Thursday, February 24, 2011


I have been thinking the last couple of weeks about some of the stereotypes within the queer community. As an active member of the political queer community, I am all for breaking negative stereotypes apart and shaking things up. As a member of the social queer community, my heart aches a little when I see so many of us trying to conform in order to fit within the box of politics only to bust out on the dance floor later in the night as if those things we've rejected are actually pat of us or something. I have been wondering if our beautiful queer culture has come to be seen as a stereotype and something we need to distance ourselves from.
The femme/butch dichotomy is something that is often seen as a foundation for queer relationships. Who's butch? Who's femme? Who's dominant? Who's submissive? Who's a top? Who's a bottom? And of course, our favorites. Who's the man? Who's the woman? So in 2011, what does the femme/butch relationship look like? Does it exist? Does it look different in lesbian relationships than in gay relationships?
So what if you're androgynous? What if you're gender queer? Femme who likes femmes? Butch who likes butch? What if you are *insert extensive list of other identities*? I've seen lots of adorable, androgynous, queer couples walking around (especially in Austin), and they seem to have it all figured out in their worlds. So should the femme/butch dichotomy be queered? Or looked at as something in our history rather than present and future?
Someone recently pointed out to me that when queer students come out in middle school or high school, they almost certainly have not read queer theory. But come out they do, and often they come out as femme, or butch. Is that a bad thing? Do people who identify as queer, gender queer, or androgynous see the LGB communities and the femme/butch relationship as less progressive? And is that potential for a divide later?
So what if you have a person that identifies as femme and feels that they both want and need to fulfill the role of homemaker, child watcher, caretaker, etc.? And what if that person wants to be in a relationship with someone who fulfills the stereotypical role of a butch? There seems to be a lot of opinion in the queer community and in queer theory about these questions.
So let's make space. Just because space is made for new identities and relationships and ideas, doesn't necessarily mean space has to be taken from the femme/butch dichotomy. These questions are all interesting to think about, but if we spend forever tearing apart and restructuring our queer relationships, we'll never have time to enjoy being queer and experiencing those relationships.

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