In the previous post, I discussed the Butch dodo bird: the possibility that self ID’d butches are disappearing. I wondered if that term was being replaced by something else, or if there’s something I’m not seeing. Or that maybe it’s a cultural thing.
Based on the wonderful responses I got, as well as a conversation I had with a twenty-something Uni student, here is what seems to be the case:
The butch ID among the next generation is alive and well. However, there does seem to be a regional element. Big cities make a difference, as do bohemian cities. Working class cities have fewer butch young people (perhaps for safety reasons?) Butch is also more inclusive than it has been in the past: the young woman I spoke to said she’s considered butch among her Uni community. She was wearing make-up and had on lace leggings under her torn jeans.
The butch experience is still considered the more ‘valid’ experience: the femme label remains ostracised (from the young Uni student– “People think if you’re femme that you’re just straight and playing around, or pretending, or something. That you’re not a real lesbian.”) I admit I find this stunning. That’s exactly what happened to me when I came out twenty years ago. I thought we’d certainly moved on…evidently not.
So. There are still butches out there, and femmes, and every ID under the sun in between and outside. And through this blog and my conversation with the Uni student, I began to wonder: is anyone mentoring the next generation? Do they have role models to talk to, people that look/act the way they want to? Do you, reader, reach out to the younger lgbt folks?
I’ve made a decision: I’m going to reach out. They may not need me. But how good is it to be there when another young femme feels less than because other folks are telling her what a ‘real’ lesbian looks like?
Book: Stigmata by Helene Cixous
Song: Alejandro by Lady Gaga