Tending the Bulldagger Archive: Identificatory Practices, Negotiations, and Iterations of Lesbian Masculinity

Sunday, January 5, 2020: 10:50 AM
Regent Room (New York Hilton)
Sasha T. Goldberg, Indiana University
Marked as Inverts by virtue of visible and vocal gender transgressions, Butch lesbians have been medically, socially, and criminally condemned for crossing sex/gender binaries since the nineteenth century. Naming the essence of such crossings, Judy Grahn reflected, “Our point was not to be men; our point was to be butch and get away with it.” “Tending the Bulldagger Archive” inquires after the women who have gotten away it, chronicling shifting terrain (and steadfast trends) over a sixty-year period. Positioning America as a “post-trans nation” in which Cisgender and Transgender are employed as opposites, and within which Butch women maintain neither the positionality of “a person whose gender matches their sex,” nor “a person whose gender is opposite their sex,” this paper reflects a cultural archive signaling a “queer” female masculinity that embodies lesbian specificity, rather than Trans identification.