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That’s not to say that we shouldn’t struggle with it or consider it the capital ’T’ truth. I struggle with it myself and hold my own contradictions with it, as a femme who primarily and historically has dated other femmes. To be honest, I think so much of my initial rejection of butch/femme came from deep sources of internalized femmephobia and misogyny and rejecting dyke culture outright, throwing the gorgeousness out with the TERF bathwater.In addition to the femmephobic, misogynistic world we live in, I was in a band and was a part of punk / DIY communities during my high school years that had a culture of understanding femme or femininity on the part of women as a manifestation of patriarchy or misogyny (or just uncool).“I stand on the sandy road that runs between the two encampments, at the boundary of womanhood.I don’t want woman to be a fortress that has to be defended.
It wasn’t just a limitation of the gender universe of womanhood, it was also silencing the ways those experiences of women and gender non-conforming/genderqueer experiences of gender informed a queer, working class, trans, butch/femme, sex worker feminist politic that was expansive, transformative and revolutionary.It was the femmeships in my life who inspired me, made me feel seen and affirmed, and the relationships with partners, one of whom half-joked that as queer women we were becoming more lesbian through dating each other.It was the queers, femmes, butches, genderqueers, dykes, that made and make up my organizing community, my friendships, my ex-partners, and the people I build family with that make me inspired, feel seen and affirmed, alive in my dignity and wholeness.Despite that the stories of trans women who love other women and situate themselves within lesbian legacies like butch/femme still feel few and far between —as well as all the ways transmisogyny exists within queer and lesbian communities — butch/femme feels like my legacy that I get to claim too.All of it created the way that my femme identity functions as a dare, a longing, and a political decision about how to move in the world.
As Joan Nestle, femme author and co-founder of the Lesbian Herstory Archives wrote in her seminal 1987 book, “Some Lesbians are more acceptable than others.