The idea for Butch and Stud Appreciation Week came to me in an unexpected, glorious place: Tumblr. I was having a bout of “wtf do I write about” (you writers know what I’m talking about) and wondered if the best place for inspiration might lie with you, our beloved readers. So I posed the question: What would you like to read on AfterEllen? The very first response I got was “BUTCHES. MORE BUTCHES.” And I was like “That’s the best goddamn idea I’ve heard in a long time.” My mind sprung to action. Half a dozen article ideas danced through my brain.
Quickly, I realized that just one or two pieces about butches and studs would not be enough. And that I alone could not create the content they deserve. No, we needed at least a week, and we needed the best writers at AfterEllen to chime in with their own stories, their own opinions, their own tributes to butches and studs. Butch and Stud Appreciation Week slid out of my mind like Athena cracking out of Zeus’s skull, bellowing “What’s good?!”
Butches and studs are the unsung heroes of the lesbian community. Wearing their sexuality on their sleeve, they unapologetically exist in all spaces and face down hate and ignorance with unwavering strength. Butches and studs often march on the forefront of civil rights, gay rights, and women’s rights movement. They are the bedrock of lesbian culture.
And yet, butches and studs are chronically underappreciated. Heterosexuals mock them. Young queers undervalue them. Gay men belittle them. Self-involved straight feminists longing for male validation have a long and sordid history of using butch women to fight sexism while publicly distancing themselves from “those butch lesbians.” While many members of the LGBTQ community recognize and appreciate the contributions butch and stud lesbians make to our community, others are openly hostile and dismissive. It has gone unchecked for too long, and I hope during and after this week, you will all join me in shutting it the fuck down.
Butch and stud women are some of the strongest, sexiest, coolest women you’ll ever know. The lesbian community would be infinitely inferior without their existence. I want to celebrate their identity. I want scream BUTCH IS NOT A DIRTY WORD from the rooftops. I want to thank butches and studs for being so brave, so selfless, so kind, so wonderful, so good to all of us.
Gay culture, politics, fashion, music and identity is irrevocably interwoven with butch and stud identities. I hope that never changes. I hope young gay women who read the upcoming articles in butch and stud appreciation week will gain new pride and perspective. You are part of a long and proud group of women. You are perfect. You are attractive. You are home. I hope adult studs and butches will read this and be reminded of how important and special they are. You are appreciated. You are desired. You are respected. You are understood. You are admired. You are home.
I hope the femmes, queers, bisexuals, pansexuals, transgenders, androgynous, and every other person reading these pieces will pay attention and join in during this time of celebration and appreciation. They constantly support you. It’s time to give your support to them.
Welcome to Butch and Stud appreciation week. We’ve got a great line up for you. I’ll be paying tribute to butches and studs to follow on social media for a little bit of pride in your daily feed. I’ve interviewed the best leaders stud and butch fashion to create an accessible, helpful series on dressing for every occasion and finding the right fit. Other AfterEllen writers and guest contributors have written pieces about butches and studs in the media, what they love about their butch partners, the best of butch erotica, sex for baby butches, think pieces on butch identity, and much more.
This is going to be an awesome week, and I strongly encourage all of you to participate on Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, and in the comments. Use #ButchStudLove to interact with AfterEllen and other members of the LGBTQ community while we send mad love to all the butches and studs. Let’s make this week amazing. Let’s show our respect. Let’s do it right.
Header image background via mytherea.deviantart.com