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(All images used with permission. Thanks to the Butch Clothing Company for use of client shots. http://www.thebutchclothingcompany.co.uk)

Please take part in research! Lesbian/Queer Masculinities

Are you a lesbian, bi, queer or gay woman (or identify in a broader sense with those terms or have identified with those terms in the past) aged over 18 years old and living in the UK? And/or do you identify as or with any one or more of the following identities: butch, stud, transmasculine, masculine of centre, genderqueer, genderfluid, gender non-conforming, trans, transgender or non-binary? Would you be willing to take part in survey research on lesbian/queer masculine gender identities?

I am a Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of the West of England in Bristol, UK and I am researching what these identities above, as well as the identity of ‘lesbian’ in general, mean today in a society where apparently more and more people are choosing not to use the term ‘lesbian’. Increasingly it seems that younger generations prefer to use different terms to describe their gender identity and sexual identity, such as fluid, non-binary, queer, pan or just ‘not straight’.

With increasing societal understanding and acceptance that sexual and gender identity are on a spectrum, is there any need now for labels such as butch to specify a certain type of lesbian gender identity or type of queer masculinity? Or are these sorts of lesbian identities and identifiers out of date?

My research aims to explore these questions. I myself identify as a butch lesbian and both these terms were liberating and inspiring for me as a young person coming out; this is why I am interested in what identifiers are playing this role for others today.

Responses gathered in this research will be used to develop articles for academic journals and conference presentations. I will compile a summary of the research findings and distribute this to national LGBT groups and charities such as Stonewall and the Older Lesbian Network. The research will be used to develop articles for mainstream media including the LGBTQI+ press and I hope that the findings will be a useful insight into contemporary lesbian/queer communities and community in the UK – communities, lives and identities which are often overlooked and under-researched.

If you are interested in taking part, there is some more practical information about the survey below. The link to the survey is provided at the end of this information. Please click or copy & paste the link to take part in the survey.

https://uwe.eu.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_3VOhbdlc5JAwH8p

Thank you.

 

Panel 1

About

(Photo collage used with permission from Meg Allen Studio ‘BUTCH’ www.megallenstudio.com)

Why am I doing this study?

Genderqueer, masculine of centre, gender non-conforming, transmasculine and FTM transgender and transexual identities appear to be much more widely understood and visible than they ever were before. In amongst rising awareness and increasing usage of a variety of identity categories for sex and gender, the category of ‘butch lesbian’, ‘butch’ or ‘stud’ appears to have declined in usage and become less popular and common – as has the broader category of ‘lesbian’ according to some research. I am therefore interested in how identities are changing and how lesbian/bi/queer or gay women describe themselves and their gender identity today. There has been some research into this in America, mainly by journalists and commentators, which suggests that younger generations in particular feel that categories to describe certain queer masculine identifications such as ‘butch’ are considered out of date and even backward. I hope to research the situation in the UK today, and attempt to ascertain if such categories are no longer being widely used, and if so why this is the case.

Why have you been invited to take part in the study?

You are being invited to take part in this study on lesbian/queer masculinities because you are an adult aged over eighteen, living in the UK and you have responded to my open call to those lesbian, bi, queer or gay women, and/or identifying as or with any one or more of the following identity categories – butch, stud, transmasculine, masculine of centre, genderqueer, genderfluid, gender non-conforming, trans, transgender or non-binary.

What will the research involve?

If having read this information sheet you are willing to take part in the project then please proceed to the electronic survey online hosted by UWE Qualtrics. The full list of questions is included at the end of this information sheet so you can see beforehand just what sort of questions are in the survey. You will find that most of the questions invite open text responses, there is a comments box on nearly every question, and please write as much as you can in response to the topics and questions posed. If there are any questions you do not wish to answer, please just leave them blank and move on, ticking the ‘prefer not to answer’ or ‘don’t know’ boxes provided. At the end of the survey you will also have the opportunity to add anything you don’t feel was addressed, or to suggest any changes to the survey design, you can also make comments and critiques about the survey design. The survey will take approximately 20 – 30 minutes to complete.

Do you have to take part?

It is up to you to decide whether or not to take part in my project.  If you do decide to take part you are still free to pick and choose which questions you answer. If, after having completed the survey, you change your mind and decide that you do not want your responses used in the research you can contact me and let me know and I will make sure your data is not used.

What will happen to the answers you give in the survey?

The survey does not require you to give your name. All information collected from the survey responses will be kept strictly confidential. You can see a full list of the questions that are in the survey, at the end of this information sheet. Data you provide will be stored anonymously and will only be identified by a reference number. All the data will be kept securely on the University of the West of England secure server and only I will have access to it via a confidential password. The findings of my project will be anonymised, the data you provide would be identified using a pseudonym and the survey does not ask you to provide your name.  The findings will be used to inform articles submitted for peer review in academic journals as well as open access journals and other knowledge exchange, policy recommendations and executive summaries and LGBTQI+ community sites on social media and therefore will be public at that stage, the data may also be used in related publications or other published works.

What about questions that are sensitive?

