Femme Friday – Literary Femme: Lily Hu from Malinda Lo’s Last Night at the Telegraph Club

Just out this year, Malinda Lo’s historical young adult novel is set in San Francisco’s Chinatown in the mid-fifties. While she’s sitting in her friend’s family restaurant, 17-year old Lily comes across an advertisement in the local paper:

TOMMY ANDREWS MALE IMPERSONATOR – WORLD PREMIERE! THE TELEGRAPH CLUB. 462 BROADWAY.

Lily can’t stop staring at the accompanying photo “of a person who looked like a handsome man with his hair slicked back, dressed in a tuxedo. Something went still inside Lily, as if her heart had taken a breath before it continued beating.” (my italics, and me who got all weepy reading this line because that is how I reacted when I saw my first butch, too and it is so beautiful!)

Deep gratitude to Malinda Lo for loving Lily into existence and for writing a gorgeous novel featuring a young femme as a main character. They are so few and far between! Malinda’s book is dedicated “To all the butches and femmes, past, present, and future” and this old-school femme is enjoying the hell out of reading it, not to mention shedding a joyful tear or two.  

Every Friday, I showcase a queer femme goddess. I want to feature you (or your friend)! Write to me at thetotalfemme@gmail.com and let me shine a spotlight on your beautiful, unique, femme story! If you’ve written a femme story or poem or song, oh, please let me post it!

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.”) And…as I go through graduate school and life life life, I will post as I am able, Mabel.

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