Femme Struggles

Being a femme lesbian has it’s perks… and it’s down falls.

  1. People often tell you that you “don’t look gay”
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Me when people say “but you don’t look gay”

AKA people don’t realize you’re gay, bi, pan, queer, etc! This makes it especially hard when you’re trying to connect with other LGBTQIA+ people. When you are femme, most people will assume you’re straight, and sometimes try to invalidate your identity because of the way you look. Plus, what does “looking gay” even mean?

2. Other queer women don’t realize you’re queer too

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If you’re more introverted like me then this is a problem. I’m probably not going to make the first move, but if the other girl doesn’t realize I’m gay then she won’t either. Since society generally accepts straight women being super friendly to one another, and sees things like frequent compliments as normal (as oppose to friendships between two men), it can be hard for queer women to realize when another girl is flirting with them versus just being nice.

3. Every time you “come out” people are shocked

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This may not be the case for every femme lesbian, but it certainly is for me. I always get the, “No way! Reeeaally???” response from everyone I tell. When you don’t fit the stereotype, it doesn’t even cross peoples minds that you would be anything other than straight.

4. You have to come out all the time

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Because people never assume you’re queer, you have to tell them for them to know. Yes, generally assuming other peoples sexualities isn’t good, but it would be nice if just one time someone actually figured out I was gay without me having to explicitly say the words “I’m Gay.”

 

These are all things I’ve noticed from my experience, but other queer women may have different experiences.  If you are a femme LGBTQIA+ woman, do any of these things happen to you? What’s the most annoying thing you deal with because you’re femme?

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No I Don’t Care That You Know Other Queer People

“By the way my coworker’s best friend’s sister is gay.”

“… oh, um that’s cool.”

This is a conversation that takes place constantly. If someone knows I’m gay, they always love to tell me when they meet other queer people; as if we’re unicorns. Don’t get me wrong, there are nothing but good intentions behind it, it’s just a little weird. Would you tell me if you met another woman, or some else who had blue eyes? Probably not.

This is different from the typical, “oh you’re gay, do you know my friend Sam, he’s gay too?” situation. People don’t think you know them, they just want to let you know they know other queer people. My older sister is the main culprit of this in my life. She lives in a major city, so of course she knows/is friends with/ runs into a lot of queer people, and she lets me know. Every. Single. Time. Maybe I’m a huge jerk for not caring, but honestly it’s just not that interesting to me. I consume a lot of queer media, so I constantly see other LGBTQIA+ people. Plus, I’m in college, so I see a decent amount of visibly queer people in my day to day life.

Being able to see visibly queer people is so so important, and I do get excited when I see other people people just living their normal lives. I feel a sense of familiarity and kinship with other people in the LGBTQIA+ community. Someone telling me about how their barista is gay though, isn’t really something I care to know. What is the correct response to “Oh! I was meaning to tell you my waiter the other day is gay.” ? Do you want me to jump up and down and beg you for more details? I usually go with, “that’s cool” or “oh wow” which both come out sounding incredibly unenthusiastic, no matter how much I try and pretend to care.

I never confront anyone about this, because I know they are just trying to be nice. It in no way makes me mad, or even annoyed, I just find it incredibly odd and kinda funny. Does this happen to you? If so, how do you respond? I feel like this definitely isn’t just something I deal with!

 

How did you know you were gay?

Even though I’ve been out for a few years now, I’ve never really had anyone ask me “How did you know you were gay?” until a few weeks ago. One of my lab partners (who’s also gay) asked me this kind of out of the blue while we were working on our lab report after class. Honestly, I didn’t have a great answer prepared.

I told her about an experience I had sophomore year of high school, where I randomly had a huge crush on this girl I didn’t really know in my Chemistry class. I wrote about that crush a long time ago, but I’ve since come to some other realizations. I think she could have been replaced with a thousand different people and it wouldn’t have made a difference. It’s not that I don’t have standards, or that I’m attracted to every girl I come in contact with – that’s far from the truth. It was just a period of time where I was questioning and figuring everything out, and she just so happened to be in the same class as me.

Now, my lab partner wasn’t exactly satisfied with this story. “But how do you know it wasn’t just her?” That question threw me for a loop a little bit. There’s no good answer, I just do. It’s a feeling that, I don’t feel the need to question anymore. For me, sexuality isn’t a complicated part of my life. I know how I feel, and who I like. It’s just that simple. It wasn’t that easy in the beginning, but over time the doubts left and I feel perfectly content with the conclusion. I don’t have some great story about being swept off my feet by the love of my life, and I don’t think having that kind of story is necessary. I wanted the experience to be casual and simple, and it was.

