Butch Coloring Book Sneak Peek!

We’re getting closer to submitting the Butch Lesbians of the 20s, 30s, and 40s Coloring Book to our printer! Here are a couple of sneak peeks of two of our fabulous butches by artists Dorian Katz and Tyler Cohen.

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Local artist Dorian Katz outdid herself with her drawing of mononymous, superbly dressed and exceedingly eccentric butch painter and artists’ activist Gluck (1895 – 1978), AKA Dearest Grub. A self portrait of Gluck with her lover, Nesta Obermer, was used as the cover for Radclyffe Hall’s dismal, but groundbreaking novel, The Well of Loneliness.

 

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The arch artistic comics powerhouse Tyler Cohen, drew Buddy Kent AKA Bubbles, for the butch coloring book. Buddy was a sweet-faced baby butch bartender, who occasionally stepped out from behind the bar to metamorphize from Buddy into Bubbles, starting out in a top hat and tails, then stripping to reveal femme burlesque attire. Buddy told famed lesbian historian Joan Nestle in an interview when Buddy was 70-years-old, “When I finished people didn’t know if I was a boy or a girl because I was quite slim and very flat.”

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Language in Genderqueer Fiction & Smut

typingI’m genderqueer, and when I wrote Behrouz Gets Lucky, I was determined to write about pronouns, sex, and naughty bits the same way that I live them and think about them in my personal life. I knew that the majority of my readers might find this confusing at first, but hoped that they would become enthralled enough in Behrouz and Lucky’s courtship and story to get on with it and learn how to translate this unfamiliar language.

Like many genderqueer people, I am comfortable with any pronoun; they, she, and he. I also think of my body in a multiplicity of gendered terms, depending upon my mood, what I’m doing, who I’m with, whether the moon’s full, and what I’m trying to express. Sometimes I have breasts and sometimes I have a chest. I have a cunt, a cock, and a clit. despite my wishes, I don’t really have it all.

I never have a pussy or balls. To me, “pussy” is reminiscent of 1990s Penthouse magazines; pink, airbrushed, neat flesh attached to women with massive blond hairdos and excessive manicures. “Balls” remind me of the stinky, hairy fragility of that delicate body part…hardly an appealing image. I know plenty of people that adore “pussy” and “balls”, but see “cunt” as demeaning. I love “cunt”; it’s directness and strength, I know one transgender men that calls his breasts his chesticles, because sometimes we need to invent words when the available ones are insufficient (although I didn’t realize this was an actual colloquialism until I typed it here and spellcheck let it be!) To my total dismay, my gynecologist once called my cunt a mangina, I nearly slipped out of my stirrups. I know transmen who use mangina comfortably.  Many transmen call their vagina their front hole. There’s a galaxy of terms for naughty bits!

We’re all different and our choice of vocabulary is not attached to ethics. In other words; cunt is not bad. Pussy is not bad. Balls is not bad, and so on. Since my protagonist Behrouz was genderqueer, I assigned most of my personal preferences to them, although to my regret, Behrouz was never comfortable with female pronouns. Everyone is different though; I’m not representational of all genderqueer folks. My way is not the only way.

I was fortunate with my readers. One was a middle-aged gay man, the other was my 84-year-old lesbian aunt, and they had differing responses. This was helpful.

My aunt is vanilla and a retired librarian, writer, and editor. She used to be a lesbian separatist, thinking that dildoes and vaginal penetration were patriarchal tools to devalue women. I shuddered to speculate what her views on BDSM might have been back in the sex-negative, conservative 1970s. My fears proved to be groundless. She loved my book, but had questions about both the pronouns and way the vocabulary for naughty bits changed from scene to scene. Based on her feedback on pronouns and the way genitalia are named in the story, I chose to write a foreword for my book talking about my linguistic choices.

My gay male reader is also a close friend and a co-worker, so I’d broken him in to my flexible pronouns and views of my anatomy over the course of several years. He adopted quickly, not letting the unfamiliar get in his way of enjoying the book. I felt encouraged by his ability to incorporate my linguistic flexibility into his understanding of the characters and the narrative.

After Behrouz Gets Lucky was published, I ended up getting enthusiastic feedback from Bay Area genderqueer folk about my language. They were grateful to see themselves reflected in fiction, specifically in how I named the body.

To my bewilderment, my book was heavily promoted by my publisher to straight romance blogs, despite the fact that it features an almost all queer cast, and contained a significant amount of kinky sex amongst the courtship and domesticity. A straight romance blogger from Romancing the Book reviewed Behrouz Gets Lucky. The reviewer confessed that she started reading my book nervously, not sure what to expect, “OK, lets get the whole gender identity, male, female, ying, yang thingy out of the way. This book pushes boundaries and forces the reader to let go of what they feel is male-female and throws traditional values out the window. My values and how I feel were never threatened, but they were gently challenged.” Other reviewers were not so kind; Behrouz was confusedly identified as a gay man by one reviewer, and several were disgusted by the queerness of it all.

My advice to other queer writers is to be bold. Write how you are in the world. White how you wish to be in the world. Despite the current wave of conservatism, don’t forget that there is a corresponding wave of resistance. Be the resistance.

