Meditations for Queer Femmes – Political Femme

Earlier this month, we had our February Femme Klatsch. We met at the mall, in a sprawling restaurant, six femmes from all different walks of life sitting together in a cone of femme space. Femme Klatsch was born through a collaboration with my sister femme, Liz, as both of us were craving regular femme community, especially now when there is so much anger and fear. Not only that, we wanted a place where we could focus in on topics relevant to our queer femme lives. It would be easy to sit together in femme love and chat about outfits, children, work, partners, dating, food, or what have you, and there is much healing and laughter in such casual femme-only events. Liz and I, however, have the goal of opening up space where we queer femmes can discuss and share our femme experiences; where we can delve more deeply into what it means to be queer femmes. One of the ways we encourage this is to have a collection of questions to jump-start discussion. At our last Klatsch, the question picked was, “How did you come out as femme?”

As my femme sisters spoke about coming into their femme identities, something new about my own femme identity began to coalesce; something about politics. I couldn’t quite articulate it just then, but now I can say that my claiming femme couldn’t happen for me until I was able to situate my politics in femme and my femme in my politics. For me, if it’s not about understanding and fighting systems of oppression, I don’t want to go. As a hard-core 70s feminist, I had quite a difficult time copping to acting “girly” – like letting my butch date open the door for me or pay for dinner – until I was able to understand that allowing a butch to care for me in this way was actually spitting in the face of patriarchy, exactly what I was doing when not allowing straight men to give me the “little lady” treatment. I had to come to understand that femme could include every aspect of the way I see the world through social justice lenses. I think one reason I wasn’t able to come out for so long as femme, one reason I thought femme could be discarded when I met and fell in love with a “regulah” lesbian, was because I had yet to find examples of how my radical politics could fit into what felt like, at the time, a sexual preference (my attraction to butches). I thought my politics would transform and inform my sexual and love relationships, no matter who I was with, and, of course, to some extent, that is true. But I am a femme who loves butches – loving butches is an integral part of my being femme – and it wasn’t until I was able to situate my politics in my particular way of being femme that I was able to claim queer femme as my identity. And then, oh glory, I could begin to discover who I really was instead of who I thought I was supposed to be or who I was pretending to be. Could, in fact, do nothing other.

My story and yours may intersect in some parts, diverge widely in others, but each is beautiful and rich and inspiring. There are so many millions of ways to be femme!

Today, take time to honor your femme story, alone or with one or more other femmes. I hope you will find something new, an insight or a different way of interpreting a familiar incident or memory. That you will hold your femme story, in all it’s imperfect perfection, and cherish it and know it is still unfolding. This complex, complicated, splendiferous being that you are: fully human, fully femme, fully you.

Every Monday, I offer a Meditation for Queer Femmes, in the spirit of my maternal grandmother, Mimi, who was fabulous, and from whom I inherited her Meditations for Women.

At the Total Femme, my intention is to post three times a week: Meditations for Queer Femmes on Monday, Pingy-Dingy Wednesday on Wednesday and Femme Friday on Friday. Rather than play catch-up in a stressful fashion on those weeks when life prevents posting, I have decided to just move gaily forward: if I miss a Monday, the next post will be on Wednesday, and so on. Thank you, little bottle of antibiotics for inspiring me in this! (“…if it’s almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Don’t take a double dose to make up for a missed one.”)