Understanding Male-Identified Butches

Hey team, I need help. I get asked a lot of questions about butches and being butch. I can and do answer a bunch of these gladly. I am very excited to try and represent our diverse community and ecstatic to have a platform to do so. But I cannot answer all of them alone. For example:

Please explain how someone can be a male-identified butch and not be trans.

Given that I am a female-identified butch, I’m afraid I don’t do our community justice in my otherwise politically-correct answers. Remember, in addition to making you laugh, I try to educate – so my reply is not to tell people “Hey, we don’t need to explain ourselves!” (Though that is certainly true.)

I’d like to write a piece and can’t do it alone. If their are a few wonderful male-identified butches among you who feel like sharing privately with me, I’d be very honored to learn from you and will not share your names. Email me your thoughts to Butchontap@gmail.com. Thank you, my handsome and amazing male-identified butches.

It’s very butch to take time to help others understand when you do not have to. Be Butch.

8 thoughts on “Understanding Male-Identified Butches

  1. I’ll share this with my boifriend so sHe can share her experiences with you. If you ever have questions about femmes who prefer to date male IDd butches, please feel free to hit me up! 🙂

  2. I’m hesitant to leave a reply that is longer than the post, but here goes.
    I have an overall problem with the way the question is phrased.

    It is about dividing butches into “female-identified” vs. “male-identified”. I don’t think that is naturally how butches think of themselves. It is like asking a lesbian couple “which one of you is the man?” It comes at the issue from an outsider’s binary perspective. “Male-identified” was also a phrase that was used by the women’s movement to marginalize butches.

    A better question is do you consider your butchness to be a sexual identity, or a gender expression, or both? Is butch a spectrum or a fixed place? Is butch just what is on the surface or is it innate? For the record, I consider myself to be butch (sexual identity) and transgender (gender identity). I’ve been accused over the years of being “male-identified” but I would not self-identify using the term. My version of butch is not especially masculine.

    To me, all butches are a little gender non-conforming. Some more than others, and it is not all about appearances. For example, are you uncomfortable being “Ma’am’d?”. Are you uncomfortable checking off the F box on a form? Do you have body dysphoria? Are you uncomfortable wearing women’s clothing that looks like women’s clothing (e.g. female drag)? Are you a perpetual tomboy? Do you wear men’s sneakers? Do you borrow your girlfriend’s clothes?

    Do your friends call you by a gender neutral name or nick-name? Do you cringe at being referred to as her or she? Do you carry your wallet in your back pocket? Do you wear perfume or cologne? Do you want to be pretty or handsome? Do you drink beer out of the bottle?

    Do you want to be read as butch, queer, genderqueer, transgender, trans masculine, or some combination of the terms? Do you only wear sports bras? Do you bind/compress your breasts to get a more masculine silhouette? Do you shave your legs? Did you get or are you considering having top surgery?

    No set of answers makes you more butch or less butch. No combination of answers makes you “female-identified” or “male-identified”. No variety of answers makes you cisgender or transgender. As you say, there are a lot of ways to be butch. I’m for the big tent; I don’t want to ID everyone on the way in, or keep anyone out.

    Peace and a happy new year.

    • Jamie Ray, thank you. I agree with so much of what you said. I definitely agree that for a lot of us our identities are composed of multiple layers and aspects. I identify as butch in terms of my masculine presentation. I identify as genderqueer, trans* and bi-gender as gender labels. I prefer he/him/his pronouns. I do not identify as male or female exclusively, but as both. The assumption that all butches identify as females is frustrating to me, though understandable given history and convention. My sexuality is queer, though if I were younger I might identify as pansexual.

      The point is, if you allow people the freedom to see identity as a buffet of options for presentation, gender, physical augmentations, sexuality, sexual preferences, etc.

      Also, ‘butch’ is a term used in the gay male community to describe a very masculine gay man.

      Feel free to contact me if you want to chat more about this.

      • I want to add that ‘butch’ is becoming a more and more important aspect of my sexuality as well. Especially when I’m with someone who’s Femme identified and who is attracted to my Butchness.

      • I love this string of comments. Let me be clear that the question stems from my experience as a female-identified butch. I know plenty of male-identified butches (they claim this definition/label/description…) and others have asked me to explain the distinction. I haven’t been able to adequately do so.


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