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Come for the Butches, Stay for the Art: Butch Art Show!

art showArt show! Butches! Art! Wine! Femmes! Queer artists! Come for the butches…stay for the art. Butch Lesbians of the 20s, 30s, and 40s Coloring Book is having a show at Mermaids Tattoo, 3032 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94111. Join us Sunday, June 18th from 4pm to 7 pm at Mermaids Tattoo for an art show and book launch. Flag dark green if so inclined (after all, it is Daddy’s Day)

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Pre-order Yr’ Butches Today!

BUTCH cover

Now available for preorder from Stacked Deck Press for a Prideful June delivery!

Butch Lesbians of the 20s, 30s, and 40s Coloring Book is lovingly illustrated by a motley, caffeinated amazingly talented crew of queer as fuck artists including Robyn Adams, Tara Madison Avery, JessicaRenee BogacMoore, Paige Braddock, Jennifer Camper, Avery Cassell, Tyler Cohen, Dylan Edwards, Katie Gilmartin, Roberta Gregory, Janet Hardy, Dorian Katz, Maia Kobabe, Jon Macy, Ajuan Mance, Alix Quay, Rome, Sina Sparrow, Sonya Saturday, and our talented butch wordsmith, Sasha T. Goldberg!

The coloring book pages are packed with more courageous, adventurous, and hot butches than you can shake a hanky at…mathematicians, directors, painters, writers, adventurers, activists and more.

Our cover butch is Frieda Belinfante, a member of the Dutch Resistance during World War II, a fitting hero and role model for today’s political and cultural climate. Cover drawn by Avery Cassell and colored by Jon Macy. Butch Lesbians of the 20s, 30s, and 40s Coloring Book edited by Jon Macy and Avery Garland Cassell.

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Hierarchy of Lust

sunriseI don’t usually analyze sexual desire. I figure it is what it is in all its primal and instinctual glory…however I was plodding along at work and found myself thinking about my hierarchy of lust and love, and the annoying complexity of fucking after age 60.

At this point in my life, sex and love are intertwined. My ability and interest in fucking outside of a romantic relationship has lessened, and I’ve talked to enough people over the age of 50 to know that this change is be common for many people. I find it frustrating, but only in the sense that I sometimes long for a lover the way that I long for a pizza to be delivered to my apartment; someone to magically appear, give me hot greasy pleasure, then disappear until the next time I call up for a delivery.

I’m not celibate, however only my lover is myself.  I can fuck myself fine. Could that be engraved upon my headstone, eventually partially obscured by soft green moss? “They could fuck themselves fine.”, maybe in a glamorously old-fashioned Celtic font. It’s true though. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become a more inventive and a greedier lover, and what is masturbation but fucking oneself? Joani Blank wrote I Am My Lover: Women Pleasure Themselves in 1997. It was revolutionary at the time, and remains a radical statement about self-pleasure twenty years later. I’ve developed a deeper appreciation for the handsomeness of my body; I love my soft belly, the smooth wet inside of my asshole, my tufts of underarm hair, my freckled breasts with their greedy sensitive nipples. I continue to evolve with how I fuck myself, trying new methods, new toys. I’ve acquired more sex toys, and I acknowledge the importance of pleasure in my life by purchasing higher quality toys and more frequently. If I think well enough of myself to eat organic vegetables, then surely I should spring for the hefty njoy Eleven, a collection of fine silicone dildos, a rubber slapper, a stainless steel butt plug, adjustable nipple clamps. I try out new toys with abandon.

I’m trying to say that I have experience negotiating with myself, but I’m reexamining my hierarchy of lust and love with lovers.  If my choice was a vanilla butch or a kinky femme, I’d go with the kinky femme, even though I’m much more attracted to butches. For me, kink trumps gender presentation.

I realized that kink was a necessity when I was in my early 30s; I was fucking a wonderful man. He was an artist, smart, quirky, a feminist, kind, and an ardent lover. An extremely ardent vanilla lover. We started seeing one another in the summer and continued until winter started. We fucked almost exclusively outdoors, and that was kinky enough to keep me interested until it got cold and snowy, and we moved into the bedroom by necessity. He tried valiantly to hit me and boss me around, but he wasn’t a sadist or particularly domineering so it didn’t quite gel. A tepid sadist is not an effective sadist. I hated breaking up with him, but that was the moment when I knew that I could not compromise around kink. I’d started out kinky at age 12, and I needed kink to be part of my sex life with any future long term lover…and with myself.

I then pushed myself further with the hierarchy of lust and love, what if the choice was a kinky male and a vanilla woman? I got bogged down. Is this one of those questions that remain unanswered until an actual person asks it?  It’s been over 10 years since I’ve fucked a man; in general, I’ve never found men as aesthetically, emotionally, or romantically compelling as women. This feels like a thorny discussion and a little undecided, however I like the fact that changes continue as I get older.

What does your hierarchy of lust and love look like? Has it changed over the years? Have any of those changes surprised you? Have you acted upon those changes? If not, why not? At 62, lust and love continues to delight and surprise me.

 

 

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