Tag Archives: soft butch

What Makes Female Masculinity Hot?

There is something about being in close proximity to a butch woman that makes me go a little fluttery inside – kind of melty and shy, and occasionally, bold.

Perhaps this is accentuated by the fact that butches are rare and precious in my particular corner of the universe, but when and wherever they cross my path, something within me sits up and takes notice – because I share the other side of the secret.

Be sure to read: 8 Weirdly Adorable Things Soft Butches Do That We Can’t Get Enough Of

I know the special magic that happens when female yin meets female yang, and the opposite polarity locks us together like magnets caught up in each other’s sway.

There’s nothing sexier than being yourself.

How To Come Out As Butch

Some people are supportive of lesbians – but only if they look a certain way. That “way” is usually thin, feminine, and unthreatening to gender binaries or to men.

If you feel more masculine – aka stud, butch, or masculine-of-center – then starting to express your masculinity can be more stressful than coming out in the first place.

Being butch means you’ll often be read as gay immediately. It means that people who initially supported your sexuality may be suddenly uncomfortable.

It means your friends and family may question who you are. How do you transition from feminine to butch smoothly?

1. Start small.

If you don’t feel comfortable changing your entire wardrobe overnight, then start with small changes. One day, wear a men’s button-up with women’s skinny jeans. Another day, wear a dress with a men’s snapback. Experiment with bow ties, men’s sweaters, suits, argyle socks, and trousers.

Not only will this allow people to acclimate to your new gender expression, but you’ll also be able to acclimate to their reactions. Over time, raised eyebrows won’t even faze you.

2. Find your style.

Men’s fashion is very diverse, so give yourself room to experiment. Although you may think you identify with a specific style – are you a dapper qt? or a hipster john? – that may change as you explore.

Read men’s fashion blogs. Read women’s menswear blogs. Shop at thrift stores. Order basic men’s pieces from Forever 21 and H&M so that you can mix and match. Browse international streetwear stores. Hit pop-up shops. Steal from your brother.

 3. Be cool with your female days.

Just because you start to identify as butch, that doesn’t mean you have to present as butch all the time. Gender is nuanced and gender expression can be even more so.

Some days you might wake up wanting to wear a dress. That doesn’t make you a fake or a fraud; it’s just the way your body wants to express itself that day, so honor it.

4. Don’t be homophobic.

Some butch women won’t date butch women because it’s too “gay,” as if it would be like two men dating. Not only does that mentality insinuate that gay men should be ashamed, but it also heavily implies that gay female relationships are only okay as long as one partner is more feminine than the other.

Masculinity and femininity aren’t necessary for a relationship. So don’t react like a homophobic straight man when you see two butch people together, or when your feminine friend asks your opinion on another stud.

5. Don’t be a misogynist.

Similarly, it’s depressingly easy and common for butch women to internalize heteronormative anti-women attitudes. etc. A butch woman may call women weak, may be possessive or even abusive, may objectify women – and then excuse her behavior because she’ s a woman too. Being a woman isn’t a hall pass for problematic behavior.

6. Be yourself.

Expressing yourself as stud or butch can be confusing, but at the end of the day, it’s worth it if you’re being true to yourself. On difficult days, keep that in mind. Every struggle brings you closer to the person you were meant to be.

8 Reasons To Love Masculine Women

I’ve always been a lover of the many varieties of women out there. There are no two alike, and that makes them all incredible to me.

Still, there’s something to be said about a woman who doesn’t fit the traditional “female aesthetic” – whether she rocks sweat pants and a sports bra, basketball shorts and a snapback, or a suit and tie… I’m all for it.

There’s something magical about the way they present themselves.

We’ve put together a list of the top 8 things about masculine women. If there’s something you love about butch women that we’ve left off the list, let us know in the comments!

1. They are comfortable being themselves.

When society told masculine-presenting women that they “looked like men”, the masculine women piped back with “no, we look better.” I admit I’m paraphrasing here, but there’s something awesome about wearing what makes you comfortable without worrying if it makes other people comfortable.

2. They don’t care about your beauty standards.

Masculine women generally present themselves as more confident than other women, because they don’t hold themselves to the same standards of beauty that most women do. While this transcendence past the world of cultural norms isn’t a butch-specific thing (and there are other standards that butch women are held to), their decision to reject the associations with “what a woman should look like” is the most widespread of all subcommunities.

