She used her deadname a reference to the name she was given at birth one last time to mark the beginning of a new chapter.
Coming out is not solely the action of informing loved ones about your sexual or gender identity, she said, but a deep introspective process of discovering who you are. I can finally accomplish what I want without compromise. Stewart — a lesbian, motorcycle safety activist and feminist — is no stranger to gender-based harassment. At 17, she left a difficult home life on Long Island for the freedom of an apartment in the East Village.
While working at the Metropolitan Opera, she was told she should have been home making babies and that she was taking jobs away from deserving men.
It took working twice as hard each day, she said, to earn the little respect she was given. Stewart, who now works as a scenic artist and sculptor, put up with the harassment because she loved her work and excelled at it. But her true calling was riding motorcycles. She learned to ride on the sloping streets of San Francisco, where she spent a year living in after a bad breakup.
Yet this was another activity, she said, that she took flak for from men. It was freedom.