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.