Her questions came from a place of curiosity, but they definitely made me think about a few things. Why are people so obsessed with knowing every thought that goes through queer people’s minds when questioning their sexuality or gender? Also, why do they feel the need to question it’s authenticity? One of my favorite qutoes from Denice Frohman’s poem “Dear Straight People” is:

” Dear Straight People, I’m tired of proving my love is authentic, so I’m calling the reparations on your ass. When did you realize you were straight? Who taught you?Did it happen because your parents are divorced? Did it happen because your parents are not divorced? Did it happen because you sniffed too much glue in fifth grade? Dear Straight People, why do I have to prove my love is authentic? Why do I have to prove my love is authentic? Why do I have to prove my love is authentic?”

I get a whole lot of “I would have never known” and “Really???” This has to do with the fact that I don’t look queer enough in straight people’s eyes. I wear makeup, have shoulder length hair, and generally act feminine enough to be shoved (forcefully) into the straight box. I can look in the mirror and think, “wow I look really gay today” (in a proud way) and still no one suspects a damn thing. The authenticity of my gayness is questioned because I don’t look the part or fit perfectly into the tiny box created for the stereotypical lesbian.

I don’t mind answering these questions, or most questions for that matter. However, I am tired of both people in my day to day life as well as society as a whole questioning who I am because I don’t fit the mold. So, how did I know I was gay? I trusted myself, and through lots of introspection discovered the answer to this aspect of my life. Maybe it’s not the best answer, or the answer people want to hear, but it’s the most honest one.

Texas Anti-LGBTQ+ Laws

Texas is trying to put a series of anti-LGBTQ+ laws in place that are detrimental to the queer community.

The first one is a “bathroom bill” similar to one passed in  North Carolina. We fought North Carolina, and unfortunately have yet to win that battle. These so called “bathroom bills” are absolutely ridiculous and aren’t protecting anyone. They’re transphobic and only cause more problems. How do you tell someone who presents femininely and identifies as a woman to use the men’s restroom because she was assigned male at birth? That only puts her in danger, and criminalizes her gender. It doesn’t matter if the trans person “passes” or not, they have the right to use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender.

Other legislation is being reviewed that lets teachers out students to their parents. This is so harmful! Suicide rates of LGBTQ+ are much higher than those of non-lgbt youth, and students who have unsupportive families only have an even high chance of self-harm and suicide. Many students don’t come out at home because they know it isn’t safe, but they are out as school and see it as a safe haven. Parents don’t get to know every piece of information about their children just because they are the parents. Some people are terrible parents and we should be protecting our  LGBTQ youth.

If you thought those were bad, just wait there’s more! They’re looking into making it legal to refuse service to someone based off their sexual orientation or gender identity and making it legal to refuse marriage licenses based off “religious beliefs.” That is complete and utter bullshit. You can’t break federal law because of religious beliefs. They already did this with Kim Davis and she ended up getting arrested, but with our mess of a government who knows what will happen.  I don’t believe being homophobic is a religious belief, but thats another topic for another time.

I’m hoping and praying that these things don’t pass, but I wouldn’t be surprised if at least a few of them did. Lots of celebrities are standing up against these laws, and I suspect if they pass they will pull their concerts and shows like they did in NC. South by South West is coming up and if people pull out, Texas could potentially lose millions of dollars.  Not only are these laws discriminatory and unconstitutional, but they are also bad for our economy.

Here’s a simple way you can help whether you’re a texan or not!

Go Here and Read the article

Scroll down to the bottom of my page and click on this to send an email to the Texas legislators to oppose these horrible, homophobic and transphobic laws!

Lots of Love,

Alyssa

 

What Issues are LGBTQ+ Issues?

If you would have asked me this question a year ago I would have answered,

“Trans rights, LGBTQ+ friendly healthcare, marriage equality, anti-discrimintion laws, ect.”

All those things still stand true, but the Queer community also hits so many intersections that make many more issues “LGBTQ Issues.” All queer people aren’t white, middle class, abled, male, and cis… obviously right? This means the issues that affect ethnic minorities, women, the disabled and chronically ill, religions, those in poverty and the homeless, immigration, and many more are also LGBT issues.

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The LGBT community is made up of people from different backgrounds and we should support the issues that affect everyone in our community. If someone is queer and an issue affects them and other queer people, then it’s a queer issue. You can’t say you’re an ally or fight for queer rights if you don’t fight for all queer peoples rights.

