Butch In Taiwan

An insight into what being 'butch' means in Taiwan.


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I've been 'butch' since I could dress myself. Hardly ever do you see long hair on a 'butch' girl, it's usually short hair. When you see a couple one is usually 'butch' and the other 'femme'.

I have never seen a totally 'femme' couple here actually. I'm sure that there are 'femme' couples, but I've just never met any.

Maybe that's because of where I've grown up. For example, we are taught to dress like a boy and to cut our hair short. Told to be strong like a man and act like a man.

When I do something 'girly', my friends say: "Um...What are you doing? Are you turning into a girly girl?" They think it's weird for someone who is 'butch' to act like a girl. However in America it's considered normal - because even if you're 'butch' - you are still a girl.

In Taiwan, if you are 'butch' you tend to be more like a man, as if trained to compete with men. We usually bound our boobs, and sometimes are fully recognized as a boy. It's funny, yet awkward sometimes when I walk into the girl's toilet - some old lady will stare at me, some people even ask me if I've walked into the wrong toilet!

I used to feel very uncomfortable when they gave me that weird look. But now I just tell them that I am infact a girl.

I have a friend who knows a lot of 'butches', she always reminds me to be tough. She tells me that I'll have to take care of three families in the future if I have a wife. My own family, my wife's family, and my parents. It's a lot of pressure because that means I have to be able to provide for them all - and thus earn a lot of money. To be honest this does depend on what kind of family you grow up with though.

There are more examples about how girls expect us to be as 'butch'.

- We should be taller than our girlfriend.

- We have to be a gentleman.

- We are always the one who wears the pants.

- We are dominant.

And some girls think that it's not a good idea to be with one girl forever, there is no "future". We can't get married in Taiwan, it's not legal here yet. I have a friend who is 27 years old now, a year ago she broke up with her girlfriend because her girlfriend left her for a man. She said to my friend: "How am I supposed to be with you my whole life? We can't get married, and we can't have children. I want my own child."

This hurt my friend a lot. There is nothing wrong with being a girl who likes girls.

In my opinion, it's not easy to be 'butch' in Taiwan. Because you are mostly suppresed by life's cultural pressures. People like my friend are left afraid at the age of 28. Fearful of falling in love with a girl and then losing her. All because she might oneday come to the conclusion that there is no future with a 'butch'.

I know there aren't always sad stories. As long as you always believe in love, no matter who you are or how you identify, you will eventually find a girl who is willing to love you forever.

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