Why Scotland is the Butchest Country

Having just returned from my third trip to Bonnie Scotland, I am ready to declare Scotland to be the Butchest country in the world. Though I’ve not been to nearly all the countries, I have been to more than I can count on my two hands, so here goes…

  1. Unicorns, Fairies and Rainbows. The Unicorn is the national animal. Yes, the unicorn. Fairies, gnomes and elves also figure into legend. And, I’ve seen quite a few rainbows there.
  2. Nessie. The very real, very historic [imaginary] Loch Ness Monster is a beloved national symbol.
  3. Thistle. Thistle, which is a thorny weed, is the national flower.  
  4. Whisky. Whisky is the national drink. Enough said.
  5. Butch Sports. Scottish school kids play a kind of baseball with a very hard ball and no glove in a sharp-looking school uniform, which includes a tie for all kids. Have you caught a baseball lately? Even with a glove it sometimes stings. 
  6. More Butch Sports. Adults toss cabers (a big phone pole), boulders, and other very heavy or dangerous looking things for fun – while wearing kilts.
  7. Value on Farming. They built a bridge for tractors to cross the motorway – so farmers could plow fields on both sides of the road. Oh, and they have huge round hay bales. I am obsessed with these. It’s odd, I know.
  8. Rotaries. Confusing at first, rotaries are cool and very efficient. Plus, there’s a yellow light before the green on the traffic signals, which makes you feel like you are on a speedway.
  9. Higland Coos. Their cows are furry, with horns.  
  10. Old Stuff. That building over there on the corner is older than America, yeah that one – the market.
  11. Castles. Lots of castles – over 3,000 which means one about every 100 square miles.
  12. Brilliance. 11% of Nobel prize winners are Scottish and 61% of American Presidents are Scottish or Scottish-Irish. (Google it!)
  13. Kilts!
  14. Green. It’s an absolutely stunning country. Everywhere you look is beauty. And green, and water. Plus, they are way ahead of the US on being green (e.g., recycling is ubiquitous and you must pay for a bag everywhere).  
  15. My Wife. The people are ridiculously nice. My wife is from there and her family lives there.

Got any reasons to add? Want to tell me why your country is more Butch than Scotland? Go for it.

It’s very Butch to be Scottish, but if you can’t be Scottish, it’s Butch to marry a Scott. I did. Be Butch.

Cheddar Cheese Sticks

My wife is working on her PhD. She’s been researching, thinking, collecting, sampling, measuring, and writing for several years now. We are in the home stretch. Seriously. But it doesn’t feel like that to her. To my wife, she’s miles away from the end. And no wonder.

The whole process is miserable and demoralizing. By its very nature, a PhD requires you to answer a question that no one else in the world has answered. That means no one can really tell you if you are right, or what’s next. You are meant to advance science. But the process is brutal. You write about what you did and also what you didn’t do, what you did wrong, and what others can/should do different or better than you. No wonder she’s questioning her intellect. Why didn’t I do it this way from the start? So, it stands to reason that my wife is umm … stressed.

I know it. I see it. But, this morning brought a new level of understanding. I was feeling frisky. Very frisky. My wife, not so much. She basically said “fine.” What a turn on, right? I joked that maybe she shouldn’t talk, to which she wryly responded a moment later by suggesting we go over our shopping list. We laughed and then in a sultry voice she cooed, “Cheddar cheese sticks…”

We began to giggle. Then more robustly. Soon, she was laughing so hard she was crying. Then she was only crying. And apologizing. Poor baby. I held her until she was all cried out. Afterwards, we both felt better – more connected, comforted, though not quite satisfied. I’ll never understand the level of her stress, but I can understand the emotions that I see. My job now is to build her up. To tell her that the questions she’s asking herself about her work don’t apply to her – not to her intellect, her worth, or her self.

It’s Butch to build up your partner – PhD or not. Be Butch. 

The Cult of Conversion & Confession

Source: bluenationreview.com

Source: bluenationreview.com

A few of my longtime friends have told me that they want to see more of the real writing that I do. The stuff that is about my life, my feelings, my struggles. Like this one about my physical disabilities and battle with pain. Sure, being funny is good, but how about being real? What can I say?

I’ve been in a period of intense business and stress. Literally, the most stressed I think I have ever been. But it’s stress for good reasons, so I am super aware of not complaining. I will tell you though, it is really hard to think about being introspective and real when I am trying to get through the day without passing out from stress and anxiety. Plus, I thought y’all liked my funny. My serious pieces don’t tend to be very popular. Did you read the piece about Israel?

