Meditations for Queer Femmes – Femme Agenda

I just finished reading Deflowered: My Life in Pansy Division – the Inside Story of the First Openly Gay Pop-Punk Band by sister-Midwesterner Jon Ginoli. I had a little trepidation that his story would be a painful onslaught of drugs and self-abuse, hopefully with a happy ending like in Godspeed, written by his contemporary, Lynn Breedlove of Tribe 8, the first out dyke punk band. (Big femme love to you, Unka Lynnee! I’ve read Godspeed twice!) Instead, Jon sticks doggedly to the point of his book: there was no gay male pop-punk band, so he started one. A and then B.

“That I’m here at all writing this still astounds me,” he says in the last chapter of the book “I actually got to live out my rock and roll dreams. Perhaps some people’s dreams would have been grander, for greater stardom or riches, but part of me is still that kid from Peoria – a place of more modest hopes and ambitions. For a long time I felt that I had something to contribute to the culture at large, like a lot of people do. I feel lucky that I was able to actually make that mark, because many who try don’t succeed. From a young age I had a vague sense of wanting to achieve something, so there’s a sense of relief too, that I haven’t wasted my time and effort.”

In order to further my queer femme agenda, I need utterly queer stories like Jon’s.

His story inspires me because I, too, want to know that following my queer femme heart makes an impact. My efforts don’t include jolly perks like being asked to sign fans’ dicks or singing songs about being the buttfuckers of rock and roll who want to sock it to your hole, but I have gotten to hang out with members of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, read my queer chapter book to local fourth graders, sit and have heart-to-hearts with queer, questioning and ally youth, bond with other femmes and so much more. These things feed my queer femme soul.

Some might say that Jon doesn’t tell the whole story in his memoir; for example, he doesn’t go into much detail about his experience with ACT UP or talk all that much about substance abuse or ditch too much dirt on other musicians, but that’s what I love. This is a story about making queer art happen come hell or high water. I appreciate the clear focus on that aspect of Pansy Division: he is satisfied with his work.

I know I’m not the only queer to struggle with not being able to see my strengths fully. Buffeted by heterosexual forces and misogyny and all the rest of it, it can be so hard to be able to clearly understand the impact of your efforts.

Last night, my kids told me they didn’t believe in New Year’s resolutions or taking time to regroup and recharge – you should always be doing that, they told me. Still and all, January is a nice time to put some good queer femme intention into the world, to interrupt the het narrative, to take a breath and not be in such a hurry for the Next. And in this time of frenzied divisiveness, to find encouragement and be heartened by the lives of other queers whose generosity and dedication have brought more bent energy into the world.

Part of my femme agenda in 2018 is to pay closer attention to what I like to do and what I’m good at and how I can use those to queer things up. To continue to champion queer femme and make room for our stories, but to also find love and gather courage from other queers. To take my own work as seriously as I take the work of other queers; to be as generous as I can in my own unique bit of the universe.

Dearest, queerest femme sisters: who and what inspires you in your Femme Agenda? What do you do in order to queerly rest and queerly sock it to us? Whatever it is, I wish you fortitude and every blessing as this new year begins. Your stories inspire me.

Every Monday (or Tuesday), 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.


“Fem in a Black Leather Jacket” by Pansy Division

Femme Friday – Me and You, the Femmes We Are

I began the journey to the femme I am when I read The Persistent Desire, when I read Stone Butch Blues. I knew I was a butch-loving femme right then, as those stories went straight into my soul.

When did you know? How did femme knowledge come to you? Was it when you read the Femme Shark Manifesto? How do you define “femme”? How do you spell it? How did you become the femme you are?

Does femme help you orient your life? Like a north star, a beating pulse, a bubbling spring? Does it show you what direction to go in?

What does femme mean to you?

The femme I am has everything I read and observe swirling around in my head as I try to make sense of what it means to be alive right now, to be queer, to be turning 56, to be the parent of adult children, the femme wife of my butch husband, the middle-aged daughter of old parents, observing my children mature, my husband sometimes creep, sometimes leap into her wisdom, and my parents inhabit the outer reaches of old age with grace, anger, humor and bluff.

The femme I am is a mentor to queer youth, an elder, even, a femme of a certain age.

Who is watching your femme, drawing sustenance from you? Who needs you? Who do you need?

The femme I am is often lonely for community. The femme I am is both safe and unsafe. The femme I am wonders what rights look like when they’re not just stuff the status quo has, but are actually about true equity for all living beings. The femme I am seeks comfort in sometimes healthy, sometimes unhealthy ways.

Where do you find comfort? What are your femme theories, your femme art, your femme work? What is femme to you – a side dish, the main dish, the dessert? Who can you talk to about femme? Who is interested? Who thinks it’s sexy and endlessly, deliciously, entertaining? What have you learned about femme that is so precious, so profound?

As I grow older, femme, my femme, expands and deepens and becomes more complex, holding worlds and worlds. The femme I am contains multitudes.

Does the femme you are sustain you? What are your latest theories about femme? Your discoveries and intuitions? What makes you laugh and shout with joy?

The longer we are femme, the more we discover. Femme will never get used up; we just keep finding out more about it.

And so here we go, sweet femme sisters! Into 2018, full of femme love and power.

You and me.

Me and you.

Every Friday, I showcase a queer femme goddess. I want to feature you! Write to me at and let me shine a spotlight on your beautiful, unique, femme story!