When I strongly support a cause that “doesn’t seem to affect me” in other peoples eyes I remember this is something not a lot of people get. On top of my love for my fellow human beings and wanting nothing but peace and happiness for the world, I can recognize that almost all issues affect the LGBT community. I will not sit by idly while my community is harmed, directly or indirectly.

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With all the ugliness that is going on today, it’s hard to stay up to date on everything and know how to respond. I find myself feeling overwhelmed and not knowing how I can help. All I know is doing nothing is not an option. I will continue to do everything in my power that my health allows me to do to fight for my community and others who’s voice isn’t as loud as mine.

Lots of Love,

Alyssa

 

 

Fried Gay Tomatoes?

Over the Holidays I watched Fried Green Tomatoes with my sister. I had heard of the movie before, but I had never seen it, and I’ve got to say it is so queer!

Idgie the main character obviously is a lesbian and has a thing for her friend Ruth. It may be cannon, but i’ts there. The whole time we were watching the movie, I kept saying “this movie is so gay!” My sister who had seen the movie before didn’t realize it, but once I pointed it out, she couldn’t stop seeing it either. The sexual tension between the two of them is crazy.

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Maybe I’m just looking too far into it, but I don’t think that’s the case. I’ve never heard anyone talk about this movie having gay characters and that’s crazy to me. The movie was made in 1991, but is set in the 1920’s. From the way they dress Idgie, to her mannerisms and they way she talks, they made her a pretty stereotypical lesbian. She wears button down shirts, slacks and suspenders, while all the other female characters dress overtly feminine.

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Idgie also was friends with black people during a time where it wasn’t considered socially acceptable for white people and black people to be friends. There is a strong prevalence of the KKK in this movie, and Idgie is always fighting them. While this isn’t a direct sign that she’s gay, minorities do tend to stick together, because we can understand some of each others struggles. Maybe I am looking too far into this?

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I think the ultimate deciding fact is the way Idgie looks at Ruth. When Ruth marries Frank Bennett, Idgie is devastated. Also when she figures out Frank is abusing Ruth, she doesn’t hesitate to get Ruth out of there, and take care of her. Idgie takes care of Ruth up until the day she dies, and continues to love her when she’s in her old age and Ruth is gone. This movie really delves into the true meaning of love, and what that looks like.

Their romantic relationship may be played down a bit, but the love they had for each other is undeniable. I did some research to see if I was the only one who thought this, and I’m definitely not alone. So what do you think? Are Idgie and Ruth a couple? Let me know!

-Alyssa

No, I’m Not Pregnant

The irony of being queer and chronically ill is that I’ve been asked by doctors if I could possibly be pregnant… a lot.

Now this is part of their job, and I know they have to do it, but the medical field often seems very unaware of any sexuality other than straight. I don’t believe you should make any assumptions about other people – especially when it comes to gender and sexuality. I’ve been asked straight up, “how do you know you’re not pregnant?” Almost like they’re testing me.

Most of the time doctors or nurses ask if you could possibly be pregnant, because they are going to administer a test or medication that could be harmful to a fetus. It makes sense why they ask and make you take a pregnancy test, but it gets a little redundant. I did infusions every day for a week at an infusion center, and every morning I had to pee in a cup for a pregnancy test. If you saw me yesterday afternoon and saw how sick I was, how in the world could you possibly believe I got pregnant in the short time I was gone?

If I can barely walk down the stairs some days, how in the world do you think I’m having sex? Also I rarely leave my house, so where am I supposed to find someone who wants to have sex with me? At this point it’s pretty comical, but still annoying. I don’t mind peeing in the cup, but paying at times $150 for a pregnancy test that it is literally impossible for to be positive is ridiculous.

One visit to the ER, I had already been there for hours and received medication, and now it was time for me to be discharged. They wouldn’t let me leave until I had a pregnancy test, although if I was pregnant any damage done to the fetus was irreversible at this point. This situation was particularly frustrating because I went to the ER for excruciating period cramps. They were taking a long time to do the test, and when the doctor came in I said,” I think it’s pretty obvious I’m not pregnant. I’m on my period.” And yes I know there are abnormalities where sometimes you are pregnant, but will still get one last period, or something could be wrong and you could be bleeding, but that obviously wasn’t the case. Apparently this made the doctor mad (even though I said it in a joking manner and wasn’t trying to be rude, but whatever) and she said, “you could be having a miscarriage,” and gave me the evil eye. I had an ultra sound of my ovaries and uterus while I was there, so I think it would have been clear if I was pregnant.

For someone who’s never been pregnant I’ve taken a lot of pregnancy tests. But hey, just mark it down as a funny story, I guess.

Lots of Love,

(and an empty womb)

Alyssa