Anyway, tonight, as I sit here in my hotel room far from home, I am feeling a little introspective. What can I say? What to talk about? Hmm… The embarrassing bra fitting? My first kiss with a boy? With a girl? How awkward I was in high school? My family? What I wanted to be when I grew up? My experience in a cult? Coming out? My first love? Becoming an attorney? Learning to dress? Finding my butchness? What’s that? Oh, yes, I did say cult. Would you like to hear about that? It is probably several different pieces because it will be too long. Why don’t we start with the story itself? And, I will leave the impact and my recent life lessons for later.

When I was a junior in high school, I was struggling with lots of stuff. I didn’t feel like I fit in. I always wanted to be part of a big family, but as an only child of a mom with three sisters all of whom live far away, that just wasn’t my daily reality. I think, as I look back, though, that my struggle to fit in was no different than anyone else’s. But I didn’t know that. And then, along came a friend that I really liked. We were in theater and chorus together. I loved spending time with her and her family. And she and her family were part of a cult.

I didn’t know it was a cult, of course. I just knew it was a great group of people who were really energetic and made me feel like I belonged there. I was not raised with a religion and so it turns out there was a lack of information or experience that the group filled. Plus, remember my friend? I had no idea at the time, and of course never did anything about it, but I had a raging crush on her.

So, into the cult I dove, head first. There is some painful family stuff here, but I will leave that aside. Suffice it to say that my family was distraught and we all acted in ways that hurt a lot. I moved out before my high school graduation and into a condo with women from the cult. I regret this so much. I hate the choices I made then. But that’s part of the insidiousness of it, you see. Separate you from your family and your non-cult friends. When you are only around people from the cult the crazy stuff the cult preaches and requires don’t seem so odd – without the balance of a family member or friend looking at you and asking, “They told you what?” These women were all wonderful. If I am attacking anything, it is the cult, the organization, not my friend, her parents, or the women I lived with.

So, first, I lost my family (for a while). Then I lost all of my other friends. They didn’t shun me or anything. I just disappeared and in the disappearing, I lost them. I still regret deeply disappearing for our junior and senior years. I am thankful that my closest friends have welcomed me back into the fold, many years later. It angers me to think of the fun and adventures that I missed for those two years of high school.

Then, the control started. If you really love God, you need to come to all cult events. There was something every night, or almost every night. Remember the power in separating you? Well, I went to stuff every night. And, then there was the encouragement to break all earthly ties – everything that grounds you to your old sinful life and self. That means memories, yearbooks, and childhood mementos. A rummage sale of all your old stuff is a great way to support the cult! And, so you guessed it, I sold, donated, or threw away almost everything from my old “sinful” past. I won’t even begin to describe the regret and pain that I feel at this. I have no middle school or high school yearbooks. No class photos. No love letters from boys or girls. No medals from my swim competitions. Nothing. And that feels awful.

If you are keeping track, I lost my family, my friends, control of my schedule, my freedom, and all of my earthly possessions. Literally. All of this was supposed to make me a good Christian. All of this meant that I loved God more. And do you know what else was supposed to make me a good Christian? Confession.

My first experience with the cult confessions was when a friend drove me home. She told me that she struggled with “homosexuality.” She said that she had impure thoughts about other women. I remember distinctly this conversation. We were sitting in her old beat up Honda. Outside my house, parked by the curb, she shared this. It was like I had been struck by lightning. I said, “I think I struggle with that, too.” Then I got out of the tiny Honda and went inside. I am a sinner. I am going to hell because I struggle with “homosexuality.” Even though I had never slept with a woman. Never acted on this – indeed, messed around more with boys than girls at that point. Except for a girl in 4th grade. We kissed, pretending I was “the boy.” But, that doesn’t count, right? I will leave my actual coming out for later, but the “homosexual thoughts” were crucial to the abuse in the cult.

There was lots of confession. All the time. And, not just the things that I did that broke the rules. But also, the thoughts that I had of things that if I did them would break the rules. Yes. The thoughts. Forget free will. Forget the idea that we can control our actions, but maybe not always our thoughts. It is a sin to think of things that are sins. This means that if you thought about stealing a bag of chips, but didn’t do it, you had committed a sin as much as if you had actually stolen the bag of chips. Why not go ahead and steal the damn chips, then? Thinking about cheating on your wife, but thought better of it and left the situation? Too bad. In the eyes of God, you have sinned by cheating on your wife. I imagine that almost every wife we ask would agree that actually kissing or sleeping with someone is a WHOLE LOT different than thinking about it.

