Opening Up

Kate and I have noticed a discouraging trend over the last several years. All of our city’s queer establishments seem to be vanishing. First it was The Roost, the first gay bar I ever visited. A few years ago it was Junction, and then Roast. The most recent loss was Buddy’s, a queer night club that had been around for 21 years. It closed last November.

New queer bars and clubs have popped up over the years and disappeared almost as fast. Watching places like Flash and Play and UpStares UltraLounge come and go, we’ve had to ask ourselves whether there’s still a need in our city for an exclusively queer spot. All signs point to “not really.”

Times are changing, and we queers are no longer limited to a short list of safe spaces. Teens, preteens, and even children are coming out younger and younger. By the time they hit clubbing age, they’ve had years to get comfortable with their orientations and identities. When I was 20, things were very different. My sexuality was always at the forefront of my mind as I questioned and agonized and worried. It engulfed me, and as such, it distracted me from other types of growth. For years, I felt like I could never just be Mo, I had to be Gay Mo.

Kate and I created Butch Please to be a website for queer women. This seemed like a perfectly reasonable thing to do at the time, but fifteen weeks in, we’re feeling stuck. We don’t have the readership we want. We don’t have the variety of writers we want (though we love and appreciate our existing writers). We’re feeling really limited when it comes to the writing. Kate is bisexual and I’m a lesbian, but that’s not all that we are. We’re both complex, well-rounded people with lots to say about our lives and the world. And, for the moment, we’ve run out of ways to talk about how queer we are.

In light of this, we’ve decided to extend our reach. Instead of being a queer women’s site, Butch Please will now be simply a women’s site. We’ll remain, as always, queer friendly and feminist (because obviously), but we won’t limit ourselves as far as talking points. Gone will be the daily categories. After all, personal journeys don’t just happen on Mondays.

What’s it like to be a woman working in a predominantly male field? What’s it like to navigate the intimidating world of online dating? What’s it like to take the plunge and start a new business? What’s it like to be a feminist man? We want to bring you these stories. We want you to see yourselves in them. We want to invite everyone to our table; not just queer chicks.

The door’s open.


Author

small mo


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So…Threesome?

In January of 2012, I was coming to terms with my sexual orientation. The process was more difficult than I had thought it would be. In truth, I didn’t even take my attraction to women seriously. I always brushed it off. It didn’t mean anything.

But the thoughts didn’t go away just because I brushed them off. It was becoming almost an obsession, to the point where if I was dating a man and things were going well, I’d have sinking thoughts like, “but what if it could be better with a woman?”

With the support of a friend, I explored my feelings, and they took me to a party hosted by one of their gay friends. I was entranced by the wide variety of women present. Butches, lipstick lesbians, and chicks who styled in the middle; a casual mix of feminine and masculine. I had an instant crush on one woman in particular, and in my heart, I knew.

But I had doubts. I didn’t trust myself. I thought, how do I know I’m actually attracted to women, if I’ve never been with a woman? The refrain echoed by many outside the community when someone comes out before they have any “experience.” I worried that I would come out, date my first woman, and be horribly embarrassed when I realized that I was only into boobs aesthetically, and not sexually. I had to know. I needed to reassure myself that my attraction to women was not just a phase.

I had talked about my concerns with a male poly friend of mine, whom I had dated briefly for a while (but polyamory had been a huge stumbling block for me). He offered himself and his main partner for an experiment. He pitched it as a service to me: I could explore his lady as I desired to either confirm or rule out my attraction to women, with the safety of a nearby penis if it proved to be the latter. A threesome.

Continue reading “So…Threesome?”

#YQL – Taking Pride

Despite having recognized my queer identity at a very young age, I haven’t been able to attend many pride parades. Until very recently, I had only been to two parades, both of which were in Edmonton.

Thankfully, I added a new pride celebration to my list back in June. The Lethbridge Pride Parade was located on a downtown street, ending at Galt Gardens, a local hangout spot nestled between the Southern Alberta Art Gallery and a popular mall. Onlookers lined the street for a few blocks, clustered together on the sidewalk and sitting in the back of their cars to escape the muggy heat of the day.

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Onlookers wait for the parade to reach them.

The whole of downtown Lethbridge was bursting with rainbows. A variety of local boutiques participated in a last minute window display competition, and the pride flag flew outside of City Hall. Rainbow crosswalks were painted throughout the downtown core, and are still in place almost two months later. It seemed that Lethbridge Pride Fest did a great job developing initiatives for local businesses and government to engage in.