3. They look good.

To be clear, all women look good as long as they believe they look good. But there’s something incredibly handsome about a woman who can take what she wears and make it her own – even if social norms tell her it’s not for her. (Spoiler alert: All clothes are gender neutral.)

4. They need love.

Masculine women receive more overt discrimination than feminine women (which isn’t to say that femme lesbians aren’t discriminated against, too). They can be victims of misgendering, stranger’s taunts, workplace discrimination, and a whole host of ugly problems.

5. Cologne = heaven for your nose.

Let me be very clear: There is such a thing as too much cologne, and there is such a thing as bad cologne. But most masculine women over the age of ten can figure those things out for themselves, and generally, they smell pretty good.

6. They’ll make you feel safe.

Even if it’s totally an act and inside they’re the biggest softies, you’ll still feel really safe when you’re with your butch woman. (Just be sure to remind her that she doesn’t have to fit the stereotype of the badass or the thug – only if that’s actually who she is.)

7. They’re usually gentle(wo)men.

Most enjoy the chivalrous things like opening doors for you, buying you flowers, and making sure you finish first, if you catch my drift. Plus, their head game is usually off the charts.

8. They’re an important part of the queer community.

Probably one of the most important reasons of all is that masculine women are an important part of the queer community – just like everyone else. In a group such as ours, there’s so much hostility from the outside, it’s important to keep it all in perspective. Butch women, like everyone else within our community, deserve to be loved, respected, and treated right.

8 Weirdly Adorable Things Soft Butches Do That We Can’t Get Enough Of

Soft butches. My weakness. They’re a little awkward with their boyish looks, and hands in pocket stance.

Yes, they give off the queer masculinity front, bit deep-down, underneath that butch exterior, they’re a soft as a puppy.

In fact, some of the more adorable things about them are also simultaneously some of the weirdest.

Here are some of the strange things you do that we can’t help but find endearing:

1. When she zones out while she’s staring at you

Sometimes she does this thing where she’ll zone out completely while she’s staring at you, to the point where she doesn’t even notice that you’ve noticed she’s looking. After it takes a second for her to bounce back, you can’t help but smile at her. That was so cute.

2. When she accidentally drops a really impressive fact

Intelligence is undoubtedly sexy, but when it leaks out of her pores in a (seemingly) accidental moment, you’re sold. You hate pretentiousness, but what you don’t hate is her giving you a little lesson about some awesome historical moment or recent scientific discovery you hadn’t known about before.

3. When she geeks out over things

Am I the only person who finds it absolutely adorable when a woman obsesses over something, especially if the thing she is obsessing over is kind of weird? It shows she has passion and is unapologetically herself, and that is something you can’t get enough of.

4. When she’s flex in a picture “by accident”

We’re not stupid, we can tell when you’re flexing, even if it’s subtle. But it’s pretty damn cute when she’s try to pretend like you don’t notice. You may even jokingly comment about how “buff” she looks, which will probably make her flex even more.

5. When she can’t dance or sing, but try anyway

You know that butch at the party who’s hanging out in the corner and moving slightly out-of-tempo to the song blasting from the speakers? She’s teetering on the line between being confident and wanting to run out of the room, but she manages to stay anyway. She’s really trying, and it’s adorable.

6. When her humour is extremely deadpan

If her humour has the perfect amount of dryness and deadpan-ness, she’ll go far. Give me a good one-liner and I’m sold.

7. When she’s holding a baby

This is the greatest thing ever because, as per butch and femme stereotypes, it’s a slightly unnatural sight. Nothing makes our heads scream, “I want to have your babies!” like seeing her hold a baby.

8. When you’re feeling socially awkward

She’ll clutch you by the hand, looking you in the eyes and nervously utter how good you look tonight – oh it the key to our hearts.

How To Be A Butch Lesbian, According To WikiHow

Have you been wondering how to market yourself as a butch lesbian lately? With the invisibility surrounding femmes, it’s no wonder that some people may seek to change their image in order to seem “more gay”. (Hey, I’ve done it – but not through my apparel.)

We took a minute to check out the WikiHow page on “How to Be a Butch Lesbian” – and here’s what we think!

Step One: Ask yourself why you want to be this way.

WikiHow-butch-01What Wiki says: Why do you want to dress this way? Will you feel attractive and natural in this look? Are you concerned about how will others react? What are the risks of changing your style?

Yes, this is always a good first step. Before you make any drastic changes in any part of your life, it’s important to understand why you want to make this change. It’s something we often consider when deciding whether or not to come out in the first place – so it should make sense that it would apply to your style, too.