Believe me; I realize how insane this is now. I can’t believe that I would ever tolerate this. I was 17, though. And, I hadn’t come out yet. I felt awkward and weird. I didn’t know what was wrong with me. When someone told me it was because I needed God… I believed them. The confession was epic. Like marathon sessions of sharing with cult members what horrible things I was thinking. After the revelatory night in the Honda, the subject of my confessions was always those “homosexual thoughts.” As my struggle increased – because I had figured out I was a lesbian – cult leaders were called in to help me. When I continued to struggle, cult elders were called in. And to each of them I had to confess. Every single sinful thought, desire and wish. They must have gotten off on the things I shared. I wonder if they confessed that.

I spent hours upon hours in prayer. Literally on my knees or prostrate on the ground. Begging God to change me. Begging God to allow me to shine in his light as I was meant to – as a good Christian woman without being tarnished by the unclean thoughts of other women in my head. I used to go to the ocean and pray on the sand. I fasted and prayed, thinking that the fast (being told that the fast) would allow God to work better. One particular evening, when I had been fasting for days and was weak from hunger, I sat in the car with one of my roommates pouring out my heart and confessing my struggles. I cried for over an hour as I shared. As we walked inside, I tripped on the cement stairway leading to our condo and cracked my head against the edge of a step. I remember sitting on the edge of the bathtub while blood dripped from my eyebrow onto the floor of the tub. It was a sign from God that I was doing the right thing, they said. I didn’t go to the hospital. Several days later, when it hadn’t closed up right Student Health told me I needed stitches but it was too late. I still have the scar.

I would have given anything at that point to be straight. To not struggle with “homosexual thoughts.” As sad as that is, I know I almost did give up everything to try and be straight. My family. My friends. My freedom. My possessions. Myself. All gone. In the name of the cult. And still I struggled.

When even the elders couldn’t help guide me back to God’s path, I was sent to a cult psychologist. It was his job to cure me. When the regular old pray-the-gay-away didn’t work, the cult turned to therapy. But the most damaging kind – the kind draped in authority and science. There is no way that I can explain the years of suffering that this man caused me. The violation of my emotions and psyche by this doctor. In retrospect, it is shocking that he was allowed to practice. Conversion therapy only hurts the people who are subjected to it. Sure, I was technically a “willing” participant. But only because I thought I was going to hell because I was gay. Only because every single person in my life believed that I was going to hell; I had no outside friends or my family to turn to. That is a pretty high barrier to overcome. As a college freshman, I was nearly suicidal because I had let God down.

And then, I fell in love with a woman. Thank God.

Falling in love meant sheer torture. Conflict. Denial. Desperation. You name it. But it also meant that I questioned vociferously the elders of the cult. It meant that I started to really read the bible and find other stories, passages, and whole sections that they neglected to focus on. Like Ruth and Naomi. David and Jonathan. Jesus and Paul. I dove deeper. There are lots of sins in the bible. Why is homosexuality the worst one? Why should I feel worse than a murderer (all before taking any gay action, by the way)?

Well, I actually am a lesbian, and there was no amount of praying or cruel therapy that was going to change that. Falling in love meant that I had some strength to fight what they were all telling me. We ran away together. And, then we came back. Sigh. And then I ran away alone. And then I came back. The self-hatred that they had instilled in me was really deep and perverse. I had to be dis-fellowshipped 2 or maybe 3 times. Each time, I was re-baptized in a dramatic ceremony filled with tears and pain under the guise of washing away the pain. Like an abusive relationship. It was very hard to leave. Excruciating. I still have a near panic attack when anyone from the cult comes up or is mentioned. Even tonight when I Googled the therapist to see if he was still in practice. My chest started to seize up. And to what end?

Almost 30 years later, I am a proud lesbian. Trying to change the world with humor and honesty. I am a wife and a mother. I tell anyone who will listen to be themselves. I question every authority mercilessly (sometimes silently, but still I question). And, this is the first time in all that time that I have been able to write about the pain I suffered in the name of God. This is the first time that I can write the truth. My truth. Even here I feel the control, the pull to protect the cult. Notice no names, no organization listed. I can’t help it.

What else has been the consequence? I am an atheist. A certain one. Not an agnostic. Why? Because I cannot believe in a God that would allow such mistreatment. Such abuse. I cannot abide those stories that are misogynistic and racist at their core, and even worse in the way they are applied and carried out. And being real, because if there was a God, that God would have granted my desperate pleas to be straight. And if God didn’t answer those prayers, then there either is no God, or being gay is simply not a sin – not something that needs to be fixed.

