Linda McKitrick – Generational Effects

“In the ‘60s, they didn’t have a name for that.”

Most of my friends are in their 40’s, some of them are in their 50’s. The younger people and the older people, they don’t mingle together. I do, because I just like people. I don’t care how old you are. I wouldn’t date someone that much younger than me, because I’m not attracted to a younger person. It depends, although most of the people I’m with, I’m either 10 years older or 10 years younger.

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The butches especially, the more masculine [lesbians, used to have certain codes of conduct]. When I came out, there was a definite butch-fem [pairing]. I was not like that. My friends would say, “Linda, you have to make up your mind whether you are going to be butch or fem.” Sometimes I’d look feminine going to bars, and stuff, and other times I would look more like a boy. I’ve always worn my hair short. I never put myself in a role. I guess I was way before my time. I thought, “No, I can just be Linda. If I feel like looking a little bit butchy I can look a little . . .” They said “No.” The butches actually wore suits and ties. [The butches sometimes passed as men and] the women were their girlfriends. Sometimes they used to call them “my woman.” They went to the point where they wore men’s clothes. They would cut their hair real short.

Now you can usually tell if they are—I don’t want to call them butches—the assertive ones. [Now] they are called bois, b-o-i. [On gay.com] I noticed that with a lot of their profiles they were they were calling themselves “boi.” The younger generation refers to themselves as bois. Even at Odyssey, if I were to ask them, they would say, “I’m a boi.” Well, you can tell by looking at them what they are.

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If a woman years ago hung out with gay guys, whether [the women] were straight or gay, they were called “fag hags.” In fact, it is really cool now if you know a gay person. They say, “Oh, there is my friend: she’s gay,” or “He’s gay.” You know, it’s like a status symbol if you know somebody who’s gay! Or they want to be with you because you’re gay. The women want to hang around with the gay guys . . . Like if you go to the bars and stuff: they dance together and everything. I think people are coming together.

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Oh, so the drag kings are women that dress up like men? Well, I’m familiar with the Court but [the drag king] is something new [to me]. I’ve known girls that were real real butchy, but I’m not familiar with [drag kings]. When I came here it was just drag queens. In the ‘60’s they didn’t have a name for that. It’s obvious that there were butches. Now, do the drag kings dress up in suits and stuff like that? I haven’t been to the bars lately. I haven’t heard of that.

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Source: Interview with Maureen Nickerson, 22 November 2006; held in the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture.