I do not identify as butch, should I still come?
Butchfest is as much a celebration of diversity within the queer community as it is a weekend festival to recognize our community members who identify as Masculine of Center (see below). Anyone is welcome, regardless of gender orientation, gender expression, or sexual orientation, as long as a friendly, open, affirming, and respectful atmosphere can be maintained at any and all events during Butchfest.
There are many ways to identify as MoC. Some examples of identities include butch, stud, aggressive, macha, tomboy, boi, two-spirit, and many more… It’s hard to find a word that encompasses all of these, and many of these identities have strong cultural ties that Butchfest is dedicated to celebrating, so we hesitate to even try to classify who we are! Just know that there will be no gender policing, there are no “you must be this masculine to ride” signs posted anywhere – this is simply a gathering of our people, in all our diversity.
Butchest is for you if you identify as: lesbian, gay, bisexual, pansexual, transgender, same-gender loving, queer, gender non-conforming, GLBTQ ally, friend or family of a person from the GLBTQ community, or partner of any of the aforementioned. Butchfest is an inclusive community celebration.
Only one event, the BUTCH Voices Community Conversation, will have options for those who self identify as Masculine of Center in some way. All other events are open to all genders and orientations.
What do you mean by Masculine of Center?
To us here at Butchfest, we view gender epxression as a spectrum similar to sexual orientation. While some identify as more on the feminine side of the gender expression spectrum, others identify somewhere in between feminine and masculine, others identify as neither, both, or on different sides of the spectrum depending on circumstances and surroundings. If the “center” of the gender spectrum is somewhere between masculine and feminine (sometimes called androgynous), a person who identifies as “Masculine of Center” is a person who identifies more on the masculine side of the center of the gender expression spectrum. This is a loose term designed to reflect the wide variance in culture, gender identity, and personal expression.
Masculine of Center is a term developed by B. Cole of the Brown Boi Project.
What do you mean by “all genders and orientations welcome”?
Butchfest activities that have this notation are open to all who celebrate the queer community and affirm sexual and gender fluidity. At these gatherings, anyone is welcome, regardless of gender orientation, gender expression, or sexual orientation, as long as a friendly, open, affirming, and respectful atmosphere for all can be maintained.
What kinds of things are talked about at the Community Conversations?
It’s hard to describe what the Community Conversations are about because each community is so different. At the beginning of the conversations, the group will decide what topics feel most relevant and breakout into moderated sessions. Previous topics have included topics such as:
- what’s your relationship to the word/identity butch? what other words feel right or wrong?
- what do people call you?
- what words do you dislike?
- what words get used against you? what words feel affirming?
- what identity labels do you ascribe to, and how attached to those labels are you?
- what kind of tomes [books, films, music] have you found that have helped you explore your identity?
- what kind of mentors have you had? have you ever been a mentor?
- what kind of support have your partners offered in your identity explorations?
- how have your relationships changed during your identity development?
- what trends or patterns do you see in your home community that you like? don’t like?
- if you could make a change in the community, what would it be?
What is “Safe Space”?
A “Safe Space” is a space that any and all people can feel that they are free from discrimination, threats, or bullying behavior. A Safe Space is conducive to sharing experiences, celebrating differences, and recognizing the value in diversity.
Butchfest is dedicated to social justice and strives to maintain inclusivity and awareness around issues of gender, race, orientation, and other diversity variables.
Part of a “Safe Space” environment includes the ability to communicate respectfully without fear. If you are not sure of someone’s pronouns or preferences, please do not hesitate to ask kindly. This helps others feel more welcome and safe in their identities.
We would like to assume the best of every situation so that everyone feels comfortable. However, if there is clear disrespect, the offending party may be asked to leave so as to maintain the “Safe Space.”
What does queer mean?
“Queer” is a term that can be used to describe a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. We define Queer as a personal identity that can range anywhere on the LGBTQIA spectrum. A person that does not quite identify with widely-used labels to describe sexual orientation or gender can use the term “Queer” as a general label to describe themselves. Queer is a space where we can see past labels and checkboxes to celebrate gender and sexual fluidity, and share with others our self-defined identity.