Butch Bi

Jun 1, 2024 | 2024 Summer - More than One Letter

By S. Jack

My fashion sense features baggy sweatpants, a baggier Fall Out Boy shirt with a smudge of paint right between the boobs (but without the band name anywhere on it!), and fucking Velcro sandals. So, let’s be real here: if I hopped on the nonbinary bandwagon because I wanted to be trendy, then I might as well jump off into the dirt now. I also don’t think being murdered would be very cool, and that seems to happen a lot to the trans folks of the world. 

Being bi and nonbinary isn’t a contradiction. It makes ten times as much sense as economics. Make up your mind, they say to both. Gay or straight? Man or woman? I never know how to answer. Both. Neither. More. I’m more of a woman than a man, but more of a boy than a girl. I’ve fallen a little or a lot in love with quiet nerdy men, women with tattoos, and enbies who cosplay. I’m transmasc, I guess, but I’m also every gender. I contain multitudes, and it feels like heaven and hell every single day. Still, I don’t really care what sounds you make with your mouth when you want to refer to my purgatory gender, unless you’re an asshole about it.

It took me a while to get here, you know. Way back when I was just a baby bi falling in love with my girlfriend as they shared their baby nonbinary self with me, I wanted to call myself butch, but the Internet told me that was for lesbians only. Of course I can let lesbians have one little word to themselves! Lesbians could have both my kidneys without so much as saying please. But until recently, calling myself trans felt too dangerous, as if the word was the real threat (and as if butch women don’t get hate-crimed too, which is also ridiculous). Imposter syndrome plus fight-or-flight meet in an explosion that some have informed me is generally known as generalized anxiety disorder.

Speaking of imposter syndrome, do I get to take up space in a magazine called Bi Women Quarterly? Do I even want to? Right now, I’m banking on womanhood being so full of contradictions already (see America Ferrera’s Barbie monologue) that I can claim and reject it at the same time. Maybe it can be my summer home, even if some people don’t think I belong in it any time of year.

I looked in the mirror and swore I saw myself looking back for the first time after chopping off my hair, and it turned out those feelings I had for Han Solo as a kid might’ve been gender envy all along. I don’t know who wouldn’t want to give the middle finger to a society that wants to determine our lives by our genitals, because apparently the factions in Divergent were understating how much humans like tiny boxes. I’m not going to lie, it can be fun! But sometimes, white as I am, I look in the mirror and swear I see Nex Benedict looking back. Sometimes, I want to claw open my throat and my chest until I reveal something new beneath: a new voice, a new body. The joy and the pain, the trans and the bi, the woman and the man and the something entirely different—they all depend on each other to exist inside of me.

But they also exist outside of me, so enough of my dumbass metaphors and me. The myth that bisexuality is inherently trans-exclusionary is possibly one of the most insidious in queer internet discourse. Worse, hate groups like the LGB Alliance in the United Kingdom treat trans people as perverted and rewrite our history while probably making plans to axe the B next. As I said before, trans people are being murdered, and the killers aren’t just cishet men. (For the record, I believe that bullying someone to the point of suicidality, directly or indirectly, is essentially murder.) From where my trans friends and I are standing, Leave us the fuck alone looks like a much better queer slogan than love is love. So, what I have to say to the cis members of the bi community is this: please either stick up for us or shut up for us. Either works fine. That’s how you support us. Thank you, next.

S. Jack is a bi and nonbinary college student who lives and writes in Southern California’s Inland Empire in the U.S. She may not be sure of many things, but she’s sure of her love for her family, dog, girlfriend, the queer community, and Fall Out Boy.

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