People who know me today simply cannot believe that I would ever follow someone blindly. But you are so strong! So quick to question authority! Yes, but I wasn’t always that way. Maybe by being real, I can help someone else to avoid the pain I suffered. It is Butch to be real. Be Butch.

Why Today Matters

 By now, you have heard that the US Supreme Court has ruled that marriage is a fundamental right and that gay and lesbian people are as deserving of that right as their straight neighbors and friends. As such, no state may restrict a gay or lesbian person’s right to get married. Well, despite the obvious Snoopy dance that I have been literally and figuratively dancing all day, I realize that maybe not everyone gets it.

I have seen a lot of celebration today from both my community and from allies. I have also seen a fair number of what I like to call now-can-we-focus-on-what-really-matters? comments. I agree that there is much work to be done. We need protection from being fired. We need protection from being kicked out of our homes, including the big home of the United States. We need protection in the adoption process, health care, and basically every government service you can think of. We still don’t have those national protections. There is much to be done. But today is a day for celebrating. Here’s why – from my perspective.

In 1993, I had a commitment ceremony with my partner at the time. It was a big deal and looked a lot like a wedding. I had friends back then who did not understand why we would want to do anything that looked like a wedding. That is for straights, they said. You aren’t straight, so why do you want to pretend to be a part of a system that rejects you? We did our best to explain it – over and over. In 2000, we registered officially in California as domestic partners. This was a huge step for many gays and lesbians because it was some sort of official recognition, albeit separate and unequal. Many people took advantage of this registration. In 2004, we rushed off to San Francisco to be legally wed. It was an incredibly exciting time because there was a feeling that all of the people involved were making history. We did make history, but not as legitimately married couples. All of the weddings performed were declared void (which held its own kind of pain), and the whole Proposition 8 nightmare began. Several years later, we separated and experienced the tremendous unfairness of not being married, but still having to go through a divorce, and all of the inequities dealt to both of us by the system.

In 2013, I met my wife. We fell madly in love. We knew that our relationship would be a challenge since she was not a US citizen. But, then that summer, the Supreme Court invalidated DOMA and Prop 8. That meant all Californians were free to marry.  The striking down of DOMA meant once married, we would be able to apply for immigration status. We got legally married late that year, and this time none of my friends asked why we would want to marry. Everyone understood. People fall in love, and some of those people want to get married. In early 2014, she became a legal green card holder. All thanks to the changes in the law – largely brought on by the marriage debate.

The tide has shifted so completely in the last 20+ years people of all walks of life now know how important marriage is. Not because it is the end-all and be-all of civil rights, but because it is an indication of normalcy, acceptance and finality. “They are married, just like we are, so that’s that.” “Of course they are a family, they are married with kids.” No longer can the question, “Is she a lesbian?” be answered with, “No, she’s married.”

If people are married, then of course they can visit each other in the hospital. If two parents are married, then of course they can both come to the parent-teacher conference. Married couples rent apartments and buy cars. They open savings accounts, and go to the doctor. Marriage was never an end, it was a means to an end. And that end is equality. Lesbians and gays who are married get to be treated the same way as straights who are married. Of course she gets to inherit that house, they were married! Do you see what I mean?

To those of you in the LGBT community who don’t want to get married, great! No need for you to do so. Be excited, though, that you can. You are no longer excluded from an institution and the multitude of rights that are automatically bestowed on people who are part of that institution.

To those of you who are offended that my wife and I are now legally married in every state in the union, I feel sorry for you. You are on the wrong side of history. And if you cannot see that, take comfort in the fact that no one will ever force you to marry someone of the same-sex. Nor will anyone force your church to perform such marriages. Don’t worry; the same constitution that grants me the fundamental right to marry, also protects your fundamental right to hate me for it. I hope that you won’t, but I will defend your right to think and speak how you wish.

It’s Butch to support equality. Be Butch.

Stylish 100

I am honored to have been selected as one of the Stylish 100 by DapperQ. What a great compliment! Check out the list here (http://www.dapperq.com/2015/06/100-most-stylish-dapperqs-2015/). 

It’s Butch to be recognized for being yourself. Be Butch. 

World Oceans Day: 5 Things You Can Do Today

Started in 1992 and officially recognized by the UN in 2008, June 8 is World Oceans Day. The Ocean Project is one of the leading organizations advancing the day. You can read more at either site.

Here’s 5 easy things you can do today to help protect the oceans:

1. Skip the straw and lid. Reusable cups and straws are best, but no one is perfect. Straws and lids don’t degrade. They are floating around our oceans. They get eaten or inhaled by sea life. Plastic is bad for sea life.