I think it’s important that you change your style if the style you’re currently displaying does not reflect your true self. After all, our personal style is simply an extension of who we are on the inside – and it should be treated as such.

Step Two: Develop more masculine mannerisms.

WikiHow-butch-02What Wiki says: Walk with more confidence and stride. Don't slouch or sit with your legs together. Watch the way men move and move like them. Try to only copy more of the popular guys, when observing them think, is this guy cool? Does he seem attractive to girls? If yes, he is a good example since you do not want to move awkwardly.

While I understand what the WikiHow article is trying to say here, I think they’re taking the wrong approach. You should change your style to a more butch one if it fits in with your life – you shouldn’t have to pretend to be something you’re not, under any circumstances.

The article suggests that you should watch the “more popular guys” and copy their mannerisms. It’s important to realize that sometimes, the guys who are more popular are those who use lies and trickery to win over women – and that’s not something we should strive for.

Be you, and try to be the best you – but don’t emulate someone else just because you envy their success with ladies. (And besides, if you were going to emulate someone to be a better butch lesbian – wouldn’t you want to emulate a butch lesbian? Just my two cents.)

Step Three: Get some masculine clothing.

WikiHow-03What Wiki says: You can buy men's clothing, or, buy women's clothing that is boyish. Choose colors that you like in sizes that fit your body nicely. Some good things to get; a few polo shirts, T shirts with cool designs on them (Try not to go with big logos or dorky souvenir shirts); Loose-fitting jeans (Not too baggy, not too loose - You can go with men's jeans or women's boy-cut jeans since those are made for a female frame); Dress clothes - pants suits, shirts with ties, and nice shoes are great for special occasions. Do learn to tie a tie , as clip-ons are tacky. Get a few belts and a nice watch (go for a neutral color). A chain to wear around your neck can look handsome. Shoes. You really only need 3 pairs: comfy shoes, dress shoes, and boots. Binder. Some butches dislike having large breasts and may wish to bind them down. Boxers No butch should wear girly undies. Go for comfort. Plaid, solid, or simple patterns are best. For the most part, you will be the only one that sees them; keep in mind that your girlfriend will see them so they need to look good. Messenger bag or backpack. Purses are to be avoided.

If you strive to be a butch lesbian (no matter what your reasons are), masculine clothing is pretty much a must. It doesn’t have to be men’s clothing, even – there are some “less feminine” options in most women’s clothing brands that will suit lesbians much better.

This is because men usually have different body shapes than women. If we were to dress in clothing that wasn’t built for our body type, we wouldn’t look very good in it. There are now some clothing designers who are specifically creating “men’s clothing for women” – these should be your first choice, as they are designed both for the look you’re after as well as the body you have.

(Oh, and in regards to their statement about boxers – you should wear whatever underwear feels comfortable to you. If that’s boxers, so be it! But you shouldn’t feel the need to match your underwear to your clothing if it’s not reasonable for you. One of the studliest girls I’ve ever dated happened to wear hipsters underneath her baggy jeans. You know what? It was pretty cute, too.)

Step Four: Skip the make-up.

WikiHow-04What Wiki says: Concealer for blemishes and pimples is fine. Eyeliner is okay in small amounts and also make absolutely sure that you're always brush your teeth.

Often, butch lesbians and studs feel that they can’t wear make-up because it’s “girly”. This is a ridiculous assumption. Make-up is a personal choice and the implication that it’s just for girly women (or girly men) is ridiculous. If you like make-up, wear it! If you don’t like make-up, don’t!

I do understand why this association is made, though. Make-up is targeted towards feminine insecurities. But that doesn’t mean that all who wear make-up are insecure, or even that they are all feminine. Need a solid example for this one to sink in? Johnny Depp. Enough said.

Step Five: Get a short hair cut.

WikiHow-05What Wiki says: Look at both women and men for inspiration. To find a look that will look good on you, ask the hairdresser what will match your face shape.

A lot of butch women have short hair – but not all. My current girlfriend is, as I like to refer to her, “ostentatiously gay” – that is, her clothing style is a bit stereotypical for lesbians. But her hair is much longer than mine (and admittedly more beautiful, too!). When we’re out in public, many people are surprised to see how long her hair is, after seeing how she dresses. I have never understood why this is a point of surprise – but I think “tutorials” like this may be, in part, to blame.

The length of your hair is in no way a determining factor in your masculinity or femininity. I’ve had “super manly” friends (both male and female) who had long hair, and “super feminine friends” (again, both male and female) with short hair. Your hair is an extension of your personal style, no different than your clothing choices or your decision to wear make-up or not.

