The Identity of Self
I have always been a person who dived into books when I had a question about myself or my surroundings. When I found out I was Gay (the word I used after coming out to myself) I went online to see if I could understand and fit in this word. As gay was a word mainly used to describe Men not Women, I started reflecting and feeling how I would like to use the word Lesbian, I disliked it, Lesbian for me felt like all those women I saw online, it felt white and estranged.
As I was a bit older when I came out to myself, my personality felt quite developed as a Black woman, meaning that I was very conscious about my womanhood and my blackness. I was very aware of how the world treated Black women and the strength that Black women had, although I didn’t often feel the strength myself, I understood the history of it.
It was a colleague of mine, who was also part of the spectrum, that used the word Dyke to describe me because they found out I rode a motorcycle. When they mentioned it, I felt quite offended, I was not a Dyke in my eyes. Dykes were the ones who were at the end of the masculine spectrum, the ‘untouchables’, the playboys. But if I wasn’t a dyke what was I? As a Black woman, I was looking for words that expressed my intersectionality. On my journey, I found some good documentaries and articles regarding masculine women. I learned more about the definition of Stud and Boi. I started to understand the strengths of the reclaimed definitions of Dyke and Butch and felt that pride.
Stud and Boi, was a term very related to Black masculine people in America, as I was not American and the way my culture and parents raised me was different, I questioned if these terms fully identified with me. The people I saw and met online identified as Stud or Boi, although they fit within that intersectionality, it did not reflect my personality. The word Stud resonated with me more, as the definition was created to express and name the racial experiences Black Masculine Women experience differently than White Masculine Women.
I continued my search by finding outfits that made me feel like myself when I looked in the mirror. These outfits were often Dapper, clean, simple, soft and colourful. The more I delved into my masculinity, the more I connected with my feminine side. I felt proud wearing pink suspenders, flowery patterns shirts, but still had a fade and a big masculine attitude. It was through an online dating profile of self-identifying femme, that I came across the word MOC – Masculine of Center. When I read the word, it felt right. As I often felt, depending on the day, time and period of my life, my masculinity and femininity energy change, using the definition MOC made me feel comfortable in my energy, allowing it all to flow and connect.
As a Black Women, the society has given us not a lot of space to breath, the stereotypes of being strong, not showing to much emotion, always pleasing others not yourself and never ever appear soft, feels suffocating. Although I applaud myself on being strong, there was not a lot of space for me to fuel and embrace my soft side. My masculinity made me get more in contact with my femininity and I started seeing my softness and vulnerability as a power and started seeing it as a radical act.
After some years of self-reflection, I proudly identify as a Soft Masculine of Centre person. When I talk about clothing and outfits, I feel the word Dapper fits me well. I also feel comfortable using the words Stud and Butch as long as the word ‘Soft’ is present in my self-identification. Within the LGBTQ+ Spectrum, I felt comfortable using the term Queer to identify myself, as this also gives me space to allow all both my energies to thrive. It took me a while to get there but having the right self-identity that I feel comfortable in has given me a lot of confidence and strength, which makes it all worth it.
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