Meditation for Queer Femmes – Who Gets the Love?

Over the weekend, my butch husband and I attended Swingtime, a queer dance that has been going strong for over 25 years. The political atmosphere of the nation, our recent firming up of a decision to try and retire in Ptown and subsequent intense desire for this to happen immediately, the fact that our younger son graduated from high school Saturday and is flying full tilt out of the nest, and the pain and feelings of helplessness around our elder son’s health issues all made for a pretty emotional weekend. We were ready to relax and dance with our people, let me tell you.

There is a lesson in swing dancing to start the evening. I found myself dancing several times with a very sweet young person, a BBW, a young woman of color visiting from the Midwest. I went into Gay Mom mode, encouraging her and teasing her gently, as Gay Moms are wont to do. She was such a sweetheart and I enjoyed getting to know her a little bit. Suddenly, I must have gotten a little too gay, because she started mentioning her boyfriend, how he thinks it’s odd that she likes hanging out with gay people so much, but that she feels so much love and acceptance from gay people, and she loves them in return. I think I managed to control my face, and I know that I subsequently met her mom and her aunts (who are a lesbian couple), and I believe I did not betray my surprise. I hope I was able to keep my disappointment that she wasn’t queer to myself, but it definitely got me thinking and fretting, and I’ve been picking away at this ball of confusion for the past couple of days.

A queer friend remarked, upon hearing this story, “I go to a queer event to relax, and I don’t want to be tricked into giving away my queer love to straight people just because they’re comfortable in our space.”

Part of me agrees whole-heartedly, because that’s definitely some of what I’m feeling. But I am also thinking about how I have been learning about and fighting against racism since I was in elementary school, and I have been a feminist for almost as long. How could I possibly begrudge this lovely, dear child of color and of size the experience of feeling embraced and loved and safe? I know that it is systemic oppression and the status quo that revel in members of oppressed groups pitting themselves against each other, that all the work I do with queer youth is about helping to open space where all youth will be able to fully be themselves, and I know also, that, as my gal Pema Chodron says, “if you decide to open the door to everyone, you give up being able to chose who walks through”, and yet, and yet. I did feel a little tricked, even though I often wear a button that says, “Assume nothing.”

Anger is so easy to go to, especially now. My nerves are frayed, I’m exhausted, and I feel old and sometimes pretty hopeless and helpless. I wanted to dance. I did dance, the whole night, and a few of those dances were with this young woman, who was kind and sweet and open-hearted. It’s complicated. It’s deep. There are no easy answers, except, perhaps, a space opened and maintained with integrity and love will attract those who are themselves loving and in need of love.

 Every Monday (or Tuesday or even Wednesday), I offer a Meditation for Queer Femmes, in the spirit of my maternal grandmother, Mimi, who was a fabulous straight femme, and from whom I inherited her Meditations for Women.

 

 

Rollin’ in the Femmemobile

One of the things that being femme did was relieve me of having to perform certain duties that I actually don’t like to perform. You know, how real women are supposed to be able to do everything for themselves, from opening the door to operating a skid steer?  I am not one of those femmes who can brag about wielding chain saws and changing the oil whilst rocking fish nets and 6 inch spiked heels. I don’t like to change the oil; I would hate to have to remember how to change a tire; I have no interest in using a chain saw or chopping wood or any of those other things. And I really don’t like putting gas in the car.

Usually my butch does these things for me, and that actually makes me feel more femme, more queer, and I don’t have to feel less of a woman, less of a feminist because I don’t like to do these typically “manly” things.

Today, however, the tank was on empty. And I was a bit far from home. I was in a town that had self serve gas stations, unlike my own darling town where that is outlawed. You can’t find a self serve gas station in my town! It’s fabulous. So, even though my butch has assured me that when the tank warning light goes on I can still drive for 20 miles, I’m actually not very good at gauging miles, so I didn’t know if I would be able to get home.

Bravely, I said to myself, “Suck it up and go into the self serve gas station, ‘cause it’s not like your dad didn’t teach you how to do this when you were 14 and learning to drive in the VW bus.” So I did.

I drove up. I got out. I put in the credit card and I had to fiddle around with it for a long time, but finally it let me start pumping. And I did. I filled up the tank and I got back in the car, and I said to myself, “Good job, little lady!”

That’s when I noticed there was gas all over my leopard skin patterned gloves.

Femme Friday will return soon! Watch this space, and don’t touch that dial.

Published in: on February 17, 2017 at 5:36 PM  Leave a Comment  
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