Guest Blogger

In Search of Butch Men

Filed By Guest Blogger | November 23, 2010 9:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Living, Media
Tags: butch identity, butch men, lesbian butches, search for butches, Sinclair Sexsmith

Editors' Note: Guest blogger Sinclair Sexsmith writes Sugarbutch Chronicles: The Gender, and Relationship Adventures of a Kinky Queer Butch Top at With work published in various anthologies and websites, Mr. Sexsmith facilitates workshops on sex, gender, and relationships; more information at

headshot_SL2.jpgWhat is "butch?" What does a butch identity mean? What stereotypes are associated with the word and identity "butch," and what identities to people who identify as butch really have?

As someone self-identified as butch, I'm interested in these investigations. I'm interested in how people are making and re-making masculine identities that expose patriarchal power imbalances, inherent sexism, misogyny, and identity alignment assumptions usually based on gender roles. I'm interested in tearing down the systems that keep us misinformed and misinterpreting the visual signals that we all see.

Some folks these days want to get rid of labels entirely, but labels can also be a powerful tool of naming, belonging, and identity, especially for people whose identities fall outside of the societally acceptable polarizing spectrum. I don't want to throw out labels so much as I want to understand the stereotypes behind them, and work to strip the sexism, misogyny, and misandry out of the way we see the world.

Though my larger goal and life's work is to aim to eradicate sexism, right now I'm just talking about butch identity. And after a few years of working out my own butch identity online, I'm working on a new project about butch--the word and identity--and I'm seeking your contributions.

In particular, I'm building a community-based explorative site that has various components, including a "database" of folks who inspire butches and a blog with interviews, opinions, and ideas.

Since it's fairly easy to tell a non-feminine identity on a woman, I'm having no trouble coming up with women to add to the database. But it's harder to tell by visual cues which men may identify with that word, and because of that I'm including men who self-identify as butch.

And here's where you come in--are you paying attention? I'm seeking butch-identified men (trans or cis, gay or straight) for interviews, and I'm seeking famous, semi-famous men or men who are community leaders for the database of butch inspiration.

Got a guy to nominate, or do you know a guy I should chat with? Are you a guy I should chat with? I'd love to. Some gender identities goes beyond one's biological sex, and I'm very curious about the places that butch-identified women and butch-identified men overlap. Please do get in touch with me at mrsexsmith(at) and we can go from there.

Really looking forward to some conversations.

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I don't consider myself butch although my aversion to shaving and love of t-shirts over any other sort of shirt keeps people telling me, "You know, if you weren't so nelly you'd be butch."


I've never heard a gay man identify as butch. I've always associated that word with women. I'm thinking the gay-male equivalent is "straight-acting," so "butch" would be refreshing.

Yes, "straight-acting" is long overdue for replacement. Straight-acting men have sex with women.

I like the comment on labels here and would like to expand with some thoughts. Pedantically speaking, they are to me a reference to an approximation (of varying accuracy) of a concept one needs to convey an otherwise lengthy idea but they should come with the stereotype disclaimer: "labels are not exact reality". They're part of the mental bifocals we use and we need both. They also unite as a brand and without them there is a vacuum for others to use their own labels which are usually slurs and the like.

To adopt butch as vaccine can sometimes confuse the message but I think butch is innately a way of expressing qualities that might be expressing of feelings that are self-consoling. Some exaggeration can provide us a sense of security, whether in self or others and it can also send a response as it being done here. Not everyone knows why but it's commonly used by queers in general. Both masculine and feminine can have empowering virtues, they might express different aspects of those and use different forms of irony but it can go along with one's most comfortable emotional role.


There was a documentary on LOGO station about butch gay men. It even had the word butch in the title so you may be able to get some info from that documentary.