I recently replayed one of my favourite storytellers Ivan Coyote expressing their love and gratitude for the beautiful, kickass, fierce and full-bodied femmes of the world. Do yourself a favour and watch it! Every time I do, this piece connects so beautifully with the very part of me that feels invisible to my community.
You see, being queer and Femme isn’t always easy. Being queer, Femme and rocking a fuller figure is sometimes harder. Even from way before I tapped into my femininity as unashamed and obviously as I now do, it’s always been really clear to me that queer women who present as Femme are, for the most part, unseen. This also applies to the invalidation of femme Gay and queer cis men, trans men, and genderqueer humans who although more regularly visible, feel this struggle too. I see you.
Speaking for myself only, I feel most beautiful when I’ve put on my eyebrows, contoured for the gods, taken time to do my hair and found something pink to wear. It’s not because I think there is only one way to be beautiful as a woman but because it makes me feel cute as fuck and feeling yourself isn’t a crime.
Which brings me to days like today; Pride March. Where the concentration of queer people in one place skyrocket to an all time high and you can’t help but notice everyone around you in their sparkly/leather/denim realness. It’s also more commonly known to me as the day I am asked over and over and over again if I am ‘straight’ or completely ignored all together as the sassy best friend of my favourite gay.
It’s not just Pride though, it’s having to make a point to come out to work colleagues, it’s the anxiety surrounding partner pronouns at BBQ’s, explaining over and over and over at the Doctors office that there is no possible way I could be pregnant and it’s every time I’m questioned on dating apps about if I’ve actually ever been with a woman.
I feel so queer inside my own heart it hurts. I am a woman who eats, sleeps and breathes queer culture and identity. I do my best to support, encourage and love every member of our community with the same validation and respect that we all deserve. That I deserve. So why do I still feel so invisible?
Why does my choice to wear obscene amounts of pink, glitter and makeup somehow make my sexuality and how I express it up for debate?
Having a strong sense of self and feeling comfortable in my own skin hasn’t always been something that came naturally to me. I’ve worked hard to break down my own stereotypes and to find a style that portrays just how sparkly and fun my heart feels. So hard, that when I’m questioned about my authenticity I feel heartbroken.
It hurts that to be ‘seen’ I have to wear t-shirts adorned with rainbows or hold the hand of a butch human. It hurts that even after identifying as queer for over 10 years I still surprise members of my own community when discussing sex, identity and sexuality. It hurts when I don’t feel connected to my queerness as a result of basking in all of my feminine glory.
I love masculine humans. Ever since I can remember I have been pulled towards people who are very obvious in their queerness. Those who are often misgendered, misunderstood and discriminated against for being overtly butch. Those who hardly ever have to explain or validate themselves to be seen in our community.
Even though I’ve made a point of expressing my sexuality and identity in a more masculine way up until the last few years – because I thought I had to – it never quite felt natural to me. It was however a very important time in the discovery of myself and I wrote about it in my first blog post here.
So, to the handsome, protective, strong bodied masc humans of the world like Ivan, I thank you. I thank you for noticing us, appreciating the effort we put in to feel beautiful – whatever/however that may be and loving us; for being proud, femme, full-bodied women. We see you, we love you and we appreciate how hard it can be for you to be yourselves because it’s hard for us too.