• Marriage in Maine

Am I a Dyke?

Anonymous's picture
Written by Anonymous
June 17, 2010 - 2:05pm

I am honored to be invited not only to attend the Portland Dyke March this Friday, June 18th, but to speak at the gathering in Monument Square before the march about MaineTransNet, the scrappy little trans-advocacy non-profit in Portland. (I serve on its board.) It's not that big a deal...I understand there will be a cavalcade of speakers, each allotted three minutes, and really I'm only getting 90 seconds, because the task of talking up MTN was given to me in collaboration with my sister in transness, Jenna...but still, my first reaction to the invitation was surprise. Me, speak at a Dyke March? I'm not a Dyke.

Or am I? Let's examine the question.

There's this to consider: I love a Dyke. My sweetie Deb is a been-there-fought-that-fight, up-through-the-decades old-school gorgeously butch Dyke, and claims the title rightfully and proudly. She's magnificent. She's a Dyke with a capital D. Compared to her, I'm no Dyke. We talked about it, and she was kind when she broke the news.

On the other hand, I do self-identify as a woman and love a woman, so maybe I could be a small-d dyke? Using the word as it is sometimes used, as a synonym more or less for lesbian?

Hmm...well, maybe. I'm definitely not butch though...femme through and through, darling :-)...and, though this seems to matter less and less, I am still technically at least partially male-bodied. Maybe farther along in transition the all-purpose general uses of "dyke" and "lesbian" will feel like they apply to me a little more. They are big words, freighted with meaning and history and politics and suffering and struggle and triumph...so for now, I think I'm more comfortable with something like "ambisexual trans-woman."

I'm glad that the organizers of the Dyke March are being inclusive and flexible in their ideas about who belongs at such an event...it will be a pleasure and an honor to be there. The fact that I'll be horribly nervous when it's time to talk will have nothing to do with gender or sexual identity...I just hate public speaking. I will at least presume to wear the labrys earrings my sweetie gave me.

One more thought: For many years - going well back into the straight-man era - I have been a huge fan of Alison Bechdel's marvelous comic "Dykes to Watch Out For." I consider Mo and Lois and the rest to be good friends of mine...people whose lives I've followed for many years and whom I care about as much many a real-life flesh-and-blood acquaintance. There's a character in the strip named Stuart, a bearded hirsute man, who is not trans, having apparently no desire to live as a woman, but who is plainly and completely the feminine half of the couple he is in. He stays home and cooks and cleans and does the childcare while his partner Sparrow is out in the world slaying dragons. He seems completely accepted by the other characters in their broadly defined aura of Dykedom. Stuart's easy presence among all those marvelous (D)dykes gives me a feeling of comfort.

~Lisa Dee Bunker
Lisa blogs about her trans experience at www.genderbendy.com.

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