Butch is an LGBTQ+ masculine gender expression or gender identity. While many people who identify as butch use the term in reference to their gender expression, others claim it as a nonbinary identity in itself. Butch is an identity that emerged in lesbian and bisexual culture in the 1940s, before there was a stark distinction in the community between types of women who were attracted to other women.. Stereotypically, butches take the dominant role in relationships with femmes. Many lesbians have complicated relationships with gender, and may identify as simply butch. Although there is some controversy surrounding it, butch is an identity that can be held by people of various queer sexual orientations and can belong to both cisgender and trans individuals.
Difference between butch and male[edit | edit source]
Although butch is a masculine identity, it isn't the same thing as conventional manhood or masculinity. There are differences, particularly in how conventional manhood and masculinity involve conformity, whereas the MOGII qualities of butch make it subversive.
Butch gender expression through clothing doesn't follow the rules for how to dress conventionally as male or masculine, and in some ways is intentionally different. Butch clothing doesn't look the same as conventional men's wear. See the main article about these clothing differences.
Transgender men are not butch lesbians. Although trans men were assigned female at birth (or sometimes intersex), and some identified as lesbian before recognizing that they were trans men, the difference is that lesbians identify as women, and trans men identify as men. Masculinity is different than maleness.
Transgender butches[edit | edit source]
While the term "transgender butch" could apply to a masculine trans person, regardless of gender assigned at birth, the term is often used in a more specific sense to describe a person who was assigned female at birth, has a masculine gender expression, and experiences gender dysphoria while identifying as butch rather than male or another gender. Transgender butches may identify as genderqueer or nonbinary; some claim butch as a specific non-binary identity. Transgender butches may also identify as lesbians or dykes independently of their gender identity. A similar term is "stone butch", which describes a butch who prefers to avoid genital stimulation in sexual settings, sometimes due to gender dysphoria.
Notable butch people[edit | edit source]
See main article: Notable nonbinary people
There are many more notable people who have a gender identity outside of the binary. The following are only some of those notable people who specifically use the word "butch" (or a close analog to it) for themselves as a gender identity.
- Leslie Feinberg (1949 - 2014) was a revolutionary communist who identified as "butch" in the sense of a queer transgender identity neither female nor male.
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Butch characters in fiction[edit | edit source]
See main article: Nonbinary gender in fiction
There are many more nonbinary characters in fiction who have a gender identity outside of the binary. The following are only some of those characters who are specifically called by the word "butch" (or a close analog to it) as a gender identity, either in their canon, or by their creators.
- Jess Goldberg in the semi-autobiographical novel Stone Butch Blues by Leslie Feinberg.
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See also[edit | edit source]
External Links[edit | edit source]
- Butchtastic: Butch, Genderqueer, Genderfluid, Genderfuck and Trans Blogs to watch out for
- Debonair Geek's Blog: Deep Thoughts
- Stone Butch Blues by Leslie Feinberg
- Susan's Place Transgender Resource Wiki: Butch and Femme
- Susan's Place Transgender Resource Wiki: Soft Butch
- Susan's Place Transgender Resources Wiki: Stone Butch