Step Six: Be active.

WikiHow-06 What Wiki says: Try to get into a sport or just work out. Be proud of your body and its strengths. Looking attractive and gaining muscle can also be a benefit.

This one falls in the category of “be you” as well. If you want to play sports, you should most definitely play sports – but it’s not for everyone.

Of course, everyone should strive to be physically active, as it’s good for your health, both physical and emotional. But it doesn’t make you any less butch if you don’t like basketball and (gasp) softball.

Step Seven: Act the part.

WikiHow-07What Wiki says: Be confident and masculine. Be chivalrous and gentleman-like. Try your best to stay calm and in control of your emotions in public. Confidence is key, so be sure to take charge and be assertive. Most of all, be yourself.

No, no, no!

It’s not that there’s anything wrong with the advice they’ve included in this section – it’s a good idea to be chivalrous and confident. It’s great to stay in control of your emotions when you’re in public, whether you consider yourself butch or femme or anywhere in between. But it shouldn’t be acting. It should be genuine.

I think the writer of the original article knew this, too, as they closed with “Most of all, be yourself” – even though this contradicts most of the other things they’d written.

So what should we really do?

Above all else, we should strive to be ourselves. If that means you dress in sharp suits with a bit of makeup, so be it! If it means that you wear skirts and dresses with a short hair cut, so be it! Our style is a part of ourselves, and it should be a reflection of who we are – not of who we want to be.

If you find yourself wanting to make the transition into a butch/stud style, nothing should stop you from achieving that. But if you have to change many things about yourself in order to reach that goal, it’s probably not a reasonable goal to strive for.

No one can really tell you who or what you are – that’s for you to decide on your own. You might think that you have to change yourself to attract the girls you want to attract. This may be true, if you’re not a “good fit” – but generally speaking, there’s someone out there who will love you for exactly who you are. If you’re changing yourself to attract a woman (or to get others to accept you), you’re not being genuine to yourself, and you will have to go through so much work just to market yourself.

Instead of trying to market yourself to someone who’s not interested in you, you should focus less on labels and allow people to know who you really are. It might mean that you don’t get what you want, but it’s not fair to others if you misrepresent yourself in order to gain.

Always be true to yourself, and to your partners. Keep doing what you need to do, but don’t add the unnecessary pressure of fitting in somewhere you don’t belong.

Butch vs. Stud vs. Tomboy: Putting Things into Perspective

What’s the difference between the “masculine” labels, anyway? Aren’t a butch and a stud the same thing?

Lesbian labels span a wide spectrum. At the far-masculine end, we have the butch lesbians: The ones who look and act like men. At the far-feminine end, we have the lipstick lesbians: The ones who are often misappropriated as straight women. In a community that’s so solidly dependent on inclusion, it’s important to understand that each of these labels means something different to everyone – but generally they fall under certain criteria.

Today, we’ll be addressing the labels that fall on the more masculine side: Butch, stud, and tomboy. After a bit of examination, we should be able to determine the primary differences and start addressing our partners by the appropriate terms (as long as the term is one they agree with; remember, labels are a very personal thing, and no one can assign a label to someone else).

Butch Lesbians

Butch lesbians are those who have helped shape the stereotypes involving who “looks” gay. Generally, when we think of “butch women”, we think of short hair, flannel, and denim. Of course, a woman’s individual style still plays a heavy part into this, but the short definition of a butch woman is “a woman who presents herself to look like a man, but doesn’t identify as a man”. This is a different category than trans men, as we have addressed in a previous article, but society may tend to lump the two together.

If your partner identifies as a butch woman, she will likely choose to identify with “masculine” characteristics. Many times, for example, a butch woman would prefer to be called “handsome” rather than “beautiful”. (Shortly after coming out, I made the mistake of telling a stone-butch that she was pretty – and she was rather offended!)

Butch women are also likely to have more masculine interests as well. I have the urge to jump to the “lumberjack” stereotype, but this is purely a point of reference. Truly, butch women may be into cars, or sports, or even construction trades.

There is a stereotype that butch lesbians tend to be misogynists – but generally this isn’t true. In reality, they are the epitome of feminism – proving that you don’t have to look, think, or act “like a woman” to be a woman.

