The butch flag.

The butch lesbian flag.

An example of butch fashion.

The butch symbol.

Butch is a term used in lesbian and gay subculture to describe an LGBT+ person, typically a lesbian or otherwise sapphic woman who has a masculine gender presentation. The term butch tends to denote a degree of masculinity beyond what would be considered typical of a tomboy.

Butch women will often dress in masculine clothing, and typically present themselves in a more stereotypical masculine way, such as having short hair, not wearing makeup, and not shaving. Butches are also commonly thought of as having more "masculine" interests, such as sports, mechanics and other hands-on jobs. Some butches will take on masculine nicknames, and some may use masculine pronouns. Some butches bind their chest or take masculinizing hormones to appear more masculine. Despite this butch women are still women. They can be cisgender, transgender or any other gender modality. This label can also be used by non-binary people. It is not uncommon for butch women to face harassment or violence because of their appearance.

Traditionally, butch has been used by individuals who are attracted to femmes. For some butches, this attraction to femmes represents a strong part of their own identity. However, some butches are attracted to other butches. This phenomenon is commonly called "masc-for-masc" or "butch-for-butch".

Butch is sometimes used as a non-binary gender on its own, particular by people who have a complex relationship with gender or womanhood due to being butch or being sapphic. In a 2015 survey of non-cis people in the USA, 5% of respondents (about 1,385 people) were butch.[1]

While the butch label is often used by/associated with lesbians, it is also used by other groups in the LGBTQ+ community, this includes m-spec sapphics and queer men .[2]

Other Terms

Some other terms that are typically synonymous with butch include: "diesel dyke" "bulldyke"[3], "or "bulldagger"[4] or simply just "dyke". There are also several sub-categories of butch that exist.

Stone Butch

A stone butch is a butch person who does not like their genitals sexually touched by their partners. They still, however, provide their partners with sexual gratification, and often experience pleasure in doing so. A stone butch may receive sexual pleasure from their partner in different ways as well. They may also identify as asexual and/or placiosexual.


A stud is a form of butchness that is specific to black women. They tend to be influenced by urban and hip-hop cultures and fashion.

Soft Butch

The term soft butch means a butch who does not act very tough, or just is all around a softer type of person. This does not mean they are more feminine or "less of a butch" than any other type of butch.


The butch lesbian flag is a more blue-purple version of the lesbian red and pink flag, representing a more masculine presentation.


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