This weekend Clara and I have enjoyed a Season 3 Orange is the new Black, binge. We love the series and were happy to see it back on our Netflix. I won’t be sharing any spoilers here as we haven’t finished this season and have managed to avoid all spoilers, so I want to respect others still watching. But what I will say is an episode really struck a chord with me.
One of my favourite characters is Boo, played by the awesome Lea DeLaria. This season delves into the background stories of the main characters and Boo’s episode now stands as one of my all time favourites. Boo’s character identifies as Butch and the main message of her episode is about embracing and being proud of your identity. It’s a roller coaster of emotions and had me a bit choked up at one particular scene, but it also inspired me to share my feelings here.
This blog has become our platform to share a window into our lives, to allow those not familiar with the LGBT community to grasp an opinion based on our world. We don’t share all and we certainly aren’t a poster family for the whole LGBT community, but we do know our lives and that is what we are good at sharing.
For many years I struggled with identity. As a child I hated dresses and skirts, I longed for trousers or shorts over the flowery things my sister wore. My parents were generally accepting of my desire to wear what I wanted, but like some parents they loved to see their daughter in a pretty dress or a skirt. I don’t resent them for this, as I became a teenager I was able to embrace the clothes I felt most comfortable in. But identity was still something I felt was a mask for the outside world and not for the butch within me.
Huge pressures were placed upon me in both work environments and social situations. Many occasions spring to mind where I felt that who I was, wasn’t who people wanted to see. At a family wedding someone remarked if the suit and tie I was wearing was designed to shock everyone, another time in a restaurant I was laughed about, for looking like a man. At one job I was told a skirt was the only option for uniform as they did not have trousers for women in stock, despite me saying I was happy to take a pair labelled for men. Because trousers are trousers right? Do men put them on differently?
I’ve been made to feel like I am being difficult for not wanting to dress in a feminine manner and all this takes it’s toll far more than many realise. I am confident at 33 to be able to say after many years that I identify as Butch, a label that sparks many to say “you don’t look that butch”. But Butch can be defined in many ways. If it comes down to what I wear or how I look then many nod and say “oh yes, I can see you wear men’s clothes and have short hair”. But it is more than that. Many straight women who don’t identify as butch, feel comfortable in men’s clothes and have short hair.
For me, Butch is so much deeper. It’s something I feel proud to identify as and declare that never again will I be made to feel less of a human for how I dress. I will not wear a mask to make YOU feel more comfortable or take away the stares I receive. If you can not accept me for who I am, then YOU are the one who needs to look at yourself, not me.
I am proud of who I am, I am proud of how I look and I’m going to teach my son to be himself, as that is where happiness starts.