Bitter Butch Needs You!


Dear Darlings,

Bitter Butch is in need of more letters! Please send your questions about heartache, parenting, sex, work, disability, queerness, etiquette, or any old damn thing to and I will do my best to do it justice!


Bitter Butch


Dear Bitter Butch, Can I Correct Misused Idioms at Work?


Dear Bitter Butch,

I just got an email from my supervisor that says, in part, “We need to flush out the agenda area with this additional content.”

I need guidance. Is it appropriate to point out that the phrase is “flesh out,” not “flush out?” Or should I ask if she wants me to hunt for the agenda hidden in some shrubbery that she needs me to flush it out by startling it with additional content?

Read the rest at

I am not resigned, either. For Naomi.

For my dear darling friend Naomi Kritzer on the horrible occasion of her beautiful, kind, brilliant, thoughtful, and powerful mother’s sudden and unexpected death.

10550858_10152287749619527_6370985666341262105_nDirge Without Music
I am not resigned to the shutting away of loving hearts in the hard ground.
So it is, and so it will be, for so it has been, time out of mind:
Into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely. Crowned
With lilies and with laurel they go; but I am not resigned.
Lovers and thinkers, into the earth with you.
Be one with the dull, the indiscriminate dust.
A fragment of what you felt, of what you knew,
A formula, a phrase remains,—but the best is lost.
The answers quick and keen, the honest look, the laughter, the love,—
They are gone. They are gone to feed the roses. Elegant and curled
Is the blossom. Fragrant is the blossom. I know. But I do not approve.
More precious was the light in your eyes than all the roses in the world.
Down, down, down into the darkness of the grave
Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind;
Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave.
I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned.



Friends and family members embrace outside the Orlando Police Headquarters during the investigation of the shootings at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando on June 12, 2016. Steve Nesius / Reuters

When you spout hate every day about Latinx people and about TLBG people as if our very presence in this country and in its bathrooms is a lurking menace and then someone shoots up a gay club on Latin night, you need to look at yourself and your contribution to this rather than clinging desperately to your guns and mouthing off about Islamist terrorists in reference to a guy who never went to mosque.

As a queer, I am heartbroken. As an American, I am furious. And I am far more afraid for my friends than myself. Black and brown bodies always bear the brunt of homophobic, misogynistic, Islamaphobic, and transphobic hatred.

It tears me apart. It tears US apart.

Yes — we have free speech in the US. But that does not mean consequence-free speech.

Stop. Donald Trump, Greg Abbott, and Dan Patrick — so many more. So many in positions of legal and jurisdictional power. Stop. STOP STOP STOP. You are killing my people as surely as Mateen has. You have our blood on your hands.

In Which Other People Really Want to Help Me

Downtown Minneapolis, where the corporations live, is a strange place. If you looked at the streets and skyways at a typical rush hour or lunchtime, you would have no idea that Minneapolis is only 40% white and has a median income of around $50K for a family. Healthy white people from the suburbs wearing very nice shoes are bustling everywhere.

And disabled people, if they live in the suburbs, do not mingle.

In my neighborhood, besides the fact that people are used to seeing me, specifically, they are also used to seeing disabled people in general. The housing is cheap enough for a person on a fixed or reduced income to have bought a few years ago and if you’re willing to live small or double up you can still find a decent apartment. We also have quite a few group homes as well as lots of public transportation (at least compared to the suburbs), with a discounted rate for disabled people — so a lot of us bus or train around.

In the suburbs and downtown, I am an anomaly.

And people — especially men who were already raised to open a door for a lady — really really really really really want to help me.

When you are a white disabled woman, the microagressions that you experience due to your disability are nearly always completely well-meant on the part of the aggressor. I feel bad even calling them aggressors because they truly are not generally hostile. Although I get a few of the strange responses and accusations of faking it that my black disabled friends get, it’s mainly well-meaning completely unwanted help.

And when I’ve written about it in the past, I’ve made able-bodied people very very very very very uncomfortable. Why is she so angry? They ask. What’s wrong with holding open a door?

The short answer is: there’s nothing wrong.

The long answer is: everywhere I turn in downtown Minneapolis, nearly every person I encounter assumes that I am helpless.

And it gets old.

This morning, I crutched toward a set of doors I have opened and closed countless times. I moved with purpose and focus and speed, with every confidence that I would manage to open the closed door I was approaching.

Through the glass door, a man saw me approaching those doors and began SPRINTING for the door. SPRINTING.

I deftly opened the door with my foot as I have done a trillion times, and he stopped short, his mouth hanging open.

“You know how to DO that!” he said.

I laughed. “I do,” I said.

That single encounter isn’t terribly upsetting. Neither are the ones with the very very nice cleaner who always HAPPENS to move to clean a door I’m heading toward so he can hold it open for me. (He’s actually funny because he narrates what he does. “It’s not that I don’t think you can open this door,” he says. “It’s just this door is SO DIRTY.”)

All so so nice. So kind. So helping.

But cumulatively, it begins to feel very infantilizing.

I’m trying to see these all as individual incidents, because that is what they are. Well-meant. Kind. And I’m trying to see it from their points of view.

Man in wheelchair about to open a door

Someone help this poor man!!!!!

When you live in an area that doesn’t have a lot of disabled people, you haven’t seen us negotiate doors and things. So you see me approaching a door with my arms encumbered and you think of what you would do in that situation as a person who always uses his arms in a certain way instead of what a disabled person with a lot of experience moving through the world with both hands occupied by crutches would do, and you panic.


And so you run and open the door.

I am practicing appreciation and compassion for each moment with a big smile and a thank you, but it is starting to wear on me, I have to admit.

. . . and he was also Irish

Ali’s great-grandfathers emigrated to the United States from County Clare, meaning that  the three-time heavyweight world champion joins the likes of President Obama and Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. as prominent African-Americans with Irish heritage.

In the 1860s, Abe Grady left Ennis in County Clare to start a new life in America.  He would make his home in Kentucky and marry a free African-American woman.

The couple started a family, and one of their daughters was Odessa Lee Grady. Odessa met and married Cassius Clay, Sr. and on January 17, 1942, Cassius junior was born.

Read it all