My definitions: Butch—a card-carrying 'tomboy' (varying degrees: soft—medium—hard). Stud—a lesbian who identifies more as a man trapped in a womyn's body. Both, however, think and operate from male perspectives (to varying degrees).
Ever since John Gray's proclamation that 'Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus,' the straight world has been involved in a profound journey of gender understanding. The goal is to find a mate, and then hold on to him or her by understanding how they're different. Straight men and wimyn view the world from very different perspectives. These biological and socially influenced gender differences are what Mr. Gray is speaking of with his Mars / Venus theory—two different species.
Fems, however, are not much different from straight wimyn. Both, basically, want a loyal companion, home, financial security, a passionate lover, sometimes children, cars, fashion attire, vacations, etc. Many are also traditional homemakers. Being outted in public is not a concern because she easily blends in with the straight world (kinda like being white). So in essence, fems are from Venus as well! Now, if men are from Mars, and straight wimyn and fems are from Venus, where does the butch/stud come from? A butch/stud can't hail from Mars because she's not a man, however, Venus can't be her place of origin, because she doesn't think or make choices like a stereotypical womyn. The answer's simple—it's Pluto! A planet so far away that it's difficult to understand, like a butch/stud—undefined, uninhibited, unstudied, unusual, and unrestrained.
So, what does this mean for those who love butch/stud wimyn? It means if you want to be with her, or if you're already in love with her, you'll spend lots of extra time getting to know her. I'm not talking about the out-dated role-playing. A Black butch/stud must balance a complex personality every day because she lives many lives all at once: a female, a male-oriented female, a Black American, somebody's daughter, and sometimes as a mother. It's hard enough just being a feeling human being, imagine the extra emotional challenges that a butch/stud endures on a daily basis! Fortunately, most settle into a comfortable balance in their life after some honest self-evaluation.
The challenge for fems in this butch/stud identity issue centers around the mirage concept; 'just because she bleeds like you doesn't mean she thinks or behaves like a stereotypical womyn—it's a mirage gurls! Fems, like straight sistahs, should want to research the differences that exist between themselves and the butch/stud wimyn they date, love, and sometimes marry. Being a butch/stud is not merely a game of dressing up in a suit and tie, opening doors, or acting hard. Now, I'm not talking about those stud perpetrators. For sistahs who truly identify as a butch or stud, it's her life—not a lifestyle—she doesn't have to act hard; it's a natural part
of her essence. Therefore, acceptance is key. Listen unbiased to her views, concerns, dreams, and fears; and learn. But, understand there's a code, just as with men, it says, 'Never let your womyn see your weakness, even if it means that you have to look stupid.' Now don't try to understand this my fem sistahs ... it just is ... we got our pride too! It's our protection from: a world that insists on putting us in dresses, from those who condemn us for not being 'lady-like,' and from our own lesbian sistahs who dare to challenge us! It's our way of affirming to ourselves, during moments of honest reflection, that our male/female existence is our reality, because 'God Don't Make No Junk!'
Happy Pride, Black Pride, and belated Father's Day to my butch/stud sistahs—(Also to my lesbian-gay family).