San Francisco, CA
Masculinity for me is rooted in my grandfather. He took pride in his family & friends happiness, supporting his community, and a belief that working hard and following through on your commitments made you a better person. The fact that I was never girly didn't phased him a minute, growing up I'd assumed that was all a normal part of being in a self reliant blue collar family filled with auto workers from Detroit. In college surrounded by upper middle class kids shuffling from lecture to lecture, is when I finally came out as both LGBT and Butch. Class is a bigger divide in America than we like to admit, and it quickly became shockingly evident that I was in a new world with a new set of rules. That is when I first consciously thought about owning for myself what feminine or masculine meant to me. I love my Femme friends and community as I know they've gone through a similar path of having to own the parts of gender that are truest to their core being. With that awareness I had the privilege to choose to follow or ignore the cultural stereotypes of what I was told is masculine or feminine and to go with what felt right to me. It is important to be mindful of what feels most natural and comfortable for me. As a female bodied person with a masculine self expression, I go out into the world with the intent to share the same love of family, community mindfulness, hard work and generosity of spirit that my grandfather displayed as core to his masculinity.