Top Hot Butches, and Butch as more than a Noun

by Jiz Lee on / Gender, Sex

This week Sinclair Sexsmith released on sugarbutch.net the announcement of TopHotBuches.com, a Top 100’s List of Butches with an explanation of why the word “Butch”:

This is Top Hot Butches: The 100 hottest butch, masculine, androgynous, genderqueer, transmasculine, studs, AGs, dykes, and queers and transguys, a project by Sinclair Sexsmith, the kinky queer butch top behind Sugarbutch Chronicles.

After receiving (much) critical feedback on Feministing.com the inclusion of transguys, and the list itself, is going to be updated. Here’s what was posted:

UPDATE Wednesday, 24 June, 9:30am EST:
This morning I removed 13 transmen from the list. There has been much, much critical feedback and discussion about the inclusion of transmen, and I appreciate all who have taken the time to email me and to comment and to participate in the conversation. I am reading through as many of the discussions as I can. I’m working on a full statement, which I will issue later today, and will try to figure out what to do about the holes in the 100 (now 87). Kael T. Block was among those removed from the list, for other reasons as well. – ss

Full-disclosure:
I appear on the list, as do many people I know and love. (And many people I know and love are also not on the list.)

Full-personal-disclosure:
I feel happy to be recognized for my masculine parts, and am relieved that “genderqueer” (the term I currently use for myself…I’ve used many in the past) is included in the definition. I am sometimes nervous about where public perception ends and where “I” begin; “Jiz Lee” is just one part of who I am.

As a porn performer I see a lot of assumptions made about my person. I’ve read and heard myself referred to as soft-butch, woman, girl, lesbian, and even “Oriental” *sudder*. So being recognized in a way that acknowledges my particular self-identity is so exciting.

At the same time, being on a hierarchical list pulls up interesting emotions for me, such as awkward comparisons around the fact that my lover Syd is in the top ten (okay, she IS a hot mess!) or the fact that my lover Fivestar didn’t make the list at all — we all know how hot and talented Fivestar is! So I’ll try not to view the list as a “who’s who” but as a resource and positive celebration of what I myself have looked for on the internet to find someone whom I could relate to.

Everyone of us on or off the list is hot, especially when we are ourselves. Sure, there are many of us missing. However the intention was coming from a place of love and I think any oversight is misunderstanding, hence the update.

I find myself torn at the exclusion of the word “transmen” and the people associated to it. (Did they want to be removed? Also, I see others on the list who currently or have at various points identified as Trans, though who am I to say who should or shouldn’t be butch?) While I was contacted by Sinclair prior to appearing on the list, I’m not sure if everyone was. Personally speaking, I like seeing many masculine genders combined together. We all fall along different identities and while there’s many more identities to be represented, this list is wonderful for a first start.

I see butch as a noun, an adjective, and much more. A cisgender gay male has the right to identify as butch just as much as a transman or transwoman has the right to identify as butch, as femme, or as any other gender identity. While these are words with many contexts, we all deserve the right to identify and dis-identify. It’s the use of the list, this projected initiated by someone wanting to create a resource for others, the people out there googling and looking for reflections of themselves that I think about. If it were me looking, I’d love to see transmen included… maybe top hot queers will be the next installment? Go buy that URL and if you do, show the world our hotness.

UPDATE: Carol Queen replies to a question about Stone Butches and mentions the list on GV Magazine. Also, read all the comments directly on Sinclair’s blog post “Butches & Trans Guys.” Finally, I realize it’s old but I was reminded of the porn press release “Dyke Porn and Trans Porn, In Bed Together” from Trannywood Pictures and Pink & White Productions, as there’s much to be said about all of queers in porn and how we’re perceived.

Jiz Lee

3 Replies to “Top Hot Butches, and Butch as more than a Noun”

Femme Gender

Thank you for such an articulate and well thought out reply. It is much appreciated! fimg X

Reply
Cand86

I have to admit that I always feel a bit self-conscious and unsure when I write or talk about you and the larger queer culture, queer porn, all of that. On one hand, it’s just so EASY to fall back on the simplest categories- “lesbian” and “butch” are so much more easily and widely understood than “genderqueer” or “queer”. And then I feel stupid for using them, because it disrespects you, not to mention destroys the nuances that you wanted to get across by identifying as genderqueer in the first place! Argh. I guess this is a good time to ask- what pronouns do you prefer?

But as to the whole Top Hot Butches thing, I’m conflicted. On one hand, I completely agree- it’s wrong to lump transmen in with butches. But then another part of me kind of mourns it. As a burgeoning queer chick looking for gender-variant people and pictures, a list like this, with transmen and butches side by side, would have been a blessing. Sometimes I feel like transmen are so scared to acknowledge that there is some overlap between the communities, just as much as they are different. I don’t know. The whole thing makes me feel a little tired, so ignore me if it doesn’t make much sense.

Great, thought-provoking post.

Reply
Ellis

I’m not sure how to word this without sounding like a klutz, but I thought that maybe some trans men would be unhappy at the thought of being admired (physically I mean, it is a “Hot” list) by visitors to the site who are likely to be lesbians. If I was in their position of having spent so much effort and money and time on altering my body to fit their gender, I imagine I’d be distressed at being perceived in a female way. Of course, I can’t say for certain, those trans men taken off the list would have to asked on their point of view and feelings on being put on it in the first place. I think Sinclair handled it really well though, with a lot of thought and maturity in her writing on the matter.

Hope this actually makes sense. I hope we get to hear from the men who were taken off.

Reply

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