My Father is A Butch Dyke
February 8, 2019 1:17 PM   Subscribe

"My father was and maybe is dapper and beautiful. She taught me to believe in gender self-determination and how to be a dyke warrior. I choose to honor her after father’s day because she was or is better than that, more than that. My father is a butch dyke, redefining fatherhood and family by being brave enough to create a family of outlaws and outcasts." - by Cyree Jarelle Johnson
posted by stoneweaver (8 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
Some day, we will read stories like this that won’t be told under the shadow of sorrow kids allowed to grow up with queer parents allowed to grow old together, happy as parents and couples ever are, people, just beloved people.
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:34 PM on February 8 [7 favorites]

Great piece. The term "queerspawn" reminds me of the late Dan Cherubin, the queer ska librarian, whom I probably first heard it from, and the organization he founded Second Generation for queer kids of queer people (it later merged into COLAGE.) Archive of Dan's Geocities page about Second Generation.
posted by larrybob at 3:48 PM on February 8 [1 favorite]

I am AFAB, and I am a father, and I am not physically transitioning until after I have our second child-- and for logistical reasons, that's going to be a little while. This speaks to me.

Our first child calls me Dad, because that is how we have raised them. They're a toddler now, and despite all of our friends and family accepting me as their father, I worry that they're going to reject the word once they hit school and a larger peer group and more media exposure. It's difficult enough when random strangers on the street call me their mother, which presentation-wise is an understandable mistake.

So it's really nice to hear someone appreciate the role of father, even if her family didn't use the words. It helps me remember that although the words are important, the actions of fathering are the most important part, and that's what I'm doing, every day.
posted by Rush-That-Speaks at 4:16 PM on February 8 [21 favorites]

Um, I was kind of horrified to find out that Sheri dragged the author's other parent around by her hair and abandoned the family. Hard for me to get sappy after I read that part.
posted by jenfullmoon at 5:53 PM on February 8 [9 favorites] thought, too, jenfullmoon. I don't blame the author for loving her dad, but I don't think we'd be getting all sentimental about a cis man who did such things.
posted by praemunire at 7:57 PM on February 8 [1 favorite]

Just a note that going by his website, Cyree Jarelle Johnson uses male pronouns now (the piece quoted in the OP is 6 years old).
posted by mymbleth at 2:40 AM on February 9 [2 favorites]

I took the violence as part of the tragedy; not to excuse it but to underline the effects of a hostile society on queer couples — and also, maybe a sidewise admission by Johnson that what he learned from his father was not all good; that queer masculinity can be toxic, too. After all that loving “what my father taught me,” we get “what my father did to my mother and my family,” and then a story about beating a provoking kid on the playground, which ends:

I felt ashamed, then confused, then rage won. I punched and kicked that little white boy until he fell to the ground. I beat him until I felt powerful again.

That’s... not a good or happy admission. Yes, there’s a story about getting your own back for intersectional harassment, but there’s also an element of “I am my father’s child, good and bad.”
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:12 AM on February 9 [10 favorites]

I also took the violence as part of the tragedy of the situation, and just as a part of the complex whole that the author is trying to process, what it's like to have a father like that and the ways it ripples out and reverberates.

I want the author's zines, if anyone has a link on that.
posted by bile and syntax at 8:03 AM on February 9 [3 favorites]

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