I highly recommend reading the book Female Masculinity by Jack Halberstam.

I’ve been seeing a lot of posts lately from folks questioning their gender, talking about dysphoria, bouncing between feeling like they’re NB, a trans guy, or just a really butch woman. I was in the same boat. Hell, most days I’m still in the same boat, but then I started reading this book and couldn’t believe how much it helped me feel more secure in my gender. I haven’t finished it yet, but I’m just beyond the halfway mark, and already this has helped me feel like no matter how I present or how I feel, I have a place within the butch community of women and non-women alike.

The book was published in 1998, so some of the language we have today wasn’t present during the time the book was being written, so you’ll notice that transsexual is used where we would use transgender today. There are also terms used to describe masculine women* (or masculine people who were assigned female at birth). Although the author talks about masculine women* in a way where they say “women” or “female”, they very clearly use neutral language of the time to talk about the people in the book. This book will not only work for butch women, but also for non-binary people, and even trans men (although maybe a little less so).

Reading 100+ pages of other people who were assigned female at birth and repeatedly defied the gender norms and expectations of the times was so exhilarating, and I cannot recommend it enough. Before there was language to even identify dysphoria or wanting to present with more masculinity, women and non-binary people and trans people existed, and that helped me realize that I have a place in the world, no matter how I feel from day-to-day.

This book has massively helped me with my gender dysphoria, and I hope it can help some of you.