How #SuperButch Topped Toronto's Queer Community
#SuperButch reclaims butch identity.
This past weekend, May 20-22, Jack Jackson, Dinah Thorpe and Heather Blom dropped their brain child #SuperButch on the queer community of Toronto. The response was nothing short of enthralling. Attendee’s of the event, held at The Great Hall reveled in a weekend full of exploration and celebration of “working class Butch” identity.
In an era where the queer community is oftentimes being accepted on the merits of thin, able-bodied, cisgender, white, feminine lesbians and their ability to proximity the mainstream, butch has become a dirty word. One that even the queer community has learned to reject, and somewhat abandon. So where have all the beautiful butch women of yesteryear gone? Those women adorned in men’s jeans, mullets, and rolled sleeves. You know the ones! Those early masculine presenting women who made lesbian identity visible and challenged mid 20th Century anti-queer rhetoric. (So hot!)
Well, lucky for all us butch lovers, they’ve not gone anywhere. Instead, they've succeeded in creating a very established subculture. One traditional roles of gender expression and discrimination couldn’t erase nor were any match for. Counter to erasure, the butch umbrella of female masculinity has grown to encompass trans masculinity as well as many other labels of varying gender specificity. While not always naming itself with that classic vintage “butch” label, and often repackaging itself in more contemporary labels like “genderqueer” etc. – make no mistake about it, butches have gone nowhere, and are in fact back to reclaim their honor, their history and their name.
Evidence of the revitalization and reclaiming of butch identity was made very clear this past weekend when dozens of diverse butch and trans models, panelists and production crew, showed up to volunteer their time and identities to the event. International and local gender progressive brands such as Kirrin Finch, NiK Kacy Shoes, Thuy Custom Clothier, Sun Sun and Alljackedup were also on site showcasing how they service the butch communities needs.
“You could feel the positive energy from the models and the meaningful and in-depth discussion from the panel.” -- Kelly Sanders Moffat Co-Founder of Kirrin Finch “This show clearly tapped into something the queer community of Toronto was craving and we were honored to be involved!”
Via a WAAAAY SOLD OUT fashion show, panel discussion, live music, dance party and photography exhibit #SuperButch reclaimed butch identity into something we all couldn’t have been prouder of all weekend.
“It felt like a really safe, happy and loving energy to me – with a serious amount of hotness and talent thrown in.” Said Jack Jackson of Alljackedup.
The goose bumps from the experience have remained on my skin well into the week. My smile has yet to fade. I couldn’t be prouder of the “6”, the 3 founders, and every person that gave their time and essence to create the event. In a climate where queer women are eulogizing the death of the “dyke bar” everywhere, where queer and trans individuals have been economically banished from LGBTQ+ neighborhoods, exiles mourning a lack community spaces were brought together by #SuperButch.
How did #SuperButch revitalize the lesbian community in Toronto?
1. Created Community: #SB brought the queer community out and together.
2. Unity: In a community that is often segregated by labels #SB provided an evening where identity differences were utterly irrelevant.
3. Representation: Not only butches but everyone was on site to celebrate a piece of our culture and heritage.
4. Self Exploration: Via the panel most notably attendee’s got to examine a piece of our culture and for some, a piece of themselves.
5. Provided an event option that appealed to a wider audience. Event producer Heather Blum said it best “I’ve long struggled with finding “community”; particularly spaces that don’t self-police rigid standards of behavior and gender expression and/or solely promote excessive alcohol use. I felt very grateful to know that I clearly wasn’t alone in my need for a different way to participate in queer culture.”
6. Visibility: The foundation of the gay rights movement and a strategy of liberation. Be seen, celebrate be proud. The only ways to shed shame.
7. Collaboration: In a community that has a reputation of not always playing nice together. #SB debunked that myth and showed that the community really can come together.
8. Celebration: The only way a successful weekend like #SB could end is with one hell of a celebration. And well we danced like it was 1999. Come Monday morning not only our quads were changed but our pride firmer too.
“We can’t wait for #SuperButch 2” – Kelly Sanders Moffat of Kirrin Finch.
We are right there with you Sanders Moffat!!
Natash is the Founder and Editor-in-chief of Effort-Lez, a lesbian lifestyle blog.