It was also nice to see that the parade took place on such a central road in the downtown core, although my friend and I almost immediately noticed that the street wasn’t blocked off. Participants in the parade were forced to walk or drive on only one side of the street, as cars whizzed on by beside them. Continue reading “#YQL – Taking Pride”

I Am No Longer A Gay Christian

Guest post by Kat.

I have been struggling most of my life trying to reconcile my faith and my sexuality.  Most recently, it’s been Hell on Earth.  When I came out about a year ago, I felt closer to God.  I accepted who He created me to be. Then the humans interceded.

My Christian friends and family have been wonderful, not even batting an eye when I told them.  But as time went by, there were little comments here and there that chipped away at my soul and at my mental well-being.  I was diagnosed with clinical depression at the ripe age of 20, but I know that I’ve been depressed since I was taught what was right and wrong according to God.

The past couple weeks have been the worst for my mental well-being.  My sister and a couple of friends are starting a Bible study in September. My sister warned me that they were going to talk about homosexuality as a sin. At the time, I was ok.  It is what it is. We’d be studying the Bible, and there is no question that there are scriptures about it (even if they aren’t translated correctly). But as time went on, I started my plummet into guilt and shame. Continue reading “I Am No Longer A Gay Christian”

Paint By Numbers

Greetings, Gentle Readers!

Normally, on a Friday, we would bring you a Sex & Dating themed post. We’re not doing that today because, to be frank, we don’t have one.

When Kate and I first talked about starting this website, we were excited about the idea of featuring lots of stories from lots of different people. We wanted our readers to be able to dive vicariously into other people’s lives; to learn a bit about people they might not otherwise meet, and to learn a bit about themselves in the process.

Representation is important to us. We really want to showcase people from across the queer spectrum. We want gay writers, bisexual writers, asexual writers, trans writers. We want to hear from queer people of colour, queer people with disabilities, queer people of all ages. We’d also love to hear from non-queer people about the relationships they have with the queer people in their lives.

We need your help with this.

Everybody’s got a story to tell. We want to hear yours. Even if you’re not a writer, we can work with you to put your lived experience into words. If you’re not comfortable putting your name and face on your story, we’ll happily publish it anonymously.

We need more colours on our rainbow canvas. Please think about adding yours. It’s the only way we can paint the whole picture.

If you’re interested in writing for Butch Please, please contact us.


Author

small mo


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#YEG – Introvert Yard Sale

Kate and I are embarking on a cross-country move later this year. In preparation for this dramatic life change, we’ve been sorting through our belongings and deciding what to keep and what to lose.

We have quite a few items that we’re happy to part with, and we could always use a little extra cash. Having a yard sale seems like a no-brainer, but as hardcore introverts, we’ve both always found the notion pretty unappealing. Sitting out in the sun, forcing conversation with strangers as they judge our stuff? No thanks.

Luckily, we’re living in the Internet age. Kijiji to the rescue!

(For our International readers: Kijiji is basically Canadian Craigslist. Not to be confused with Actual Canadian Craigslist.)

Kijiji is built for introverts, for a few reasons. First, the bulk of the communication happens over email and text (as opposed to face-to-face). Second, you create the ads, which means you’re in control of what people see. If you add enough photos and description details up front, you can avoid prolonged Q & A sessions with prospective buyers. Third, if someone wants to haggle over price, you can either make a counter offer or stand firm at your original price, all safely behind the curtain of the computer screen. (This is definitely preferable to collapsing under the stress of interpersonal contact and letting them set whatever price they want just so the awkwardness can be over.)

We live in Edmonton, a city of nearly 900,000 people, so our ads are reaching a large pool of people. Within the month of July, I’ve managed to sell fifteen items.  I have plenty of stuff left to sell, but I’m not worried. With every successful sale, I get better at this process. Here’s what I’ve learned along the way: Continue reading “#YEG – Introvert Yard Sale”

Finding Church

I’ve been a member of my church for about five years. I started going shortly after I first moved into the neighborhood. I’ve wanted a church to call home for a very long time, but as a youth did not want one that prescribed a belief system I could not get behind. Mostly, I’m talking about Christianity.

When I was in high school, those were still the days before the cross-Canada legalization of same-sex marriage. I was starting to explore organized religion after my studies in individual spiritual systems left me feeling unfulfilled, and an unidentified nagging pushed me onward. I decided to attend a local United Church and loved it. The friendliness, the singing, the shaking hands. It wasn’t overly preachy. I couldn’t wait to dive all the way in.

