My femme is voracious.
I am hungry all the time. Hungry for words and information, satiated only when I’ve found the precise right words in the precise right order to convey what I need to know or say; articulate. Hungry for sex, constantly aware of my clit against my clothes or the cool air against the wetness of my empty cunt when I lounge naked. Hungry for food, both what nourishes and what gives pleasure. Hungry for space; I take it up and it is mine. I slouch in my métro seat, prop my black-leather-booted feet up on the seat across from me, drape an arm across the seat next to me.
My femme is strong.
The tattoo I’ve wanted since I read H.D.’s poem “Sheltered Garden” in winter 2009: “beauty without strength, / chokes out life,” in my own handwriting blown up to curl up my entire spine–an ordeal to obtain, needle on bone. I am competent and self-contained; I put together my own fucking furniture and drill my own damn holes. I am a bitch; my opinionated confidence earned me that label at least ten years ago. I get shit done. I move powerfully–my arms are cut and muscled, my legs are long, my body slips past you with long strides even on winter-snow-narrowed streets. My height gives me a panoramic view over your head.
My femme is intentional.
I am always femme: whether I am wearing a short skirt, men’s pants, or nothing at all, you should be able to tell. Why? Because of how I walk. Because of the space my femininity takes up. Because of the way I have subsumed masculinity and remade it into my femininity. Because of how I look at you, sizing you up, deciding if I want to fuck, deciding whether to pull you or push you. Because of the way I talk to you, touch you, exist in space with you. Because of the way I play off your gender, whether you’re a butch or a boi or another femme or something else entirely.
What I am saying here is this: don’t just open your eyes. It’s not enough.
Seeing my pencil skirt isn’t enough to tell you I’m femme. Seeing me with a butch isn’t enough to tell you I’m femme. These signifiers can be hints–take them as an invitation to your senses, all of them. Especially the senses that are deeper than the usual five, your sense of space, of proximity, of vibes, if you will. Noting the aesthetics of clothing or makeup or hair is not enough, because aesthetics are not enough to convey something as complex as one’s gender/identity. When we rely on aesthetics, we get lazy and reductive. When we are lazy, we make people invisible by refusing to recognize them, as what they are and as part of our communities–for identities are intelligible only in communities. When we are lazy, we take trans femmes for drag queens and straight white hipsters for femmes. In our laziness we reduce the entirety of femme to the singularity of an aesthetic: one type of body (with tits), one way of dressing, one way of partnering and fucking. Question your desire. Do more. See more.
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