Femme Friday – Out’s The Women & Nonbinary Femmes Issue

On the cover are Miss Major Griffin-Gracy (50-year veteran activist for trans women of color, to whom I was honored to bow down last year at Creating Change) and Tourmaline, a film maker and artist – a gorgeous, sexy photo. Also featured, among others, are Barbara Smith, Alica Garza, Charlene Carruthers, Kate Bornstein, Angela Dimayuga, Aja, Brandi Carlile, Kia Labeija, Jenna Wortham and Our Lady J, and the issue is edited by Janet Mock, and it’s a fascinating and important read.

Did you know the English language has more words than any other language? And of course, words fall in and out of favor, and culture, age, location and so much more influence the meanings of words. It took me so long to get to my femme identity – old school, butch-loving — that, although I get this evolution intellectually, it’s still tricky for me to maneuver through the rapidly changing definitions. In large part, I suppose, this has to do with the way, due to the nature of homophobia, there often seems to be room for only one identity to be in the spotlight, so it feels like the kind of femme I am has gone out of fashion and has been stashed under the bed with the dust bunnies and those boots that were really expensive and hot in 1997 but look ridiculous today.

I’m old enough and secure enough not to need to see myself constantly reflected back in the media, but this is an age where the internet is where people, especially youth, go looking for people like themselves. And things can get very loud and very didactic about identity, louder voices drowning out more quiet ones, opinions posing as facts, words changing meaning, meanings changing… There isn’t and never has been just one way to be queer. The more we put that nasty old idea out with the trash, the better. If only we can keep exploring, celebrating, loving all the infinite queerness, while continuing to love and celebrate each other, particularly across generations and cultures, the more we will be spreading queer medicine. We must cherish each other, ask questions, and not judge. And always remember: Femme Love Heal World!


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! New Femme Friday feature starting fall 2018: Books from which queer femmes can draw inspiration. What are your trusted sources of light and love? Please share!


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.”)



When I Was Your Age — A Meditation for Queer Femmes

The freckle-faced young white femme shows up at the meeting wearing dark purple lipstick, her curly red hair in pigtails, her feet in high-heeled silver boots. Today, members of the QSA are going before the school board to educate them about LGBTQ+ identities and issues. The young femme speaks knowledgably and with great passion about demi-boys, demi-girls and other identities, about the reasons you might want to put your pronoun in your signature line, and about the ins and outs of queer community online. She is thirteen.

When I was your age, I was wearing Beatles t-shirts and obsessing over John Lennon. My best girlfriend and I waited on the sidewalk outside of the Dakotas and finally saw John leaving. We were too cool to ask for an autograph, just fluttered about, telling him how much his music meant to us.

The young Latinx femme wears fire engine red lipstick and gauzy scarves. One of her paintings takes up the whole wall, part-graphic novel, part-geometric tromp-l’oeil. Her passion spills out in her laughter and her mad dashes as she greats friends and fans, guiding them around the gallery. She is twenty-two.

When I was your age, I was trying so hard to be straight. I thought something was broken inside me, that my romance was broken. I couldn’t write, or only if I tricked myself by listening to music as I sat in front of the typewriter, pretending it wasn’t a big deal, that it wasn’t anything, really. I chose to date mean, unavailable straight guys, perhaps in an unconscious move to self-sabotage myself. I didn’t have words for being queer and didn’t come out for another eight years.

Dear young femmes, when you are my age, may your long, queer lives have given you lots of sex and joy and adventure and satisfaction. May you be loved and loving, creating your art, weathering life surrounded by your darlings. May you have made a difference in the world.

When you are my age, may you be held in community and in family, resting secure in your femme wisdom.

Just as I am.

Every Monday (or Tuesday), 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 February 28, 2017 at 4:35 PM  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , ,

Meditation for Queer Femmes

Generations work differently for queers. It’s interesting to think that a femme who comes out in later years may well have more in common with a femme 20 or more years her junior, one who had the resources and support to come out as a teen, than she does with a straight woman her own age. In the same way, a femme in her 40s can become a queer elder, whereas a straight elder won’t achieve that honor until their 70s or later. We queer femmes live through so much, walk through so much fire. How many of us had to make ourselves up “… out of brilliance and ass”, as Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha says in her poem, “Femmes are film stars”? Most of us had no femme sisters, no best femme friends. Our sexualities are counter culture and we flaunt and represent even when our straight age mates are perming their dyed hair and retreating into I’m-no-longer-sexually-active “sensible” clothing. We femmes fought so hard to find our heart’s delight – years and years, for some of us, not until post menopause, for some of us – and so we dash headlong into our joy, flaming, blooming, shouting. We are not invisible.

In John Preston’s novel, The Arena, initiates into the old-school world of power and submission become more sublimely human as they go ever deeper into serious explorations of their sexuality and true nature. We femmes, too, come into our power the more we understand and act on our own individual femme directives, the closer we come to our soul purpose. We femme angels, born to bless the world! What gifts do you offer to your family and community, dear femme sisters, simply by your fierce dedication to plumbing the delicious depths of your queer soul?

Every Monday, I will 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.