Everyday, I am exploring myself and creating opportunities that shape my life and how I view the world around it.
My professional explorations are usually praised and appreciated and I am encouraged to be adventurous and challenge my limits. I even get congratulated when I switch from Dairy to Almond milk. People are open-minded, excitedly sharing their recipes asking what my next health endeavor will be.
However, there is one particular area of my life that is constricted by red tape.
There seems to be no socially acceptable opportunity to explore and it has left me feeling a bit stifled and worried about the future of my self-expression:
I came out to my friends at 15 and nose-dived into all things gay, quickly after that. I would remember the older Masc Dykes eagerly taking me underneath their wings. Through close interaction and observation, I took notes on social norms, fashion and the like. One thing that was clear very early on, was the intolerance for [perceived] feminine expression, or “Bitch shit.”
They were holding Masc Folks to their hetero-normative standards, helping to shape our minds and self-worth based off of principals unknowingly rooted in colonialism and white supremacy.
We didn’t know it then but, our intolerance for “Bitch shit” was steering us right down the crumbling roads of self-destruction. Even with the warning signs of abusive behavior, emotionally toxic relationships and the looming feeling of loneliness, as we stood 6 feet deep within our self-made brotherhood… we sped even faster, towards our harmful destinations.
Let’s go back to this red tape. Here are some rules that I have come across over the past 10+ years as a MoC Dyke:
- One shall not wear weave or any feminine hairstyle
- One shall not receive penetration of any kind
- One shall not be passive or submissive in any way
- One shall not wear feminine clothing
- One shall not express public sadness
- One must adhere to all hetero-normative/patriarchal standards of relationships (including but not limited to: femme and masc ONLY relationships)
- One must not be vulnerable or it shall be used against you in the Court of Gay Law
- One shall not get pregnant or express a want to give birth
- One must never be Bi/Pan/Fluid
I was holding myself to hetero-normative standards.
I was shaping my mind and self-worth based off of principals rooted in colonialism and white supremacy.
There is no right or wrong way to want or be wanted. There is no right or wrong way to f**k or be f***ed. MoC folks can be submissive, we can like penetration and if capable, we can get pregnant if we choose.
Even with the warning signs of abusive behavior, emotionally toxic relationships and the looming feeling of loneliness, I stood in our self-made brotherhood. I didn’t know it then, but our intolerance for “Bitch shit” was steering us right down the crumbling roads of self-destruction. Recognizing this, I began to disregard these rules and expanded my wings to explore my freedom. But my freedom came at a cost, the social anxiety of being called out ridiculed and shunned away from the community I call “Family,” reared it’s head constantly. The internet and my social circles became triggers for my anxiety.
The standards put into place for Masc of Center LGBTQIA folks are disgusting and must be undone and we all have to participate in the undoing. We must ask ourselves how we plan to unravel and decolonize our existence while we walk through minefields of judgment and unwarranted projections. Collectively as a community, we should be supportive in all ways. Our primary goal should be freedom and liberation from unfair constructs.
As much as we may not want to admit, sexuality is nuanced. There is no right or wrong way to want or be wanted. There is no right or wrong way to fuck or be fucked. MoC folks can be submissive, we can like penetration and if capable, we can get pregnant if we choose. We can learn to hold space for our partners to embrace their masculinity, as well. Exploring all of the unknowns, growing with each intentional step. Ask yourself, “What does the possibility of my freedom look like?” “How can I make space for myself?” “How can I ask my friends and lovers to make space for me?”
And through all of this please, know that you should never feel guilty or not masculine enough for wanting that space, either. You deserve to live the life conjured up by only your wildest dreams!
The years have gone by and I have had many introspective talks with myself about all of the bits of me I have buried beneath my masculinity. Some of the conversations have happened in candlelit boudoirs, and some in the fluorescent glows of workshops dedicated to deconstructing masculinity and internalized pain. It’s clear to me, my bros and I are suffocating between restrictions and double standards. Many times, I have asked the question “Where do I start?” Is this more about deconstructing my masculinity or allowing my femininity to unapologetically reveal itself?
I took the first steps when I began to listen to my body. Through lovemaking or dance, and through struggling with dysphoria, I found time to appreciate the softness that my skin couldn’t hide. I asked for my lovers to be gentle with me. I twerk to my favorite Trina songs. I openly admit when I think other masculine folks are attractive, as well.
Yes. EVEN CIS-MEN.
And Yes. I am Masculine of Center but, my masculinity does not center me.