Meditation for Queer Femmes: The Trouble With Straight People

They suck all the air out of the room. They’re our best friend and we are both committed to keeping it real. They want to come to our gay parties. They want to kill us. Fuck us. Be us. Help us. Fuck us up. They think they get it. They exhibit great interest in our queer femme lives and in moments of loneliness we reveal our secrets. They run hot and cold. We can’t trust them. They want what we have even though they already have everything. They’re our sister, who has known us all our lives. They assume we want what they have. They’re casually prurient with our most intimate secrets. They’re our brother, and he’ll come around, we’re sure of it, once he just matures a little more. They’re ok with us. They believe in us. They’re not bigots! When we’re out in public, they assume we’re straight. We sometimes let them or we use too much energy proving to them we’re not. Intersectionality gives them hives. They’re in our way. They’re our mom, and she’s so great. They exhibit tremendous ill breeding. They don’t have the imagination or the inclination to see us in all our queer femme richness and variety. They’re our dad, and that’s just the way he is. Our relationships with them are always so precarious. They don’t need us and can go years without us. We need them for so many complicated reasons. We hate having to need them. They break our hearts. They show up when we least expect it and we are inordinately grateful. We have to protect them from the pain of our queer femme lives. They’re everywhere.

Every Monday (or Tuesday, Wednesday, even), 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.





Published in: on May 3, 2017 at 12:11 PM  Leave a Comment  
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Meditation for Queer Femmes

A femme is dreaming. She wakes up, still groggy, and reaches for her dream journal. If she begins writing immediately, the dream unfolds, acquires weight and depth, sparking insight and wonder. If she waits even a few minutes, the dream rushes away, leaving only wisps of itself and sometimes not even those.

At work later that day, a straight, married colleague asks the femme about her “wife”. Today, the femme is juggling a hundred different tasks, as well as a looming deadline, so she just smiles and says, “Fine, thanks.” She has already told this colleague that she is the wife, but he’s too tickled about what he sees as bonding with her to remember, and she’s too busy to remind him. She moves on, the wind taken out of her sails.

It’s frustrating when straight people assume that she is a certain kind of queer, but it’s even more frustrating when other queers gloss over or even denigrate her life, her femme life. “I’m really not into that butch/femme stuff,” a lesbian acquaintance told her recently with a sneer and a shake of her head. “It’s just not for me.” Implying that how could it be for anyone, really, anyone at all? There was a silence, then the femme changed the subject. Sometimes it feels as though no one can really see her.

The femme yearns for opportunities to discuss all manner of queerness. She is now a bit shy of her lesbian friend, a little broken hearted, mourning the missed opportunity for the two of them to learn about each other’s queerness. She wishes they could open-heartedly offer each other the informed support and love “God’s good people”* withhold.

She thinks, “I am a slap-dash, DIY femme who likes to throw together 70s outfits and experiment with eyeliner. I love soft butches who shave their pits but leave their legs au naturel and who are secretly extremely toppy but also cry a lot, and that’s just the beginning. Is there a name for me? Would you recognize it if you heard it?”

Name it! Call it into consciousness. Femmes are part of the queer constellation, we dazzling, innumerable femme stars.

And femmes are dreams , we are writing ourselves into being. The more we explore our infinite femme variations, the more we shine.

What kind of shining femme star are you? What are your dreams?

*Radclyffe Hall, The Well of Loneliness

Every Monday, 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.