I wonder who I will be able to talk to at Southern Comfort. there in the mass of those crossdressers out for a weekend and feminist FTMs rejecting manhood, and then I remember. FemmeDar.
“I can’t tell butches, but I can tell femmes a mile away,” said Nora, the ESPA organizer. “I could tell you were a femme just by the way you were sitting,” she told me.
The way I was sitting? What had I done? What choices did I make? Oh, yeah — the choice to be myself.
I, too, can tell femmes, and when I think about what I might talk about at SCC, I think of talking about femme as a gender. (I did workshops for a few years, and a keynote, and for years after I wrote an SCC speech that I knew I would never deliver, just to see what I wanted to say this year.)
After all, when gender isn’t defined by genitals, but rather by approach, well, butch/femme has been a useful designation in the gay & lesbian community for decades, maybe centuries, even in the days when it was seen as oppressive echoing of heterosexist convention.
Quentin Crisp’s advice on style, on being in the world, is to discover who you really are and be yourself like mad. Well, I know that I am a transshaman and a femme, and I know it because of how I see those factors in others, shining like a beacon of connection. My sisters.
And I suspect that all I have to do is walk through the lobby, and the femmes will be bright to me.
That is, if I can be bright to myself.