Gender Troubles: The Butches

54 min. CSGGB Productions. gendertroubles.com. 2016. $75. ISBN unavail.
Gr 6 Up—This documentary begins with six women of various ages and ethnicities reminiscing about their childhoods and when they first identified as butch, even if they lacked the term for it. Scenes of their daily lives are cut with talking-heads interview footage, and charmingly awkward snapshots from their youth heighten the friendly, intimate feel. The interviewees challenge the idea that butch women are trans men in denial. As one woman states, "I don't think a butch woman is trying to be a man. A butch woman is being herself." This is no easy feat in a society with a strict gender binary, and viewers hear about difficulties with doctors, jobs, families, and, perhaps most heartbreakingly, other more feminine-presenting lesbians. Yet the six women also share the joy and relief of accepting themselves and finding the butch community, ending the film on a hopeful note.
VERDICT While greater discussion of intersectionality would have given a more nuanced understanding of butch identity, young people of all gender presentations will come away with a rich portrait of butch women's experiences.

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