Who's your favourite butch dyke?
July 26, 2012 8:55 AM   Subscribe

Help me compiling a list of well known butch dykes

I make a zine with short bios of masculine lesbians of note, and lately I feel a bit stumped for ideas.

Basically, what I'm looking for is:

1. Masculine lesbians
2. Out
3. From the past or the present
4. Whose biographies are somewhat accessible and interesting

BONUS: women of colour and non-Anglo women!

I am starting to work on a Judith Butler zine - but all the images I find of her are in lectures! So there's this concern too, to be able to find pics or imagine them in a range of situations. But most importantly, having a big list here to consult, share, and go back to.

Links to lists, blogs, tumblrs are welcome too.

posted by TheGoodBlood to Society & Culture (31 answers total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
Le Tigre's JD Samson.
posted by griphus at 9:00 AM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

Here's the ones I already have in comic form: JD Samson, Martina Navratilova, Gladys Bentley, Chavela Vargas, Jenny Shimizu, Gertrude Stein and Claude Cahun.
posted by TheGoodBlood at 9:04 AM on July 26, 2012

Have you seen this? http://www.tophotbutches.com/

Note: I believe there are people on that list that don't identify as female--some may be genderqueer or transmasculine.

Other people I can think of offhand: Sinclair Sexsmith, Kelli Dunham, Ivan Coyote, Del Martin.
posted by needs more cowbell at 9:09 AM on July 26, 2012

Lynn Lavner, comic and cabaret performer from the 80s/90s. I emailed the DJ after hearing "Such Fine Young Men" on Queer Music Heritage when I was in college, expressing how touching the song was. He forwarded my email on to Ms. Lavner and she responded with the kindest note I've ever received and autographed copies of her CDs. You can hear some clips from her songs on the page linked about, including "A Mother's Lament" (a hilarious song from a Jewish mother to her butch daughter including the line "...don't wear leather pants to the seder.").
posted by jph at 9:14 AM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

Alison Bechdel.
posted by griphus at 9:15 AM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

Rachel Maddow.
posted by rtha at 9:18 AM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

Lea DeLaria.
posted by psoas at 9:24 AM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

Heather Cassils is well-known for being the butch in Lady Gaga's "Telephone" video.
posted by nakedmolerats at 9:34 AM on July 26, 2012

Radclyffe Hall, author of The Well of Loneliness, who went by the nickname "John."
posted by Carol Anne at 9:44 AM on July 26, 2012 [2 favorites]

Leslie Feinberg.
posted by Ys at 9:47 AM on July 26, 2012

Hmmmm...I was thinking that book by Leslie Feinberg was an autobiography, but a read back over the blurb, probably not. (Sorry!) Still, it's a good read.
posted by Ys at 9:50 AM on July 26, 2012

posted by treblemaker at 9:55 AM on July 26, 2012 [2 favorites]

Kate Clinton?
posted by Danf at 10:01 AM on July 26, 2012

k. d. lang.

Ellen DeGeneres.

Leslie Feinberg doesn't identify as female.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:04 AM on July 26, 2012

Gladys Bentley was pretty goddamn amazing.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:08 AM on July 26, 2012 [2 favorites]

The photographer Catherine Opie
posted by stagewhisper at 10:13 AM on July 26, 2012 [3 favorites]

Rita Mae Brown
posted by snorkmaiden at 10:42 AM on July 26, 2012

Historical hottie Annemarie Schwarzenbach and Erika Mann.

Did you ever see Jack/Judith Butler's photo shoot with her partner for Oprah's magazine? Fascinating. Can't find a good link but you should hunt that issue down.
posted by Lieber Frau at 10:55 AM on July 26, 2012

Mary Daly
posted by likeatoaster at 10:58 AM on July 26, 2012

D'oh! I meant Jack/Judith Halbserstam, not Judith Butler. My mistake! Here's the article, which is a little silly.
posted by Lieber Frau at 11:03 AM on July 26, 2012

Betty 'Joe' Carstairs
posted by mdrew at 11:28 AM on July 26, 2012

Maggi Hambling
posted by misteraitch at 1:23 PM on July 26, 2012

Katharine Hepburn. (Contentious, I know, but I am choosing to believe the book. Because, Katharine Hepburn.)
posted by Wordwoman at 2:35 PM on July 26, 2012

Colette's lover Missy. I read about her in the Colette biography Secrets of the Flesh (which is fabulous and sexy and highly recommended!)
posted by prune at 2:55 PM on July 26, 2012

Tracy Chapman
posted by slenderloris at 5:05 PM on July 26, 2012

Rita Mae Brown

It would really surprise me if she identifies as butch, and not only because she dated Martina. See this essay. I know I'm not a good one to talk here, since I playfully included Katharine Hepburn above (sorry, didn't see the part about "out"). But I want to point out that you really judge from the haircut and clothes. There are plenty of androgynous dykes that are emphatically not butch. Apologies if RMB has declared herself as one (and sorry for being pedantic -- I look forward to reading your zine!).
posted by Wordwoman at 8:14 PM on July 26, 2012

typo alert: really CAN'T judge
posted by Wordwoman at 8:15 PM on July 26, 2012

Andrea Gibson
posted by kylej at 9:15 PM on July 26, 2012

Also: Abby Wambach.
posted by treblemaker at 11:54 PM on July 26, 2012

I think Elizabeth Streb is highly underrated.
posted by history is a weapon at 8:45 AM on July 28, 2012

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