Portia de Rossi is doing what she considers to be a breakthrough role on Nip/Tuck this season.  She’s playing a lesbian.

Now, of course, she is a lesbian.  Partnered with Ellen DeGeneres and all. But she thinks she is finally ready to stop passing as het on-screen, now, years in.

I saw Ms. de Rossi on Ally McBeal years ago and something twigged instantly. I could tell she wasn’t just a straight girl.   Nora Yates of ESPA says that her gaydar isn’t as good as she would like.  She doesn’t always pick out available lesbians, but femmes like her?  They pop instantaneously.  She knew I was a femme by the way I sat in my skirt and boots.

This has always been one of my challenges.  I don’t just identify as a straight woman who is moved by hot men, I realized that I am a femme lesbian and always have been.

If femmes feel they have to be able to pass as straight girls, then what do I have to do?  Pass as female, then be femme, then pass as straight?  Oy!  What a twist!

Femme women, well, they aren’t at all men, but they are ballsy.   I knew one green-haired femme who kept a special denim maxi-skirt to wear while working under the car.  The better to wipe greasy wrenches, do you see?

Problem is that a transsexual woman who is ballsy, well, that can easily be read as something manly.  Not correct, of course — I am much more powerful as a femme woman than I ever was as a neutered man — but still a challenge.

I envy transwomen who love men.  It makes things easier for them.  I remember being in The MotherLode and a gal trying to help, explaining that if a man bought me a drink all they got was the “Courtesy Ten,” ten minutes of attention and chat.  When I said I was interested, she asked me if I liked girls, and I said yes.

“Oooh, I’m so sorry,” she said to me with noticeable pity.

She was right.  I may understand men, may like them, and men may know I get their challenges, but men don’t really light my flame.  They don’t make me melt.

And that changes how I stand in the world as a woman.

Double Queer, as I have said before.

Well, anyway, I wish Ms. Di Rossi the best on shedding her ingenue image, the one where people projected their own desires onto her, and actually being visible in her more powerful, more complex and more complicated womanhood.

Hell, I wish myself the best in the same thing, more powerful, more complex and more complicated womanhood.

2 thoughts on “Dyke”

  1. “Double Queer,” what an awful thought! But I guess that describes me too. Hot guys never “make me melt,” although it does for several of my trans friends. I guess that does give them more to choose from out there.

    I had been wondering for a while now, if I was to attempt to attract a lesbian, which I am ready to try to do, do I present as the femme or the butch? or does it matter? I don’t have either an answer or a prospect yet. I am every bit at a loss, much the same way I was as a guy. So you know I did not go out much. I had to be asked out when I presented as a guy, so I guess that makes me the femme. Now what do I do?



  2. Vickie

    I spent a lot of time in lesbian space before I understood who I was.

    Please don’t think butch & femme are required in lesbian relationships; they are not.

    Lots of just plain lesbians out there, some who fit in the middle, some who switch, some who just reject labels. And there are lots of lesbians who do identify as butch r femme but are looking for a partner more like them than different, a practice some call “kiki”

    I may know who I am in this context, but it’s not by choice. I know who I am because I identify with other women who identify as femme, and know who pulls at my heart.

    I encourage you to go and start to hang out with lesbians and to listen hard to the shared understandings and the share language of women. Soon, you will be able to understand what lesbians are saying about who they are and who they desire by the choices you see them making, and you will understand the spectrum of desire. You can start this virtually, reading dyke books, watching “The L Word” on DVD and being on e-mail lists, but to really know you have to be able to really know real lesbians, to understand their stories, to understand your story in their language, and see where things connect or diverge. Get the cultural grounding and move from there.

    And if things work well, you find a woman or two with whom you feel deep connection, a woman who you want to get more intimate and who wants to explore you more. After that, just take it slow and let the intimacy build, see if that connection goes farther.

    There are no simple rules about being a lesbian, and certainly no simple rules about being a mature trans lesbian. But, as very much opposed to trans, being a lesbian means being in community with other lesbians, building shared understanding & respect.

    What do you do? Go learn how to make some killer pot-luck dishes and hang out with lesbians. The more you know about their choices, the more you will know about your own desires. And, given enough time, the more deep connections you can make, connections that might even possibly blossom into love.

    You can’t attempt to attract a lesbian. You can only attempt to be a lesbian, to develop and mature that part of you, and let things take their course. Lesbians love lesbians (even if they lust over hot straight gals), so being lesbian is a key.

    Now, on the other hand, being a bisexual woman offers some different options. Maybe that’s good for you,

    You gotta get in the mix and find out.

    That’s what you do.

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