I Am Woman
By Lia Roque
This article was written by the author for her company’s Women’s Month celebration with the theme #ChoosetoChallenge.
I felt very connected to this theme because as part of the LGBTQ+ community, we constantly challenge society even without intending to. Our presence as queer people questions lifelong views and ideas that those outside of our community grew up with. As I celebrate Pride Month, I would like to continue the Women’s month theme by challenging you to open your mind to the definition of Woman. In this day and age, we know women come in different forms, shapes, sizes, character and attitudes. We are finally breaking away from stereotypes and emerging into how we want to be individually defined. One type of woman I’m sure you see around but cannot figure out yet is the Butch Woman. The dictionary meaning of “butch” is “notably or deliberately masculine in appearance or manner.”
I would simply describe the word butch as me.
When you open my closet you will see pants, slacks, my bow ties, caps, hats and mostly button-down shirts. My shoes are mostly sneakers, oxfords, and boots. In short: not your typical women’s wardrobe. I enjoy the outdoors, playing sports, and I take care of assembling and fixing things at home. After reading this short description of myself one might think that I want to be a man, but the answer would definitely be NO. Although butch women present themselves as “masculine” the one thing they don’t want to be is to be a man.
Growing up, I enjoyed my Barbies and tea sets but I was envious of my male cousins playing with their remote control cars. I was always given dresses by my grandmother but I always preferred wearing pants and sneakers. Never did I own any ribbons because I always had my hair short. What I enjoyed and how I presented myself was not typical of a young lady, but luckily this was not an issue with my family so I didn’t think I was different. Growing up I slowly observed and realized that I was not like my other classmates or friends, and this got me started in questioning myself.
What I saw around me and how society defined gender roles I thought I wanted to be a boy. Then when I discovered I liked girls, and knowing that girls liked boys, I thought I had to be a boy so girls would like me too. With all of these in my head I just said to myself I should act like a boy but it still didn’t feel right because inside I knew I was a girl.
Things changed when I got older and went to university. I joined organizations where I was able to express my authentic self and I was able to understand and define who I was. That’s where I discovered the term “butch”. During those years I just defined myself as a soft butch (yes, there are different types) because I wanted to make sure that people still felt that I didn’t want to be a man hence putting “soft” beside the word butch. Then slowly I got to meet other butch women and they were like me, masculine presenting but never wanting to be male. This made me feel comfortable with who I was.
Now that I am older I have fully embraced myself and now define myself as just Butch. Being butch is my identity. Some may see me as wanting to be a man but I love everything that is woman about me. I love my curves, my hips, soft features, extra fat and even my estrogen-filled system. Most especially, I love women’s strength and resilience. I may not be able to feel sexy in stilettos but I feel sexy and hot wearing my bow tie with my leather oxfords. You’ll never see me in a dress but you’ll see me in a bikini on the beach. I just love being a woman!
Now I challenge you to keep an open mind and see every woman individually because the definition of woman has no boundaries. With this being said, hopefully it’s now clearer that there’s no man in a lesbian relationship as well.
My name is Lia. I’m butch, but above everything else, I am Woman.
Here is one of my favorite articles which features butch women, because visibility is important.
The Butches and Studs, In Their Own Words
Happy Pride everyone!