Stud Lesbians

Studs are slightly different from butch women, although they may share many of the same traits. A stud will typically dress masculine as well, but probably less “baggy” and more stylish than butch women. (This isn’t to say that butch women can’t look good – just that “style” isn’t as high on their priorities.) A stud may have long or short hair, but she will typically keep it held back if it’s longer. My girlfriend, for example, identifies as a stud, and she wears her very-long hair in braids. Occasionally I’m able to convince her to leave it free, but only if I offer to brush it out for her at the end of the day.

Studs tend to invest a lot of thought into their fashion choices, and they will want to look good for their partners, as well as the other people they encounter during their day. She’ll probably have more shoes than a butch woman (who really only needs a pair of boots and a pair of sneakers), and her clothes may take up more of the closet than a more feminine woman’s clothing. That’s not a bad thing! In fact, it’s nice to have a partner that cares about their appearance – as long as it’s not the most important aspect of their personality.

Studs typically regard themselves as “players” in some aspect of the definition. Some may have a hard time with faithfulness, although the label doesn’t guarantee it. Some may play team sports as they have a competitive nature. Either way, they are typically drawn by a need to be the best – the best looking, the best lover, the best basketball player, the best at whatever they attempt.


Tomboys are a different category altogether. They don’t necessarily identify themselves as masculine, although their clothing is usually on the more masculine side of the scale. They aren’t likely to be offended by your use of the word “beautiful” – or handsome, or gorgeous, or really any positive attributes. They’re happy that you find them attractive, and they are happy that you felt the need to tell them.

Typically, tomboys don’t care too much about how they look – so you will be pleasantly surprised when they make an effort to look extra good for you. Maybe their hair is normally in a basic ponytail or covered by a cap, and then one day they’ll leave it down. They may even dress feminine from time to time – although they’re likely to feel out of place if they try to force it.

The nature of a tomboy starts young for many women. They may have had more fun playing in the dirt than playing inside with their dolls, and they may have felt more comfortable playing baseball than learning ballet. However, they are likely to have a background that combines what society would expect from a lady (such as playing with dolls and dancing ballet) with what they would rather do instead (such as playing baseball and getting muddy).

It’s also important to note that “tomboy” is not considered a specifically lesbian label. Yes, there are straight tomboys, too! However, there is a stereotype in the heterosexual community that “tomboys” are always lesbians that just haven’t come out yet. This falls into the category of not assigning labels to others – and someone’s sexuality is an extra personal label indeed.

Within the lesbian community, a tomboy may also be referred to as a “soft stud”. Sure, she usually presents herself in a more masculine manner, but occasionally she’ll switch things up and veer more towards the feminine, or more towards the stud (remember, a studly appearance implies a greater fashion sense). Her long hair and feminine body type will remind you that she is definitely a woman and definitely identifies as such, but her clothing choices could go either way.


Of course, this list in no way represents every lesbian out there – and not even every masculine lesbian. Someone’s label is a personal decision that deals with how they see themselves and how they want others to perceive them. Check back in as we detail some of the other common lesbian labels.

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Maintaining Your Butch Identity

Is it difficult to keep your identity “in line” with your life?

Even among the lesbian community, butch lesbians face a fair amount of scrutiny. With the newly gained acceptance of transgender individuals (both male-to-female and female-to-male) in society, many butch women feel pressured to identify as a “trans man” without necessarily feeling that way.

I have even experienced this in my own life, although I do not identify as butch. I have had previous partners who felt that they were “unable” to correct people who referred to them as “sir”, and partners who questioned whether they desired to transition – simply based on the fact that society viewed them as wanting to be men.

Why is it that, in the age of acceptance and understanding, butch women are such a mystery to the rest of us?

Certainly, I’ve met my fair share of lesbians who expressed a genuine interest in transitioning, but it’s important to realize that your “gender identity” and your “gender expression” are not the same thing. Just as “drag queens” are not the same as “trans women”, different too are “butch women” and “trans men”.

In the past, trans men may have been forced to label themselves as “butch lesbians” as there was no readily-available identifier available to them. While it’s wonderful that they are now gaining more acceptance and visibility, it is having the unfortunate side effect of making butch lesbians who wish to maintain their female identity intact without feeling pressured to dress in a feminine manner or present themselves as “men in women’s bodies”.

This puts butch women in a particularly invisible spot when compared to other lesbians. While once women weren’t considered “really gay” unless they expressed themselves as butch, now lesbians are not considered “really women” unless they choose to dress “like women”.

In a community where we already face so much invisibility from the outside, this can be extremely painful when it comes from those within the community.

