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DO YOU KNOW WHERE YOU LIVE?
by Vicky Nabors
2004-11-01

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For years, straight folks and lesbians have openly criticized the male-centered wardrobe choices of butch and stud lesbians. 'Why you gotta dress in men's clothes?' Many femmes have asked. Even my mom and a few straight female friends have suggested that I'm afraid to wear wimyn's clothes because I fear compliments. Well Alrightythen - they're special aren't they? So, straight folks are excused from this critique of behavior, but Black lesbians who have actively participated in the butch/stud bashing over their attire should definitely read on.

While you're here let me ask a thought question: What world are you living in? I mean; none of us (lesbians) are a part of the heterosexual circle of 'all things normal.' Whether you like it or not, we exist in a very different homosexual circle where we've established our own standards of what is normal. At the center of every social circle are core values and traditions that represent that groups ideology, (their ways of seeing the world, beliefs, and traditions). In the center of the straight folks circle, you'll find religious beliefs and clear gender role definitions, including the appropriateness of gendered wardrobe. At the center of gay folks circle, you'll find a simple yet complex re-definition of gender roles. Both circles represent the world in which its people exist, make choices, and operate; to live in both worlds could be quite confusing.

Basically, the center of any social circle represents the foundation and principles by which its people live. I have another question for those Black lesbians who bad-mouth butch/studs because they wear male clothing: If you don't exist in the heterosexual social circle of norms, why would you want to judge the clothing choices of butch/studs by those standards? I've heard all the arguments before: Sure we stand out more when in public, and sometimes this outs you as well; but you knew that would eventually happen when you decided to be with us: Sure, we have to live and work with straight people and at times blend in when in public, but we handle our business. We'll walk-the-walk and talk-the-talk when required, especially with dress codes at work. We've accepted our unique existence, and walk with pride. In our homosexual circle, we enjoy the freedom to express how we feel by our choice of attire; we celebrate the unique person that exists within us without fear, love who we chose to love, and refrain from allowing others to define us.

The jury is still out, but ongoing scientific research has theorized that there may be more than just two genders. Hopefully, one day the conclusion will prove this theory true, and the findings will then explain why butch wimyn (both gay and straight) act and/or dress like men. But until that day, certain Black lesbians must stop trying to give us a makeover; we don't want to wear wimyn's clothing. So, stop hating on us because you're confused about which world you live in - we know where home is. Maybe these haters just don't want to accept their own reality.

vickyism@aol.com


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