how to be a mom to a butch

July 30, 2008

For the most part my mom always let me be my butch self. Fact is, she often thought of me as a boy cause it was just easier that way. So me and my cousin, Rich, often got the same kinds of presents – Matchbox cars, GI Joes, army uniforms and toy machine guns. And when I wasn’t wearing my school uniform, me and Rich often wore the same kinds of clothes – camper shorts, hi-tops, jeans and t-shirts. Looking back I’d say my mom usually got the outter markers right for something we both knew ran deeper than that, but no one was talking gender theory in the 60s and 70s, at least no one we knew. Some of us were just living it and living with it. Just like I live it now and my mom understands that without having to tease apart all the little details.

My mom reads my blog. (Hey mom! If you’re reading this.) So she knows about this girl in western Mass. Like any good parent and she asked me what it is I like about this girl so much. I ran down a list of things that seemed to satisfy her curiosity, but for the record it’s not easy to explain a girl who moves you like one of your favorite songs or a poem you wanna read over and over. And I didn’t feel like I’d done it justice, so a little while later when we saw some very middle of the road Indiana lesbians in the parking lot at Glendale I was inspired to tell my mom that another thing I like about this girl is she’s a femme and she likes butches. My mom said, “Butch?” And I told her, yeah, dykes like me, we’re butch. To which my mom replied “Well, I just think you look like a Marine.” I laughed and said something like I don’t know if I’m tough like that, tough like a Marine. And to her credit, she was pretty perfect in response, as though it was it her DNA to say the right thing; she said, “You seem pretty tough to me.”


5 responses to “how to be a mom to a butch”

  1. ned says:


  2. proteanme says:


  3. Mom says:

    Hey – there are a couple of stories you may have forgotten. I remember asking you to wear a dress for your HS graduation. And you did so. And really looked nice. But I felt so guilty when I saw you walking in front of mother and me – I actually felt as if I had asked you to cross-dress!

    And there was the time I asked you how you knew you were gay. You told me – and then asked me how I knew that I wasn’t gay. Don’t want to tell it all in print – just curious as to whether you remember the conversation.
    Love, Mom

  4. proteanme says:

    i do remember the dress. just like confirmation for me. i fel like an alien. i don’t remember the gay conversation. you’ll have to email me that one. it sounds familiar, but i don’t remember what we said.

  5. Deanne says:

    Your blog and your wonderfully shared introspection on being butch is one of the richest, truest things I’ve had the pleasure of reading in a very long time. You write beautifully and with a boldness. Your brilliance radiates with each chosen word.
    And then, to read the written dialog between you and your mother … well, I can’t begin to find the words to convey the deep regard I feel. I’m too awe-struck.

leave a reply