The difference between gender identity and gender expression

There is a world of difference between how you choose to identify yourself and how you choose to express yourself. There is definitely a world of room for “grey areas” in both labels, but the most important thing to remember is that you cannot assign a label to someone else – no matter how well you think you know them. They know themselves better, I promise.

Gender identity refers to who you believe yourself to be on the outside. It’s definitely not a clear-cut black and white, as we are seeing a new influx of those who identify as “genderqueer” and “androgynous”. This isn’t a flaw in the person – it’s a flaw in the system that tries to push us into an individual label for its own convenience.

Once, the only labels to choose from were “cis-male”, “cis-female”, “trans-male”, and “trans-female”.

Now we also have “genderqueer”, “androgynous”, and “non-binary” – all of which mean essentially the same thing, but perhaps to different extents. The individual label that a person uses should be based solely on their own choices.

Gender expression, on the other hand, refers to how you choose to be portrayed by your outward appearance. Remember in your childhood when you were taught “it’s what’s on the inside that counts?” Well, this is a good place to practice that. Just because someone chooses to wrap themselves in clothes traditionally attributed to the opposite gender does not automatically mean that they wish to identify as the opposite gender.

What can you do to be a better ally?

It’s important that you ask, rather than assume, as to what your masculine-presenting friend or lover chooses to be identified as. If she chooses to refer to herself with female pronouns, a female name, and only masculine clothing, chances are, she wishes to remain female – but it’s always a good idea to ask.

If, on the other hand, your friend or lover chooses to refer to themselves with gender-neutral terms (such as they, or any pronouns they have created for themselves), it’s best to honor those choices.

There is also a tendency of some genderqueer individuals to refer to themselves in both male and female terms, depending on their outward expression at the time. This can be a bit confusing for the allies in their lives, but chances are they will be able to tell if you’re making an honest effort to honor their wishes – and they will appreciate this effort.

Lastly, there is the category of “butch lesbians” who truly wish to identify as men. They may be unaware that this is a legitimate option, as they may have faced hesitation in the past, or they may be uncertain of their commitment to their transition. Some people decide to never surgically transition – and it’s important for you to realize that they are still as “real” as those who do choose to go under the knife. The decision to transition is deeply personal, and truthfully, their anatomy is really none of your business unless you are sleeping with them. (And, even if you are sleeping with them, you would be out of line to try to impose your own labels onto them. It’s their body, not yours.)

Some notes for those who still identify as “butch lesbians” and not trans men

Don’t be afraid to correct someone if they refer to you with male pronouns or other terms. This is your body – you should not settle for anyone else’s definition of who you are. That is for you alone to decide.

Don’t feel pressured to transition if it’s not something you really want. Transitioning is a long process that can be quite expensive and potentially traumatic. The decision to undergo a transition is yours and yours alone.

Don’t feel that you have to hide your femininity in order to keep your “butch” identity intact. Just because you identify as butch doesn’t mean that you can’t be feminine as well. You shouldn’t allow your label to define you so deeply that you lose who you are.

Don’t ever compromise your sense of self in order to satisfy someone else’s requests. They’re not the one that has to live in your body – you are.
Do speak to your partner about how you feel. If she doesn’t identify as butch, she likely doesn’t understand the struggles you go through with your label and your identity.

Inform her – you will grow closer through this experience.

Do adequately weigh your options before making any “permanent” decisions. This is a huge undertaking, and butch women are in a particularly unique situation.

Do feel that you are allowed to change your identity. There is nothing set in stone, and (within reason) you have the ability to change things at any point in time. What works for you now may not work for you in ten years – you should take inventory of your life on a regular basis to see if your identity still matches.

Do understand that you are not alone. Every person’s situation is different, at least slightly, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find someone to help you answer the tough questions. Find your own personal support group, and discuss your issues with them.

Do value yourself. The true butch lesbian is certainly a rare creature – celebrate it! You are magical in your own rights. Don’t let anyone dull your shine.

What does this mean for the lesbians in their lives?

I have been friends with many lesbians whose partners have transitioned – and the decision whether to stay together or split up vary from couple to couple. In my personal opinion, your choice to stay with your partner should have more to do with your connection than with your own labels.

It’s also important to realize that the only person who must deal with their identity is themselves. If your partner is in the process of transitioning (whether hormonally, anatomically, both, or neither) – you are of course not required to stay by their side. Everyone is entitled to their own preferences, and if you are only attracted to the female anatomy, it can be difficult to come to terms with the idea of your partner no longer having those female characteristics.