2. Don’t use products with micro-beads in them. Face scrubs and body washes with micro-beads are bad for the ocean because the beads are plastic. They don’t degrade. Down your drain they go, out to the ocean, eaten by the fish, and then back on your plate. Yum!

3. Properly dispose of your medications. The toilet or drain is not proper. It’s bad for our water supply and makes fish sick. Ask your pharmacy how to do it correctly.

4. Express yourself with rad reusable grocery bags. Let the store keep those plastic demons. My current bags are Avengers characters – Iron Man, Black Widow, The Hulk, and then the whole crew.

5. Don’t litter. Duh.  Everyone knows that. In addition, if you see a piece of trash, pick it up. You might be keeping it out of the ocean.

Maybe go to the beach today. Take a deep breath and look out at the expanse of mesmerizing water you see. It is a wonderful reminder of just how small we are.

The oceans don’t need us, but we sure do need the oceans. It is Butch to take care of our oceans. Be Butch.


The votes are in. Recounts have been called for. Unscrupulous polling practices and redistricting have been dealt with. And the voting is final.

Not really, of course, but the votes are final. ButchWonders published the list of the Top 25 Most Powerful Butches as nominated and voted upon by her readers. As she explains in her post, its actually the Top 20. And, guess what?

I am indeed a powerful butch. Number 19, to be exact. Though my wife and kids would probably rank me closer to 3 or 4 (after kd lang and Ellen, natch).

I mean! Come on! I am on a list of women that includes Rachel Maddow, Ellen DeGeneres, kd lang, Lea Delaria, Ivan Coyote, Billie Jean King, and Martina Navratilova (just to name a few). I am delighted. Thank you all who voted. Seriously, no jokes. I am really excited. Thank you.

Be Butch. I certainly will keep doing so.

Is ButchOnTap one of the 25 Most Powerful Butches in America?

What does it mean to be one of the most powerful Butches in America?

Does it mean that women won’t freak out when I walk in the correct restroom? Does it mean that my friends will stop wondering why I don’t just dress a little more feminine if it’s so irritating? Does it mean that people at restaurants, coffee shops, drug stores, service counters, auto shops, and on planes will stop calling me “Sir”? Does it mean that I will magically have tons of customized clothing options when I walk into any of the shops I frequent? Does it mean that I will stop frustrating the occasional gay man who thought I was a man to hit on? Does it mean that I will have all of the book publishing world and Hollywood open to me to do some creating on a big scale?

Does it mean my amazing and stunning wife will love me more? Does it mean my kids will think I am any cooler? Does it mean my puppy will stop having accidents in the house? Does it mean my cat allergies will suddenly vanish? Will it reduce my cable guy service window?

The answer to all of these questions is a resounding and huge No. But, it would be hella cool.

When ButchWonders posted the poll this morning and invited the world to vote for the 25 Most Powerful Butches in America, I was excited. What a cool thing to see all those Butches (and in some cases, perceived Butches) listed. I mean, there are lots of us! Butches aren’t disappearing! And even better, we are starting to achieve more visibility. More visibility means more mental health. More comfort in daily life. More acceptance. It means kids can figure out they are Butch younger. Less stress. Less anxiety. Less why don’t I fit? Less badly dressed lesbians! (You are a Butch, feel free to shop in either the men’s or women’s department.)

I was also excited to be listed. Heh. But I got tripped up on whether I could ask y’all to vote for me. If I was powerful, wouldn’t everyone vote without being asked? Doesn’t it diminish it if I run around asking for votes?

Again, I think the answer is No.

I’ve done pretty well in life by asking for what I want. After all, I want to be powerful. With power comes the ability to change things. To get things done. With power, people are more likely to take your calls, listen to you. Isn’t it my responsibility to claim that power then? To take steps towards what I want? To help carry the banner for Butches everywhere?

I hope so. Please vote for me. You can vote for 10 of the people listed, so it’s not like I have to be the most powerful Butch you know… Just in your top 10. The poll closes Friday, so vote quickly.

I’ll still Be Butch regardless of the outcome of the poll. Making it won’t make me more Butch, nor will not making it mean I am less Butch. But, it’s Butch to ask for what you want. Vote for me and Be Butch with me.

Are You A Lesbian?

WATCH: Top 10 Signs You Might Be A #Lesbian. Cameo by me! (I’m a lesbian.)


#thedinah #thedinah15 #thedinah25

What is “butch”, anyway?

Check out this great piece from my friend Searching4Self. What is “butch”, anyway?.


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