Sable and I met in the Radical Faerie Heart Circle at Creating Change, where we shared such lovely moments together. I am so thrilled to welcome her to Femme Friday, and am moved and inspired by her responses sparked by the following interview questions:
“When first I found femme, I…” (thank you, Radical Faerie Heart Circle, where we were asked to complete the sentence, “When first I found a faerie…)
Can you talk about how your understanding of “femme” has evolved over the years?
Do you see femmes as being able to contribute something unique in this time of upheaval, danger and protest?
Who are your femme role models?
Deep gratitude to Sable Twilight for these illuminating words!
I am Sable. Sometimes Sable Twilight. A queer, femme, trans woman in Denver, Colorado. I currently work as a program manager for the transgender programmers a local LGBTQIA+ community center in fair sized Midwestern city Some of the additional identities I hold are white, middle class, temporarily able-bodied, born in the United States, college educated, mid-forties, and with English as my first language. And these are the lenses of understanding and relationship from which I approach my understanding of femme.
When asked to write about myself for Femme Friday, I was not sure how to approach it. While I had thought and read a bit about femme in terms of activism, visibility, and political, social, and spiritual dynamics, I had never really given voice or word for to how having a femme identity relates directly to me. I think, in a lot of ways, femme invisibility has been so strong, so powerful that it has been invisible even to myself for much of my life.
I think I have actively identifying as femme for about six years now, though reflecting back, I can see signs where I have always been femme. I consider myself more of a business femme, casual femme, witchy femme, and occasional pajama femme than high femme. I think one of the most empowering things I have done for myself, in relation to my femme identity, was to recognize how femme can manifest in many different ways and in many different dynamics. Initially when I started thinking of myself as femme, I would compare myself to other people I identified as femme. And I would often judge myself a bit harshly for not having enough of what I perceived as the femme trappings. Eventually I came to realize that, for me at least, femme was more about a relationship with myself, the world, and the universe. For me, femme about fluidity: in my relationships, in my identity, in just about everything. I think that is what makes femme such a challenging to define, because it can be such a fluid and unique for each person.
For me, my femme identity is as much a spiritual one as expressive one. As part of this acceptance of the diversity and fluidity of femme, I have sought to understand it’s diversity and fluidity in the universe and in the divinities I work with. As well as the above social identities, I do identify as a seidr worker, volva, energy worker and as such I have been feeling for a while there is sort of energetic shift I have been feeling in the world, a sort of rising femme energy. I have at times call it Queer Femme Rising, in recognition of the Queer Masculine or Homme energy which I saw developing from the queer (both literally and figuratively) creative movement of the 1950s, 60s, and 70s. In a similar vein, I have seen this slow manifestation and growth of a femme dynamic manifesting in the world in an ever-growing manner.
As I have been working through my own connection of my femme identity and how it relates to my spiritual path, I have been working through some of the ancestral and cultural trauma embedded within the femme experience. I have been examining the intersection of femme oppression, cissexism and transphobia, queerphobia, capitalism, colonialism, racism and white supremacy, and xenophobia as sort of an extension of a core anti-femme need for rigidness and absolutism. I have begun to understand how femme passion and sexuality, youth and aging, the womb and death, nature itself have been perceived as this uncomfortable threat to the dynamics of patriarchy, control, and exploitation.
I think femme and the sacred femme and the queer femme have a lot to offer during this time of turmoil. They empower and inspire an embracing of change and diversity. And I think from that embracing of diversity opens the possibility for understanding the world and finding new path. For me, femme inspires a certain sense of hope and deep down caring, compassion, and love for the world, as well as a recognition for the need for action.
I think one of the biggest challenges femmes face is femme invisibility. We are everywhere but sometimes is it difficult to recognize one another. This is of the reasons I have been looking at the concept of the femme spiral. As told to me by a femme friend, this is the idea of putting some form of spiral based art, such as a tattoo, on the inside right wrist. The idea is it become a means of recognition which honors the diversity of our experiences as well as the often-cyclical nature of our existences.
I think it is important we stop harming each other. Stop committing lateral violence on one another. And to recognize we are all carrying within us generations of collective trauma. I feel the greatest and most damaging harm committed to us through the burning times and colonization was the internalization of the oppressor and then using that internalized force to regulate and oppress one another. It is time we start to heal our wounds and reclaim our internal power.
I have so many femme role models. They range across the femme spectrum – the high femmes, the punk and working class femmes, the corporate femmes, the Goths, the pajama femmes, the hidden femmes and the public femmes, the queer femmes, the femmes who embody their identities as an act of femme resistance. Even those most handsome of dapper gender queer, trans masculine, and non-binary femmes. They all inspire me and empower me when I allow myself to honor and recognize them.
I do find a lot of everyday empowerment from the Goddess Freyja, who, for me, is a representation of fierce femme, empowered sexuality, internalized beauty, and shaper of one’s own world, path, and destiny. And Freyja is just one representation of femme empowerment. The power of the scared femme is transcendent in countless divinities, both cultural and personal, across time and cultures. Ultimate I seek to see each femme I meet one of my femme role models.
In between work and letting myself relax with the occasional video game (yes I am a proud gamer femme as well), I have been throwing myself into the online course “The Burning Times Never Ended: A Story of Disenchantment and Re-membering Resistance” (http://callingourselveshome.weebly.com/the-burning-times-never-ended-re-membering-resistance.html) as a way to reconnect with a queer femme past which forces of patriarch and capitalism tired eradicating. And as part of my own spiritual journey, I have working through the book “Lifting the Veil: A Witches’ Guide to Trance-Prophesy, Drawing Down the Moon, and Ecstatic Ritual” by Janet Farrar and Gavin Bone. I enjoy watching Steven Universe, and I think it holds a lot of value in terms of representation and empowerment. I look forward to the next seasons of Sense8 and HerStory. For femme inspired musicians, I am most definitely a fan of Miranda Sex Garden, Siouxie and the Banshees, Sleater-Kinney, La Roux, Carina Round, Ayria, Sopor Aeternus & the Ensemble of Shadows, Jill Tracy, and so many other wonderful artists.
“Just on the border, Of your waking mind, There lies, Another plain, Where darkness and light are one, And as you tread the halls of sanity, You feel so glad to be, Unable to go beyond, I have a message, From another time…”
-ELO “Prologue” Time
Every Friday, I showcase a queer femme goddess. Suggestions welcome!