Chatter Regarding TopHotButches.com

There is a discussion happening online aboutWWW.TOPHOTBUTCHES.COM and whether or not:

a) People on the list were contacted before being posted on this list?
b) Do the people listed on TOPHOTBUTCHES.COM identify with the words used on this web site to describe them?
c) Should Trans guys be included on a web site where the domain name utilizes the word ‘Butches’?
d) Are Butch and Trans(gender) synonymous or interchangeable words? and;
e) Are they going to make this list of hotties into a 2010 Calendar?

Here are my thoughts on some of the discussion.

First, let me say that I was not contacted about being on this list; but maybe others were, who knows? It doesn’t really bother me that I wasn’t contacted but I could completely understand if individuals were upset. But I haven’t seen them writing in about it.

We all should know by now that it’s super simple to publish text and media with the current tools of technology. If you’re a public figure (which I reluctantly call myself) your name and image are more likely to be used for publishing; it kind of comes with the territory. I can imagine that there might be a few folks on the WWW.TOPHOTBUTCHES.COM list that would have liked the creator to reach out and mention that they were putting this list together and that they were going to be on it. So yeah, I realize that might feel uncomfortable to some, for sure.

I’ve read the pages in the site where Sinclair, the developer, describes what s/he is trying to accomplish and none of it comes across as malicious – AT ALL!

Second, I can’t imagine that very many of the “TOP HOT” people identify with the selected word ‘BUTCH’ in the domain name either; but again, when you read further into the web site, the there is a yet more great explanation by Sinclair about why the name “TOPHOTBUTCHES.COM”. I think Sinclair did an awesome job with the text.

Here is Sinclair’s explanation about why the name:
THE NAME: Top Hot Butches, I know, is a controversial thing to call this project. I bet very few of these people self-label as “butch.” I use the term here in the broadest sense – as an adjective descriptor, meaning an intentional display of masculinity. I am using it instead of another term – like androgynous, genderqueer, or transmasculine – because I, personally, want more butch reclamation and visiblity, because I think butch identity is more widely varied in range of expression and identity than is usually represented, because I think it is the most accessible and recognizable word representing some sort of female masculinity, because I want to encourage its reclamation and intentional display, because it is sharp and satisfying as a title, and because it is slightly controversial and will stir up interest. I mean absolutely no offense to anyone on this list, and purveyors of the list should know that the people on this list may not identify as butch – or as any of these terms – but they do present in a way that rejects compulsory femininity, and displays some sort of intentional masculinity, and that is what unites them all in this particular list.

What Sinclair may have forgot to mention is: The broader definition given here goes well beyond the available characters in a single domain name. I believe the developer took a broad swipe at the domain name, not at a community. Plus, in hindsight, it may be more genius than controversial to have done this. Why? Look at the visibility and dialog it’s created!

Does the domain name reflect how all of the people listed identify? No.

If you were to read more into the web site’s content, do the words described deeper in the pages of the site better identify the people on this list? Yes.

Does the full explanation on the web site cover everyone? No, how could it? Language is still being created to cover all the ways each of us feel about our gender and identities. Sinclair did an awesome job at trying to include everyone.

I’d like to think of this web project more simply as an opportunity to give VOICE, VISIBILITY, and a *SEXY* VOTE (which is kind of gross coming from me being on the list and all) to an under exposed population of the LBGTQ community.

Recognition of Butches, Masculine-Identified Female-Bodied, Androgynous, Genderqueer, Transmasculine, Studs, AGs, Dykes, Lesbians, Queers, and Transguys and all other folks (with more IDs than I’m capable of remembering here – I’m sorry for the ones I’ve overlooked), as HOT in Queer AND non-Queer culture. I feel like this kind of visibility is WAY FUCKING LONG OVERDUE.

Should Trans folks be included on this list? First and foremost that is up to the author of the web site and how that person perceives her/his community. It’s their web site and can post whatever they like; others do not have to subscribe to it.

If it were up to me OR if my input even mattered, I would have done exactly what Sinclair did. I’d say hell yeah Butches and Trans guys can SHARE THE SAME STAGE. However, no disresepct to Sinclair, it’s tough whats/he has gone through with all the feedbackl but I’d like to think that I would NOT have backed down to the critics and let them walk over me, my project and my intent.

I think it’s divisive and shameful to have conversations about who belongs and who doesn’t, not to mention futile. It’s completely subjective about how YOU SEE YOUR GENDER AND WHERE YOU FIT INTO YOUR OWN COMMUNITY. Sinclair was showing us how s/he sees it. We don’t have to agree or disagree with it.

The site’s intent got scewed with others long, arduous conversations in the comment sections of WWW.TOPHOTBUTCHES.COM site and other sites like WWW.FEMINISTING.COM about whether or not Trans folks should be included with Butches on a list of people who are hot?

I want it to be clear that it doesn’t make or break my day if I’m on this list. This is not necessarily the kind of thing I aspire to; BUT ABSULUTELY YES, BUTCHES AND TRANS PEOPLE CAN AND SHOULD BE INCLUDED ON THE SAME HOT LIST!

When it comes to whether or not Butches and Trans folks belong under an umbrella of hotness together, it makes me think of my what my friend Kim Pierce told me once a while back (and I couldn’t agree more with her message) and forgive me I’m paraphrasing here.. We are kindred, Butches and Trans guys share a lot of core feelings, history, language, and experiences. How we identify ourselves, our decisions and visible outcomes may vary, we are still family. I love Kim for saying this and chosing to build a bridge when others alienate their Trans siblings. Kim rocks!

ANOTHER ARGUMENT WAS: ARE BUTCHES BEING CALLED TRANS AND ARE TRANS BEING CALLED BUTCHES INTERCHANGEABLY?

