BUTCH Voices is an organization for “masculine of center” individuals to come together in community to support and educate one another.
BUTCH Voices holds a national conference every two years in Oakland and offers smaller regional gatherings and events in other places around the country.
We interviewed Joe Le Blanc, founder and board chair about what it means to be butch-identified and how that has an impact on one’s dating life.
BUTCH Voices is a social justice organization dedicated to enhancing and sustaining the well-being of all individuals who are butch, stud, tomboi, Masculine of Center, aggressive, macha, etc.
We have three areas of focus with our programming: community building, economic/social justice and mental/physical health.
After attending the Femme Conference in 2006 and various transgender conferences, I intended to create spaces that talked about topics that the butch, stud, masculine of center community faced.
I wanted to build community across areas of divide such as race, gender identity, age, class and ability, and to have solid connections with other butches and studs to discuss a variety of issues that we face, yet there was not an organization or space that really focused on this.
I started BUTCH Voices in 2008, and added a handful of people on the Board who were all invested in creating such a space. So many people within the community have said that the space has been life-changing for them.
For many of us it is the largest number of butches, studs, and masculine of center folks in one space.
People have appreciated having an inclusive and welcoming space that doesn’t dictate who is butch, and allows people to make that decision themselves.
Attendees have also said that they really enjoy the diversity of folks (race, age, identity) involved with the organization from the board through our steering committee to attendees.
Folks have loved not having to choose between various pieces of their identity to feel a part of something bigger.