Femme does not equal straight

Britni wrote…

Time and again, people tell me that I “look straight.” Or that I “don’t look gay.” But what does that even mean? How do you “look gay”? Do I have to walk around with a men’s haircut and wearing men’s or sexually ambiguous clothing? Does the fact that I wear feminine clothing and look like a typical girl make me any less queer? How do my clothes or my image define my sexual orientation? To put it simply, they don’t. I don’t need to dress a certain way to let people know that I am queer.

When I go to dyke bars, I never get hit on. Ever. I’ve been told, time and again, that I look too straight. And you know what? That’s pretty offensive. If I’m in a queer bar, it’s pretty safe to assume that I’m queer, unless I tell you otherwise. I wouldn’t be in a dyke bar trying to pick up girls if I was straight. End of story. And why can’t people just assume that I am a femme instead of assuming that I am a straight girl? There are plenty of femme lesbians, and they are just as gay as the butch ones. Femme does not equal straight.

You can’t judge a book by it’s cover. And gender identity is different to everyone. I am a woman and I enjoy wearing typically feminine clothing. I like skirts and dresses. I like tights and stockings. I like heels and jewelry. But I also like wearing wife beaters and ties. I like wearing vests and Chuck Taylors. My outfit one day does not make me any gayer than my outfit another day. Who I am doesn’t change just because the packaging does. I wish people would stop making assumptions about my orientation based strictly on the clothes that I choose to wear.

I wear what makes me feel good. I wear what makes me feel sexy. My clothes don’t define my orientation. I’m just me. And I’m queer, no matter what I’m wearing.

What assumptions are people making about you based on your clothes?

And what are you thinking about gender right now?

Posted by on December 20th, 2008 at 08:00 am

Category: your voice 4 comments »

4 Responses to “Femme does not equal straight”

  1. Caitlin

    Because I wear “male” clothing most of the time..people assume that I want to be a man. That is def. not true. I enjoy being a girl. I wear men’s jeans because I’m short, and it’s easy to find my exact length! If girls jeans were labled with the exact measurements..I would wear them. Seriously..what’s a 0? Also, I don’t wear girl’s shirts that often because (most of the time)the sleeves are stupid. I only lean towards “male” clothing because they fit me better.


  2. Rachel

    TOTALLY there with you, sister! I get so sick of that whole ‘you look straight’ crap. Like I’m being a traitor to the queer community by not looking queer ‘enough.’ By having longish hair and wearing skirts. I think that if a person of whatever identity is at a queer bar, they should be open to another person of whatever identity hitting on them. Isn’t that what having that space is about? That it is safe there to be the gender/be with the gender you desire?


  3. Alaina

    I totally get what you’re saying. When I go dancing at my favorite gayish club I invariably get hit on by more men than women.

    Still, I think when people say “you look too straight” they are actually saying one of two things (or both):

    1) You’re cute but I’m afraid of rejection, I’ll just go hit on that other girl who looks more likely to give me a diddle.

    2) You look straight edge. Would you be into drinking beers and watching bad 70s porn / bumping and grinding / having super hot lesbian sex, because you look like you’d rather be holding hands and reading Emma together.

    Now, I love Jane Austen. But when I comment to my wife that the woman across from us on the subject would be cute if she weren’t so straight, what I really mean is that I’m intimidated.


  4. Sublimefemme

    I just stumbled across this discussion and, believe me, I’ve been there. I think we’ve only recently begun to understand the complexities of femme as a lesbian gender and the many forms that queer femininity can take. Come visit me sometime at my blog, Sublimefemme Unbound.

    Here are 2 posts you might be interested in:




Leave a Reply

Can I show your picture? If you have a Gravatar associated with this email address, it will be displayed as your photo. If not, I'll just put a picture of a fork next to your comment. Everybody likes forks.

Be nice. Judgmental comments will be quietly deleted and blacklisted. There's plenty of room for those elsewhere on the web.

For legal reasons, you must be age 13 or older to post a comment on Genderfork.

You can use some HTML tags for formatting, e.g. <em>...</em> for emphasis (italics) or <strong>...</strong> for strong emphasis (bold) or <a href="http://(url)">...</a> for links.

Back to top