Tag Archives: Trans man

Two takes on trans/tomboy masculinity and two on femmeness!

25 Apr
We at Qashti want to talk more and more openly about our genders — all of our genders. What does it mean to be butch, to feel like a boi, to occupy any spot in trans*, to find yourself in genderqueer, to be comfortable as andro, to proudly claim femme? And what are these things anyway?  What do they look like? Do they sit as separate categories, never touching, never overlapping? Or do we swim between them, sliding up and down along the gender scale as we move between our homes and workplaces and colleges and cinema halls and bazaars? Do we want to move between the categories or are we forced to move to keep in with the world around us? And in our own community spaces … who can claim which of these genders, who can recognise them, who can speak of them, who is judged for them, who is able to judge, how does it all work?
There are so many questions, and double that many answers … and we at Qashti are very sure that none of them are ever uncomplicatedly right or entirely wrong. So, here is a start:
Four links, four people talking about their genders and where their own communities — queer or otherwise — rub up against them. None of these links are from India but we hope they will help all of us in our own conversations … so read, let us know what you think — and stay tuned for much more from us!

“I have gone from being a big, strong looking Black woman to being a young, lanky Black man. I have always carried with me both masculine and feminine energies, but I have often been forced to choose one over the other depending upon the space around me. The gender binary affects us all in detrimental ways. And while masculinity may seem to offer more room, it also has its limitations. We must make room for all genders to grow and move freely.”

Reclaiming Femme: Queer Women of Colour and Femme Identity
by Vanessa Shanti Fernando

“Although femmes define themselves as active agents, they are nevertheless rendered invisible, as the queer and straight community often perceive them to be heterosexual. The femme’s learned talents of receptivity, vulnerability, openness and communication require strength and active participation.However, members of the queer community do not always recognize or appreciate these talents. In the 1950s lesbian bar culture, certain butches simultaneously valued and mocked femmes for being flighty—a display of their internalized misogyny.Often, other queers only recognize femmes as lesbians when they are accompanied by a butch partner.”

The Femme Shark Manifesto
by Leah-Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha



Losing Access to Sisterhood: Tomboys, Masculinity, and the Unmaking of a Girl
by Spectra Speaks

“The second my gender presentation transitioned from straight girl femininity to queer masculine “inbetweener,” I lost most of my sisters. I’m a different kind of woman now. And all of a sudden women I used to call my sisters don’t know how to interact with me. I’m still a woman, but the reactions to my expression of womanhood have changed, drastically.

This is the kind of experience that informs my work as a media activist. I’m always thinking about which perspectives are missing from political conversations and representations in pop culture: who is being excluded? why? how can our political movements become more self-reflective so that we can identify who among us is being left behind, and become stronger advocates for the kind of progress that includes them. Incidentally, in the fight for women’s equality, the people most frequently excluded from consideration and celebration, often enough look just like me.”


The Qashti Team