Femme Friday – Raechel Anne Jolie and her memoir Rust Belt Femme

I just, just, just started it and am already captivated by Raechel’s beautiful writing and honesty. She starts off with a quote by Mykel Johnson, who I knew back in the day when we did anti-racism for white women work together and also from her wonderful contribution to Joan Nestle’s The Persistent Desire: A Femme-Butch Reader, “Butchy Femme”:

To be femme is to give honor where there has been shame.

Raechel goes on to write,

“This book about my deep love of the soil and sky that comprises Northeast Ohio is actually a book about my deep love of the soil and sky that comprises stolen Iroquois land. I am indebted to the work of indigenous activists and healers who have taught me to remember this and name it as often as I can, and more than that, to find ways to reduce the harm of the presence of white colonizers on this land. During the writing of this book, I began making monthly donations to the Committee of 500 Years of Dignity and Resistance, a grassroots 501 (c)(3) in Cleveland dedicated to maintaining indigenous culture and heritage.”

Already I’m teary and filled with love for Raechel’s work, and then I start in with the Prologue and am accompanying, with great interest and hope, the child Raechel’s forays down to the crick to find treasure and fireflies.  

Deep gratitude to Raechel for her fortitude in writing this queer femme memoir, a gift to all femmes, and for her dedication to intersectional understandings of the world, where healing grows.

P.S., I found this book at All She Wrote, a feminist bookstore in Somerville, Mass. – if you are able, I hope you also buy your copy from a local independently owned bookstore. All She Wrote is also happy to send you books, if you’d like to buy it from them:


Every Friday, I showcase a queer femme goddess. I want to feature you! 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.