When one of my daughters was a little girl around 9 or 10, she wanted a particular toy truck for Christmas. She got her wish, and the huge smile on her face as she opened her present showed just how much she wanted that shinny new truck. She couldn't wait to take her gem outside and show her friends in the neighborhood. I smiled as I watched her happily trot out our door with her favorite toy tucked lovingly under her arm. It wasn't long, though, before happiness changed to concern and sadness as I saw my daughter walking through the sane door in tears, dragging her favorite toy behind her.
Thinking that she had either hurt herself or been the loser in a kid's name calling battle, I ran to her to find out what was wrong. Through sobs she said, "They said my truck was a boy's truck." Through surprise and frustration I said, "Do you see a penis on your truck?" My daughter stopped crying. I watched as her brain moved from sobbing to thinking again and she said with surprise, "No." Then, she wiped her face and went back outside to play, wiser and armed with a response for her teasers.
Little did I know that all while I gave my daughter ways to counter gender specific restrictions, I was living a life where my toys, the ones that would have brought a huge smile to my face, were also considered to be boy's. In addition, as a child who grew up with little guidance on how to counter those who perpetuated the belief that society's gender specific restrictions were more than just arbitrary decisions, I had been forced to create a life around an unidentified, unnamed hole. This was a hole that came from being denied the toys to which I naturally gravitated. Because of this, I had learned to live with the knowledge that something was missing in my life; that something was me and my butch identity. The suppression and out right denial of my butchness created a lack fueled by feelings of loss, sadness, and frustration.
Time marches on, however, and with new generations come new opportunities for change. Recently, the leadership of a school in England decided to give their coed students the choice of whether to wear blouses and skirts or slacks and shirts. You can read more about this here. While their decision was made to become more trans inclusive today, this butch dyke kid from the past, who was extremely uncomfortable in dresses and whose foot did not slip smoothly into girl's shoes, would have considered the freedom to wear slacks and shirts to school a dream come true.
Happy Butch Femme Day,