Stone Butch Bitch asks:
Hi! I’m genderqueer and stone butch. I first came out as butch during the beginning of quarantine, and it’s now the most salient piece of my identity.
Before quarantine began, I had my drag debut. My drag persona is a queen and, for the most part, extremely feminine. To maintain my persona, I presented as a cis gay guy to my fellow bar patrons and performers – for example, out of all of my partners, I only ever talked to my co-performers about my boyfriend.
Performing in drag is the only instance in which being seen as feminine doesn’t make me dysphoric. But one of my biggest dysphoria triggers is people thinking I’m a “faux queen,” and I’m scared I’ll be seen as one if I’m out as butch. I’m not comfortable pivoting or remaking my drag persona into a king for similar reasons.
I love drag, and I don’t want to give it up when I can perform again. What should I do?
As always, before we begin, I’ll provide a few definitions for the casual reader:
- A “stone butch” is a butch person who is not sexually receptive during sex. The term is also commonly misunderstood as “an extremely butch person.”
- A “faux queen” is a cisgender woman who performs as a drag queen.
Got it? Cool!
Stone Butch Bitch, you’ve already gone out of your way to keep your identity obscured from the drag community. You avoid mentioning non-male partners to your co-performers, and you prefer other bargoers perceive you as a cisgender man. Your problem, it seems, is deciding just how much you want to commit to the bit, motivated by the potential dysphoric dilemma of being seen as a faux queen.
Since you don’t enjoy presenting in a feminine manner in your daily life, I assume your newfound butch identity hasn’t entailed any significant aesthetic shifts. Likewise, since you already have partners of multiple gender identities, I presume your identity hasn’t expanded your dating pool. With these things in mind, I can’t imagine how anyone could discover your butch identity without you going the extra mile to tell them.
It should be easy to maintain your privacy. As long as you keep the minutiae of your identity to yourself, I doubt your co-performers will prod at your personal life. However, if being out as butch is important to you, I doubt you’ll be able to keep other aspects of your identity hidden from the community. Thus, the real question is this: how far are you willing to go to avoid their scrutiny? Are they worth the joy they inspire if they also bring you fear?
HYPER/TEXT is a queer advice column for the digital age: a space for subcultural dilemmas that leave offline friends scratching their heads. Should you block your best friend over lesbian discourse? What on Earth is a “kinnie?” Check in biweekly for answers to these questions and more as we explore the lives of the hyper-online!
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Fox Auslander is a nonbinary poet born, raised, and based in Philadelphia. They are a chapbook editor at LUPERCALIApress, one of three co-lead poetry editors at Alien Magazine, and one of two co-editors at Delicate Friend. Find them on Instagram @circumgender.