Being Femme

Some are born femme.  Some achieve femme.  Some have femme thrust upon them.

Of course, it’s not always that simple.

The label of femme was thrust upon me while I was in graduate school. My girlfriend and I went to some LGBT pride event and a woman who was only slightly older than me nodded knowingly. “You’re a femme.”

I’d heard the term, but didn’t know what it meant. At least not beyond knowing I liked girly things but not girly girlfriends. I started reading, joined a couple of online forums. It took a while, but I grew into it, owning femme as my own identity and not just who I was in juxtaposition to someone else. Now, it feels as natural to me as my own skin and I can’t imagine being anything else.

I wonder, though. I think back to the days before that time. When I was a little bit boy crazy, but mostly a good girl. A good girl by Catholic school standards, no less.

I like to think there is some is some femme essence that has been with me always, long before I even knew what femme meant. That the inexplicable fascination I had with the sporty volleyball player who I tutored in algebra was really my first authentic girl crush. That my secret obsession with the k.d. lang/Cindy Crawford cover of Vanity Fair came from a place of deep knowing. Yeah, you know the one. (Was I really fifteen when it came out?)


I like to think that both my body and my subconscious knew before I did, and waited patiently for the rest of me to catch up.

It’s sort of the same as being a writer. I dabbled with writing in high school. I desperately wanted to be a writer in college. I forgot along the way, but I remembered. Now, I can’t imagine being anything else.  I like to think that it, too, was there the whole time.


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