A blogger I follow asked her followers to write some guest blogs recently. I was very excited about it, because I love her, and as anyone who has ever met me, or read anything I’ve written knows, I like to talk. I wrote about how difficult it is to be “femme” in the gay community. I spoke to some of my friends to get their perspective as well, I sent a copy to my DGF (dear girlfriend) to get some proof reading, I was very excited by the whole process, but alas it was not to be. She was very kind about it, but she wanted tweaks to it I was not happy about making so I politely declined. However I still think it was good so I want to put it out there. Here you go:
When I first got up the courage to come out as a gay woman, it was a proud and scary time in my life. I lost some friends, but I was confident that being part of the LGBTQ community would afford me the opportunity to meet new people. I was certain that we would have many things to bond over, and my new friends would understand my story, but as is so often the case things are never like you imagine them.
I am what is known as “femme”, and as I discovered the lesbian community is very segregated. In all the community events I was a part of and of all the groups I joined, I felt like I HAD to hang out with other femmes. Many of the butch women, or even the women who were neither femme nor butch looked down on, and judged me.
In bars and clubs I was constantly asked if I was bi, or just curious. I was met with a lot of accusations of not really being gay because of the way I dress, because I wear make-up, and do my hair. It was bad enough I was being judged by my family and my straight friends, but now I was being judged by the very people I was sure would have understood and accepted me.
Meeting women was especially difficult for me. I was either just assumed straight, accused of being bi, or I was not “gay looking” enough (yes that is actually what someone said to me). I did find it easier to meet women online, (though I would advise anyone who does this to be very careful, and to take precautions) which turned out to be the best thing I ever did.
I had spent years pretending to be something I wasn’t before I came out, and I decided that I wasn’t going to go back to that. I was going to be who I was and I refused to care what other people thought about me. Since I could not fit in anywhere, I made a group that fit me, and now I have a great diverse group of friends who are gay, straight, butch, femme, trans, and asexual.
Of course everyone’s experiences are different. I asked some of the femmes I know about their experiences, and they varied. Some had nothing negative to say about their encounters, and others were much worse than mine. One friend actually chooses not to be part of the gay community at all beyond her partner, and therefore has had no experience good or bad.
My favorite thing said on the subject in all my questioning was:
“To accommodate anyone’s need to not be rejected. If I cut my hair shorter, wore “lesbian” clothing, and my whole identity was just being a lesbian, then it would be a false depiction of my SELF.”
It is my favorite because I think it affirms that before any of us belong to this group, or that group, we have to be ourselves first. So let people judge me if they like, whether it’s out of fear of rejection or stupidity it’s going to happen, and there is nothing I can do about it. I am happy with myself, and I hope my friends who have experinced the same thing are happy with themselves too.