However, just as important as it is for you to maintain your preferences, there is their right to maintain the identity that works best for them. Sometimes these identities change, either due to a new understanding or due to the general fluidity of the human condition. If you find yourself truly unwilling to accept their newly disclosed identity, it may be best for both of you if you part ways. It’s not fair to your partner to be confined to the label that you would “prefer” they fit.

Overall, the subject of gender identity and gender expression is deeply personal for those involved. It will take a fair amount of communication between you and your partner in order to understand where your relationship stands. In an ideal world, everyone would be able to accept their partner for the person they are inside, regardless of whether it matched their outward appearance or not. One should never be pressured into making someone else “more comfortable” through exclusion of their innermost feelings.

Butch vs. Femme: The Ultimate Misconceptions

For the entirety of my life, I have been caught somewhere between a girly-girl and a tomboy. I love the idea of getting dressed up in makeup and high heels, but I’m more likely to throw on a tank top and a pair of sweats. In fact, until recently, I joked that I didn’t know how to be a girl – wearing makeup made me feel like a drag queen, despite having no inkling of a desire to transition.

That being said, the labels of “femmes” and “studs” themselves can carry a bit of a stereotype around them. Just as with all stereotypes out there, just because it’s “sometimes true” doesn’t make it the rule. I’ve had the chance to be with both studs and femmes, as well as the chance to be both labels – and I have determined that the most common myths are as follows:

Myth #1: Studs don’t have feelings.

Sure, some studs may bottle up their emotions because they have a tough outer image they feel the need to portray. That doesn’t mean that they don’t have any emotions. It just means that they think their image requires them to hide them. If you’re dating a stud, it’s important that you let her know that you care about how she thinks and feels – she doesn’t have to be “the man” all the time.

Which brings us to:

Myth #2: Studs want to be men.

The topic of transition comes up a lot these days, because it’s getting a lot of media attention. However, not every stud wants to transition into a man. Those who do will usually be in a state of pre-transition already, and probably won’t be seeking out someone who identifies them as a woman.

It’s not about how you appear, it’s about how you identify – which is exactly the same reason a “trans woman” is not the same thing as a “drag queen”.

Myth #3: Femmes are really bisexual.

This is a tough one, because both feminine lesbians and bisexual women are considered invisible by both the common media and the lesbian community. We perpetuate this idea that if a woman looks or seems straight, she must be. It’s 2015 – there is a difference!

Myth #4: Studs can’t be bisexual.

Honestly, I was with a stud for a while who prided herself on being “the gayest of the gay”. However, she wasn’t really; once we were together, she confessed a strong desire to have sex with men.

There’s nothing wrong with that, really (except that she did it while we were in a relationship), but because of the way she presented herself, she thought she wouldn’t be taken seriously if she was honest about her desires.

I’ll say it again: It’s not about how you appear, it’s about how you identify.

Myth #5: Femmes are helpless.

When a woman is keen to take advantage of the gender roles prescribed to her by society, we are inclined to think that she fits into a predetermined box. That’s usually not the case. I know very few women who are actually helpless, and one thing I’ve learned is that the way they dress is no indicator of what they’re capable of.

Myth #6: Studs can only date femmes, or vice versa.

This is another symptom of (outdated) gender roles. When we apply restrictions to who we can date simply based on what we look like, we are limiting ourselves the possibility of finding true love.

That’s not to say that you can’t prefer someone with a different label than yourself – but you are in no way forced to go with what society expects from you.

In my case, I prefer women who fall in between categorizations – but my current relationship is with a stud. Do we get funny looks when we’re both dressed in more masculine clothing? Perhaps, but that doesn’t matter. Your relationship shouldn’t be about making other people happy – it’s about making yourself happy.

Myth #7: You can’t change your label once you’ve decided on one.

This is complete rubbish. I know plenty of women who have changed labels at some point in their life. It’s not unheard of, or even uncommon – but we get this idea in our head that we’re “stuck” with whatever we’ve decided.

Do you still wear the same clothes you did when you were a teenager? Probably not.

Sometimes your style changes as you age. Your choice in the kind of clothes you wear says very little about your actual personality. But if your personality changes, you can always change your wardrobe to reflect that.

Myth #8: Femmes would prefer to “receive” in bed, while studs would prefer to “give”.

Someone’s choice of apparel has very little (if anything) to do with who and how they are outside of their clothes. We definitely hear of more femmes who are “pillow princesses”, and more studs who are “stone butches”, but that’s not a concrete fact – it’s just what gets represented. Surely, most women prefer to both give and receive – although not necessarily in equal amounts.