I had many chats with the church’s youth pastor and eventually the subject of confirmation classes came up. I only had to clear up one thing.

“How important is the belief in the divinity of Jesus?” I asked.

“It’s the core of our belief system,” he told me, slightly bewildered.

I thanked him for his time and never went back. I would find Church elsewhere. Continue reading “Finding Church”

Homo In Transit

(Originally posted on September 2, 2013 at I Dig Your Girlfriend.)

2013 has definitely been a year of firsts for me.

Some were emotionally powerful (first lesbian wedding). Some were random and sort of weird (first time in a port-o-potty). Some were just awesome (first road trip with friends, first step into the Pacific Ocean, first smartphone). Some pushed me to the absolute limits of who I knew myself to be (first lesbian stagette).

Next month will introduce another: I’m about to move into my very first studio apartment.

I’ve lived by myself several times over the last ten years, but always in one-bedroom apartments. The place I am moving into is a no-bedroom; about 600 square feet total. It will definitely be the smallest place I’ve ever lived.

When I started the preliminary sorting process in anticipation of this move, I was struck by how much crap I owned that I had no use for anymore. I’ve moved enough times in the past ten years that I’ve developed a burning desire to make the process as short and sweet as possible. I was unwilling to pack a single box more than was absolutely necessary.

So began the cull.

Continue reading “Homo In Transit”

I respectfully disagree with both Simon Pegg & George Takei over Gay Sulu

So I just saw Star Trek Beyond. You know, the one with gay Sulu.

Not to spoil it; it’s super subtle. While on temporary leave on a star base, Sulu is able to meet up with whom we are led to assume is his partner and his daughter. His partner is a man. The only other shot we get is his partner appearing next to him at a party later on.

And so, everyone has been freaking out that Sulu is gay.

George Takei has stated that he is disappointed that the character he played on The Original Series has been changed so fundamentally. He agrees that it’s about time for an LGBT hero to show up in the Trek universe on screen, but feels that a new character should have been developed instead of changing one that Gene Roddenberry created as a heterosexual. He says that the interracial kiss that Star Trek aired in 1968 was about as far as they could push the envelope at the time, so excluding LGBT characters was “not some oversight by [Gene Roddenberry]; it was a conscious decision with which he grappled.”

Simon Pegg has respectfully disagreed. He claimed that in introducing a new character as gay, the character “would have been primarily defined by their sexuality, seen as the ‘gay character’, rather than simply for who they are, and isn’t that tokenism?” He argues that Roddenberry would have made Sulu gay himself, and “[i]f he could have explored Sulu’s sexuality with George, he no doubt would have.”

While I see both points of view, why is nobody considering the option of Sulu just being bi? Continue reading “I respectfully disagree with both Simon Pegg & George Takei over Gay Sulu”

Baby Talk

Last month, Kate and I spent two weeks vacationing in Nova Scotia. We saw an impressive number of my relatives in that time span, including a couple of babies. Both of these babies were cute (obviously), and tiny, and incredibly smiley. We took turns holding them as they made the rounds, making goofy faces until they giggled, and snapping selfies of each other. Amid all this adorableness, Kate and I got asked that age old question:

“Are you two thinking about having kids?”

It’s a standard question for newlyweds. When my aunt posed it, Kate and I were pleased. We were being asked intrusive personal questions, just like any other couple! We smiled and admitted we’d thought about it. We have thought about it. But the reality is, when it comes to this particular question, we’re not like any other couple.

There are no accidental pregnancies for a same-sex couple. There aren’t even any easy ways to have a kid on purpose. For the majority of hetero couples (those without fertility problems), starting a family is pretty straightforward. Once you decide you’re ready for kids, all you need to do is have sex. Conception requires no money and minimal effort – it’s actually fun (if you like that sort of thing)! Nine months later, you have a kid that belongs to both of you; a living being created by the physical expression of your love for each other. How beautiful!

Biologically speaking, it’s not possible for Kate and me to have a baby that’s half hers and half mine. That’s just science. It’s a shame, really. I feel like our impossible baby would be very cute. She would have blue eyes and blonde curls, and she would grow up to be smart, and kind, and sensitive. She would be strong (like her mother), and skilled at making puns (like her other mother). She would definitely be a she, since neither of us has a Y chromosome to contribute. But we can’t create her together. We’re not equipped. Continue reading “Baby Talk”