Meditations for Queer Femmes — Queer Femme Inspiration

For queer femmes, the stories of other queer femmes can be nothing short of life saving. Every femme who shares her take on the world releases enduring nourishment to her sisters far and wide. Every time we name ourselves, proudly claiming femme, we save each other the fatigue of constantly having to read between the lines, desperately searching for queers like ourselves. There is a comfort unlike any other in seeing queer femmes engaged in every arena from art to science; from knowing that we are everywhere. And because “bodies respond to other bodies” and “[t]he heart responds to direct human contact,”* that comfort grows exponentially when we queer femmes gather together in person and are able to relax, connect with our own complex femme identities, and be nurtured and challenged by other femmes. Femmes who are like us in one core fashion, but who are, of course, their own fascinating, unique selves. I don’t think it can be said enough that we are able to explore our own identities more deeply, connect with ourselves more fully, when we have time to rest, laugh, renew and explore with others like us.

And when we have rested, laughed, renewed and explored, we are able to bring a more healthy and discerning awareness to the rest of the world. A generosity. After a Femme Klatsch, I can just breath more easily, and situations that might have infuriated me and taken up way too much of my time end up being more easily resolved because my spirit has been fed and eased, and I feel good in my queer femme body.

In addition, when our queer femme spirits have been fed by queer femme company, we are so much more able to be inspired by those who are not queer femmes. Queer femme company is imperative, but connecting to other queers and to straight people, finding inspiration there, is not only delightful, but necessary for the work of resistance.

For example, I adore the Marketplace series by Laura Antoniou. I’ve read it many more times than once, but the first time through was the most profound. I was just coming out in my thirties and was so excited to be here and queer! My attraction to the world of the Marketplace is based less on a desire to live a life of full-on BDSM and more on the fact of the possibilities in this queer leather story. If these characters can move in so many directions, find so many ways to connect, love and thrive doing things that are in direct contradiction with what the status quo says is ok – that’s inspiring! I treasure that inspiration, from the leather community, from trans folks, from radical fairies, from drag, from poly folks, from the Queer Asian Pacific-Islander Alliance, from Black Lives Matter, from United American Indians of New England, from the Center for Coastal Studies, from RedNation, from Bold Nebraska, from Brown Girls Surf…the list is deliciously endless.

I want all of us to support each other and learn from each other. I want us all to have the opportunity to gather in affinity groups, those places conducive to a certain, basic kind of healing and spiritual growth, so that when we get back together, we can sock it to the oppressors.

We all need our own close-knit communities based on affinity and love; we all need our siblings in the revolution who may not look a thing like us but with whom we share the goals of resistance and radical change and with whom we are inextricably linked.

I am inspired by my queer femme sisters.

I am inspired by lovers and warriors of every stripe.

May we meet in power!

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.

*The Power of Off: The Mindful Way to Stay Sane in a Virtual World by Nancy Collier, p. 109 in the chapter, “All Alone in Virtual Community”

Femme Friday – Susanna, “Hell yeah queer femme!”

Susanna and I met at the Dyke March some time back, and had a great time talking femme and beyond. We have continued to run into each other over the years at all the best queer places, and I am loving getting to know her and making femme community together!

Deep gratitude to Susanna for her life-long feminism, her willingness to embrace the freedom of femme, and her generosity in sharing her queer femme wisdom with us here.

I claimed “femme” for myself a little more than 10 years ago, in my early thirties. I had come out as a dyke ten years before that, and had been a feminist since about the third grade when I was so fired up about the ERA that I started a girls’ rights club and went around wearing  button that said “64 cents” or whatever pittance women were earning for every white man’s dollar at that point (today it’s  79 for all women combined, 60 cents for Black women and 55 cents for Latinas ::growl:: ).

At 30 or so, I was thrilled to be queer but felt the “femme” label was somehow a diminutive of or a backing off from “woman,” a word whose under-use I still think betrays widespread misogyny. “Femme,” at that point, felt limited or constraining, a containment of the possibilities I had learned “woman” held.

It’s funny because now “femme” feels the opposite. Now, “femme” signifies to me simultaneous queerness and femininity, the power of “woman” I learned from feminism, combined with the edge of queer, the refusal to accept unquestioningly the received constraints of sex and gender.

After a lifetime as an anxious person who historically has been oriented toward learning the unwritten (and sometimes nonexistent) rules and following them, the lesson I’m learning from femme is that I can break or bend the rules to create greater possibility and freedoms in my life. This lesson started in the realm of fashion, when I would ponder the appropriateness of going somewhere looking like something—and decide I could do whatever the fuck I wanted. Wear makeup? Yeah! I’m a queer femme! Go without makeup? Yeah! I’m a queer femme! Tight jeans to work? Ditto.  Combine leopard leggings and a plaid flannel? Hell yeah queer femme!

This lesson is proving to have multiple applications in the non-fashion realms of my life. Career wise, for at least a decade I’ve had jobs that required me to know with authority. This is both a pleasure and a torment for the anxiety prone perfectionist—but my “hell yeah queer femme” approach has helped me lighten up, and realize that I can not-know without putting myself at risk. More than that, I’ve learned the place of not knowing sometimes results in the best thinking/collaboration/movement. The workplace equivalent of matching plaid and leopard print, if you will.

In the realm of sex, love and romance, the lessons of femme have l been multiplied by the lessons of poly and kink: Ask for what you want; if you don’t get it deal with it like a grown up; learn to recognize both limits and abundance. For me, here too there had been a proliferation of possibilities as I’ve embraced femme— lovers and playmates from across the gender spectrum, into all sorts of things I may have longed secretly for but never dreamed I’d get to try. Today, I get to love and play and flirt like never before. And when things are especially sexy, deep, soul-moving, or even  awkward and mismatched, I get to grin and say to myself, “Hell yeah queer femme .”

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