The same can be true for straight women and bisexuals; it has nothing to do with your orientation, or your style, or anything other than your desires.

Myth #9: Studs are abusive toward their partners.

A few years ago, I actually heard this from a friend. She asked me, “Why do I always hear about some femme letting their stud beat on them?” and I was completely taken aback.

I had simply been sharing with her about my previous experience with an abusive ex – but I never mentioned that the ex was a stud. Why do we tend to jump to the idea that only studs can be abusive?

I think this goes hand-in-hand with the myth that femmes are helpless. It’s not really a fair assumption, when you think about it. The truth is, anyone has the capability to be abusive. It’s not about your style, or your mannerisms, or your orientation.

It deals with mental health issues that may be undiagnosed, or in some cases it’s a temper problem. Simply wearing basketball shorts and sports bras doesn’t make you want to hit your girlfriend.

Myth #10: Studs can only be friends with other studs (and femmes with femmes).

This is ridiculous. If that were really the case, who could us label-free lesbians be friends with? I have friends who fall on both sides of the spectrum, and a fair amount of friends who straddle the line right there with me.

There’s no rule anywhere that says that your label defines who you can be friends with.

I think this one goes along with the idea of who studs and femmes are “allowed” to date, and it’s equally ridiculous.

If you limit yourself on who you can be friends with, you may be missing out on a wonderful opportunity – shouldn’t you base it on something more important than the clothes you decide to wear?

Myth #11: Studs can’t be “girly” sometimes.

My girlfriend, the biggest stud I know, loves The Notebook and is afraid of spiders. Need I say more?

The idea that you have to fit completely within a label has never made any sense to me. After all, we define our own labels – what right does someone else have to say that you’re not “you” enough for them?

Myth #12: Femmes have to be the “wifey” type.

Your relationship should be a partnership. Just because your girlfriend “looks” like a wifey, doesn’t mean that she has to be solely responsible for maintaining the house and taking care of your kids (even if they’re only fur-babies). By the same token, this means that the “hubby” in the relationship doesn’t have to be the one who makes all the money.

If the traditional gender roles are what work in your relationship, great! But most of the time, the balance is shifted a bit, so that the partners will share equally the responsibilities of the household.

For example, I’d much rather spend all my time working than spend any real length of time cleaning. Does that mean that I “should be a stud” instead?

No, because I’m comfortable with who I am, and the balance of responsibility works for me and my girlfriend.

Your mileage may vary, but it’s really up to what you agree on.

What else?

Do you think there’s something I’ve missed? What myths and misconceptions have you heard pertaining to the different labels? Do you think I’m wrong about something? I’d love the chance to speak to you in the comments section about it. After all, this community represents all of us.

18 Struggles Women Have When Dating A ‘Bro’ Butch

Our sexy little butches – we love them, but some times they can be a little hopeless when it comes to our womanly ways.

1. She absolutely hates public displays of affection – there will be no hugging or kissing outside.

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2. She considers flowers a total waste of money.

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3. She’s not herself when she’s hungry; in fact, she literally transform into the Hulk on steroids on an empty stomach.

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4. She loves to swear – even around your parents.

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5. She can completely outdrink you and all your friends.

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6. She hates buying presents and as a result, always ends up running around a couple of hours beforehand to try and find one that doesn’t look like a last-minute purchase.

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7. She gets lost in conversation, when you go off on tangents and can’t simple tell a short, linear story.

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8. She’s blunt and direct, and doesn’t understand passive aggression behaviour.

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9. She finds it almost impossible to have something in common to talk about with girly-girls. Beauty products – huh?

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10. When something is bothering her, she’s immediately confrontational. People see this as a bad thing, even though she’d just prefer to hash things out as quickly as possible.

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11. She prefers a football game and beer, too shopping.

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12. She’ll spend hours waiting on you in a store, but can’t understand why it takes you so damn long.

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13. She gets over things quickly and doesn’t understand why people choose or actually like to hold grudges.

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14. She doesn’t understanding why you wake up early to put on makeup and do your hair when they can spend that time sleeping.
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15. And manoeuvring a curling iron baffles her.

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16. Texting isn’t important to her. In fact, it’s kind of annoying.

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17. She can identify every single person in this GIF, and know exactly what they do and why.

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18. But Pretty Little Liars — and its appeal — is unfathomable to her.

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