Randy Sides passed away on September 23, 2013. His memorial service was last week. I cried all the way through it. Randy had a long battle with cancer; he struggled to stay alive. He did not want to abandon his wife, Tracey, or their dogs (Butch, Dolce, and Mickey – “the boys”). He was only 58. He should have had more time.
I met Randy and Tracey in 1993 or 1994, after I got my first dog, Lena. We ran our dogs on the broken down piers off the West Side Highway. It was illegal. It was unsafe. Dogs ran onto the highway, there was broken glass on the pier, there was always garbage that the dogs wanted to get into. Randy and Tracey worked with the authorities for years to establish a community dog run (The West Village Dog Run). They wanted to provide a protected and clean space for the dogs. The run is my haven. Continue reading →
I stick out because I am butch. People notice me. They “Sir” me by accident or condescendingly “Ma’am” me. It is a binary world and I am not a person who fits comfortably on either side of the male/female divide. There are times when I am tired of being a masculine woman; when I would like to be either a cisgendered man or a cisgendered woman. To blend in and move around anonymously. To get dressed for a party without having a major dysphoria attack. There are times I would like to live in a magical world where my existence as butch or trans* does not cause a problem. For me or for anyone else.
Butches (and all other gender non-conforming people) disrupt the natural flow of events. We make people uncomfortable. There are a million nuances in how men conduct themselves with women. And in how men conduct themselves with other men. The same holds true for women. Every interaction is gendered. There is no etiquette for whether a butch should be treated like a woman or a like a man. It shouldn’t matter, everyone should be treated with consideration and respect, but it doesn’t work that way. Continue reading →