Butch has been a great term for me, when I encountered it, it seemed like I finally had a word for what it was that I experienced as embodiment, so I really clung to it. I’m somebody who has seen several waves of transgender activism since I came out, but I still hold onto it, I recognize that it may in fact be descriptive of people of my generation and be less descriptive of younger folks, and I don’t need to hang on to a word that doesn’t work for other people, but I do tend to use it about myself. I like the idea of being a transgender butch, which is that you are completely cross-gender identified, that masculinity is what defines you but you’re not trying to live in the world as a man. That’s the difference between me and a transgender man.
It’s not totally important to my understanding of self that other people read me as a man. It’s important that they read me as masculine, and it’s important that they read me in some way that I’m at odds with female embodiment. But it’s also important that they read me as someone who is not going to have that tension resolved by getting some surgeries. We’re living in a moment where people are pretty creative about their relationship to gender variance, and I think that the queer worlds we live in can tolerate a lot of different gender designations, so I don’t see why we can’t hold onto “butch” along with a whole set of other markers and identity, difference, embodiment, masculinity, variance and so on.