OCCUPATION/PREOCCUPATION: People pay me to kick their butt and make them sweat a lot. (Personal Trainer/Instructor/Event Coordinator)

YOUR STYLE IN TWO WORDS: Roots Canada (haha) or more seriously, Sporty-stemme

YOUR HISTORY WITH/RELATIONSHIP WITH “BUTCH”: With the common understanding of butch and femme being a dichotomy with the continuum in between — I have always fallen in between. I have never really considered myself butch growing up nor have I ever been completely femme either. I felt more comfortable wearing men’s clothing, but that was the extent of my butchness. Being butch to me meant being masculine in ways that I didn’t think I identified with, but I have always dated women who were more feminine-presenting than I am.

I have had short and long hair in different phases of my life, which brought about very different experiences that I constantly reflect on. I have been misgendered a lot growing up, and have definitely questioned my gender identity. But because I have had more negative memories associated with having short hair, I grew my hair out in high school; and I came out in the process of going through university.

For a majority part of the time that I have been out, I have been perceived as sporty and somewhat femme because of my long hair, and I took a liking to wearing more traditionally feminine clothing – with heels, dresses, etc. I continued to play with my gender expression, but what hasn’t changed is how people perceive me when I play sports. I’ve been told that I am more butch when I am on the field or on the court, but off the court, I don’t ‘act butch’. My experiences this past year has allowed me to further reflect on how easily gender expression and appearance can change your day-to-day interactions with people. I cut my hair to donate (20 inches) in late February of 2015, and that has changed how people see and talk to me as well as how they react to my presence. It has also made a difference in whose attention I would draw in the dating scene.

I am slowly associating myself to being more butch with the clothing I wear, but I certainly still enjoy putting on a pair of pumps, getting my make up and nails done, and changing my dance style from Justin Timberlake to Beyonce. I would absolutely enjoy putting on a drag performance at some point in my life and really let it be a performance as I know I would have to consciously act ‘more butch’. There are days when I feel more butch than others, but I have come to realize that what I am perceived as by others may or may not be aligned with what I identify with. It’s been quite the ride, and I only see it to be even more interesting as I continue to play with my gender expression/appearance.