On Gender Categorizations

Dax Schwartz just started a story that I FUCKING LOVE based on a tweet that made her super angry.
I went to look at the tweet, which was a list of lesbian categories from high femme to stone butch with our accompanying weapons of choice:
I thought it was funny, although in soft butch/butch the weapon was not sledgehammer, so I was not represented.
And we had a really interesting conversation about how freeing it felt to me to have a woman ask me at a bisexual conference: “Do you identify as butch?”
And to be able to say back, after some hemming and hawing: YES.
For me, identifying as butch (which I get is a bit of a ‘fuck you’ to certain gay communities as I am bi/pan and some folks might think I am not allowed to use it) was incredibly freeing, relaxing, and affirming. So many of my anxieties about my presentation, etc. just melted.
I call myself a ‘swishy butch’ instead of ‘soft,’ because there is nothing soft about me except for my gut, but it’s basically the same thing. And defining myself, with the help of that lovely woman, felt like power.
Whereas Dax, as well as, I think, several of my other friends, found this enraging gender policing essentialist bullshit.
I won’t speak for her in too much detail, but I believe that her self identification as flouting the binary is also essential to HER peace of mind and identity.
People who come from very different perspectives can come to opposite and yet entirely correct conclusions on the same image. OH MY GOD IT’S DIALECTIC!

Joy to the World


Dear Laughing, Stamping, Clapping, and Pointing Man on the Corner of 4th Av. S and 4th Street:

Your untrammeled glee at that big-ass truck swiping my parking spot in spectacular fashion was so profound that I ain’t even mad. I can only be humbled by having brought so much joy to another human being that early in the morning.

Dear Guy In the Big Ass Truck Who Stopped In The Middle of 4th Street to Back Sideways into A Parking Spot at the corner on 4th Avenue in Such A Strange And Unexpected Way That I Can’t Adequately Describe It:

You were in too much of a hurry as you sprinted into the courthouse with that paperwork (and good luck with whatever that was)  to see the spectacular pas de deux you and I performed for our fellow man. You don’t even know that you made the world a slightly better place this morning. Nonetheless, I salute you.   

— No, really not even mad because it was too awesome and also I found another spot fairly close right away.

Dear Bitter Butch: How Do I Handle a Possibly Disabled Bicyclist After an Accident?


Dear Bitter Butch,

The other day in my van, when exiting a parking lot and joining traffic, I struck a cyclist whom I didn’t see because he was coming at me against traffic from behind a relatively blind corner. (Everybody is fine.) My issue is that the fellow, who was alone, seemed to have a disability of some kind, but which of course I was unfit to identify–perhaps it was only some deafness or a speech impediment, but perhaps he had a major developmental disability or past head trauma. Whatever it is, it seemed relevant to the accident in a couple of ways. . .

Read the rest of my letter and my answer at bitterempire.com.

Dear Bitter Butch: How Do I Cope After the Election?


Dear Bitter Butch,

The fallout from this election is causing personal emotions similar to those I felt when the family rallied to support a sexual predator and to turn me out. Any advice?

– Triggered

Dear Bitter Butch,

I have neighbors in my very rural, agricultural little neck of the woods, who work on farms and who are Hispanic. I’m not totally sure where they’re from. . . . So I’m trying to figure out the best thing to do for/say to them. I want to see if they’re ok and let them know they have my support...

– Wants to help

Dear Bitter Butch,

How do I explain these election results to my kids? I feel like the schoolyard bully has just been made principal.

– Worried Mom

Dear Bitter Butch,

How do I fix the world?

– Wondering

Dear Fellow Citizens,

For the majority of us who are not white supremacists eager to keep this country safe for the white man but absolutely no one else, this election has brought up a lot of old trauma . . .  Read the full letters and my answer at bitterempire.com.

How to help fight DAPL and support Standing Rock


  • Lists of places to donate for the legal fund, representatives to contact and their contact information, etc.:
  • Contact the 17 banks funding the Dakota Access Pipeline:
  • And learn background on the whole situation:

In which I sob over a car.


Today, I took my old 95 Saturn to Newgate School to donate her.

Yes, ‘her.’

I got in the car, started the engine, and proceeded to sob all the way to the school.

Jan and I bought that Saturn brand new in 1995. She took us across the country and back so many times. She took both of our sons home from the hospital after they were born. She took me and my old, dearly departed Shepherd Frodo across the country as well in one of my most happy trips ever. She took my Granddad to see the Mississippi on his last visit to Minneapolis, where he admired my driving skill with a stick shift. She made me look good.

She took us to the hospital when we were hurting, and our kids to school when they needed a ride. She took us camping and to concerts and on visits and to work.

She can’t reach highway speeds anymore; she spews terrible blue smoke into my neighbor’s lungs when I drive her. Half of her muffler is missing. Her clutch is going; her shocks are shot.

I walked into the office, eyes red, sniffling. “I have a car to dona-blaaaaawwwwwwhrrrrrghte” I said, and they pulled out the paperwork and looked at me compassionately.

“Do other people cry?” I asked.

“Oh, yes,” she said. “Sometimes they do. Sometimes they kick the car as they leave. Everyone’s different.” She patted the key reassuringly.

So much emotion over this dear old car.

I signed things, and I cried some more, and a delivery guy sort of laughed with me about it, and then I went out to her and took my bicycle out, gave her a furtive little kiss on the corner of the trunk, and biked off to work.

She sat in the parking lot all alone.

Goodbye, little Saturn. You done good.