My research project has received ethical approval from the Faculty of Health and Social Sciences at the University of the West of England. I understand that gender identity and sexual identity is personal and is a real, lived experience. Our perceptions of ourselves affect all aspects of our life, our relationships, aspirations, personal demeanour, appearance and many other areas. Not everyone’s journeys through their identity are smooth and for many people this can be a site of confusion, uncertainty and change. Some support organisations are therefore listed at the end of this information sheet. You are reminded that you do not have to answer every question in the survey, if some questions are too personal or sensitive for you then please feel free not to answer those and move onto the following questions instead.

Further information

If you would like further information then please do not hesitate to contact me at:

finn.mackay@uwe.ac.uk

Relevant support organisations

Switchboard LGBT Helpline: 0300 330 0630

www.switchboard.lgbt/help

Samaritans Helpline: 116 123

www.samaritans.org

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lesbian masc collage 2

(Photo collage used with permission from Meg Allen Studio ‘BUTCHhttp://www.megallenstudio.com)

Would you like to take part? Lesbian/Queer Masculinities

Participant Consent Form: Please read the further information provided and ensure that you can answer yes to each of the following questions. Take a look at the list of survey questions provided on the next page. Once you feel that you are fully aware of what the project involves and that you wish to take part in it then please proceed to the online survey and begin the survey. It should take 20 – 30 mins to complete.

Have you read the information sheet?

Have you received enough information about the project?

Do you understand that you are free to withdraw from the survey at any time?

Do you agree to participate in the project?

Do you understand you can skip any question you don’t want to answer?

Do you agree to allow me to use data from your survey responses (data will possibly be used in publications but will be anonymised)?

If you agree to all of the above and are aware of the purpose and uses of the research then please continue to the online survey. Many thanks for taking part. You can access the survey from this linkhttps://uwe.eu.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_3VOhbdlc5JAwH8p

Contact for further information

If you need any further information, please feel free to contact me on: finn.mackay@uwe.ac.uk

If you wish to check anything about the research you can also contact the Sociology Department and my Associate Head of Department who is my Manager: Dr. Jon Mullholland at: jon.mulholland@uwe.ac.uk

Thank You!

Link to Qualtrics survey https://uwe.eu.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_3VOhbdlc5JAwH8p

friends collage 6

(All photos used with permission. Thanks to the Butch Clothing Company for use of client shots http://www.thebutchclothingcompany.co.uk)

What questions will you be asked?

Here is a full list of the questions contained in the survey. Some of these questions have yes/no answers, but a text box is always given because I understand that almost all of these questions do not have simple answers! The survey tool requires that some of the questions have set options and it means that I can draw some numerical data from those responses, but you are always given the option to write in your own answers too, or instead of the ones given!

Section 1 – About you

  1. How do you describe your gender identity?
  2. How do you describe your sexual identity?
  3. Are you ‘out’ about your gender and sexual identity?

Section 2 – Sexuality and gender identity – your biography

  1. Do you feel there is a link between your sexual identity and your gender identity or not?
  2. Do you identify as or with the category ‘woman’?
  3. Do you identify as or with the category ‘lesbian’?
  4. Do you feel that it has become easier over the years to identify your sexuality and gender in the way that you do?

Section 3 – Changing labels and identities – your views and experiences

  1. Do you feel that there is more awareness today about gender non-conforming, masculine of centre, non-binary, transmasculine and trans identities?
  2. It could be argued that the world is still catching up with the wonderful variety of gender and sexual expression today. Do you feel that people respond to you and recognise you as the identity which you define yourself as? Or, do people often assume you are a different identity to the one you define yourself as?

Section 4 – New terms for gender and sexual identities

  1. Do you think that the identity category, identity or label of ‘lesbian’ is more or less widely used today compared to in the past?
  2. Do you think that the identity category, identity or label of ‘butch’ or ‘stud’ is more or less widely used today compared to in the past?
  3. How would you personally define the terms ‘butch’ and ‘stud’?
  4. How do these terms (butch and/or stud) relate to newer terms such as masculine of centre, gender non-conforming, transmasculine, non-binary, FTM, trans man, trans? For example, do you think that there are commonalities between these identifications, or not? What do you think they have in common and what sets them apart?
  5. How would you describe the term ‘masculinity’ and what does that term mean to you?
  6. What are the positive things about identifying as your identity?! Please share.
  7. What advice would you like to give to a young person just coming out today?

End of survey

If you would like to take part, please access the online survey provided by Qualtrics. The survey can be accessed on this link -https://uwe.eu.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_3VOhbdlc5JAwH8p

butch photo shoot 3

(Photo collage used with permission from Meg Allen Studio ‘BUTCHhttp://www.megallenstudio.com)

 

 

 

 

 

Panel 2

Contact

(Photo collage used with permission from Meg Allen Studios ‘BUTCHhttp://www.megallenstudio.com)

Contact for further information

If you need any further information, please feel free to contact me on: finn.mackay@uwe.ac.uk

If you wish to check anything about the research you can also contact the Sociology Department at the University of the West of England, Bristol, UK via my Associate Head of Department who is my Manager: Dr. Jon Mullholland at: jon.mulholland@uwe.ac.uk

Thank You!