This drives me FUCKING nuts when people try to say that people are doing this. Sinclair never stated this anywhere on the site, there is no text to support this notion that the words Butch and Trans are interchangeable. No one is doing that on this web site with the original content. It is the commenters who are the EXCEPTION on this site. THose are the people who were trying to draw that conclusion.

IN GENERAL PEOPLE WHO TRY TO HAVE THAT ARGUMENT DRIVES ME NUTS TOO. I think anyone with half a brain KNOWS that these two words: BUTCHES and TRANS cannot be substituted for one another. No one is saying that they are the same thing, so go fucking argue that by yourself somewhere else, douchebags.

I do think there are people out there who are intentionally trying to divide this corner of the Queer community, where Butches and Trans guys (who still identify as queer), reside. Maybe they are the same people who want to have the above argument. To that I say again, go argue that by yourself somewhere else. Butches and Trans guys are family, period.

Then there are those who believe you must choose between the two identities and you cannot be both. To that idea I say: DON’T FUCKING TELL ME HOW I FEEL! And I’ll do the same for you. I am who I say I am, you don’t get to tell me that.

But I think it’s really important to note that we all can identify as more than one thing, we do not have to choose. Butches CAN identify as Trans and the same in reverse, we are not limited to ONE ID PER CUSTOMER. There is no limit or shortage. Sure, they are not interchangeable but they certainly can coincide in the same individual’s identity. I am one of those people. I did not give up Butch to ID and trade it in for Trans, and I don’t have to. Who say? I fucking says, that’s who!

Here is how I describe MY gender, how I see it: I was born female; there is no question that I understand this. I have kept the “F” on my license and birth certificate because for me, that is a biological fact. Plus if I ever have to go to jail, God forbid, I’m going to the girl jail! I believe that ‘female’ is a biological sex and legal term; while my gender is something else entirely, that is something I get to create myself and modify as I see fit. I do not consider myself or identify as ‘male’, however I do identify as a ‘man’ (of sorts), these two words are not necessarily connected for me. Here are words I identify with and like to use when describing my gender, and usually in this order: Butch, Trans, Trans Man, Tranny Boi, Masculine, FTX (X = something more masculine) and FTM (Female to Masculine – not Male). I don’t feel like I was robbed of the correct biological sex; I believe I was born in the right body, and that I just may want to change it a little bit. Really, who hasn’t felt discomfort or dismay about some part of their body related to their gender and wished they could change it?

I think it is a GINORMOUS MISTAKE TO ASSUME HOW OTHERS IDENTIFY so you can include or exclude them. It is not for others to decide if others belong in a given community. It is for individuals to decide if they belong in that community based on how they feel. Feeling are subject to change. I get to decide based on how I identify if I belong in a particular community. Yes, there must be an honesty policy in place so that the few weirdoes who want to see what it’s like inside don’t get in. But this is a tricky thing, you have to trust the person who is claiming their identity to be truthful.

For those who might try to draw this principle back to the creation of the TOPHOTBUTCHES.COM list, don’t even! This list was not assuming identities to in order to include/exclude them into a community. This list was attempting to do something far simpler and more beautiful: to create a broad and welcoming umbrella GIVING RECOGNITION to these individuals as HOT and BEAUTIFUL for who they are, what they do, and how they proudly present their variant genders. IS THAT SO FUCKING WRONG? I wish things could be simpler and the discussions that follow them could stay more on track and see their intent more simply.

[Sigh]

For this next point, I’d like to pretend for a moment that I am not on the list, again for obvious reasons.

Here’s what is also nice about this web site.. Someone has generated a really fun BILF (Butches I’d Like to Fuck) list for those who are attracted to all the different types of people who made this list. What a fun little thing for my friend Margaret to look over with her Femme friends oogling over their favorite numbers.

Now I wouldn’t mind if someone made a list of FILFs so I could see who is doing what and all their awesomeness in the Femme portion of the LGBTQ community. I think this should be Sinclair’s (or someone else as cool as Sinclair) next great project: TOPHOTFEMMES.COM. I say bring it on!! [Oh crap, I'm sensing a objectification and sexism discussion coming on - eek!]

The major point for me is: IT HIGH TIME ALL GENDER VARIANT QUEERS WERE RECOGNIZED FOR THEIR BEAUTY ON WEB SITES JUST LIKE THESE!

One of many significant lessons as a result of this project: THE DIALOG NEEDS TO KEEP HAPPENING UNTIL PEOPLE WHO ARE INVOLVED IN THE DIALOG ARE AT PEACE WITH ONE ANOTHER, NOT AFRAID OF TAKING UP EACH OTHERS SPACE, LEARNING THAT THERE’S ROOM FOR US ALL; CREATE, LEARN, USE AND RESPECT LANGUAGE AND FEELINGS OF OTHERS. AND STOP SAYING DIVISIVE AND PHOBIC THINGS TO ONE ANOTHER IN OUR DISCUSSIONS.

And ultimately if you if you disagree with the creator of the TOPHOTBUTCHES.COM web site, don’t read it or by all means I completely support you starting your own TOPHOT_____.COM site and publish anything you like on it. But please note you are only allowed 63 characters in your domain name. Make sure you include every possible ID in the domain in order to avoid big discussions and long blogs like these.

As far as whether or not there will be a Calendar of the TOPHOTBUTCHES.COM, I have no clue what Sinclair might do, BUT THERE SHOULD BE!! My vote is YESSS!!! Because you know it’s going to be a good year when Rachel Maddow is Ms./Mr. January 2010! Yeeeow!

XOXO, Love you, mean it!
Ian

Tags: ,