At some point I realised where the real strength lay, stopped telling myself to man-up and started telling myself to femme-up.
If it weren’t for femmes, three in particular, I wouldn’t be okay right now.
One saw me for who I was and gave me the confidence to take a peek myself.
One showed me that those things we label feminine and those things we label masculine don’t spring from the ‘male’ or ‘female’ attached to most of us at birth.
The third, well, the third bought me flowers and makes me want to pirouette until physics bends the rules and lets the earths spin catch up with me. They taught me to look after myself (albeit by threatening to ‘donner’ me if I didn’t).
These three have been the most important femmes in my life; they have also been three of the most important people.
There’s more and this goes for every one of you.
You taught me to stand up for myself. I imagine you know how to because you stand up for yourself everytime you put on your lipstick, your hoops, your heels or whatever it is you claim in the name of femme, doc martens and hoodies included and step out into a world that considers you inferior and interprets each of those acts as you proving them right. You have no choice in your activism, to be you is to be an activist.
You taught me to not only accept those traits in me that society considers feminine but to let them flourish, usually quite literally with a flourish. I now value the ‘feminine’ traits I possess more than those considered masculine. That may sound strange to some, coming from a boy of trans* experience but in a world that you inhabit it is the most rational of sentiments.
You taught me to listen, you taught me that when you call me out on that fake girly voice thing I do to mock myself I am perpetuating misogyny and that your calling me out? That’s not about me it’s about respect.
I know I will never get it. Yes, on accounts of my female birth assignment I will experience some offshoot of misogyny, but it’s not misogyny, it’s filtered differently, it’s weaker. It doesn’t hurt me because I have never been female and I have never been femme.
I know female and femme are different. I know female doesn’t mean femme, I know femme doesn’t mean female and I know femme doesn’t mean cis. But I will never get it.
I know misogyny and femme-phobia manifest differently in the lives of everyone of you, I know that gender, birth-assignment, race, disability, class, religion, mental health status intersect and influence. But I will never get it.
I know the respect, admiration and love I have for you is bottomless. I know I will never get it.
A queer space that doesn’t welcome you safely in equality and with respect is not a queer space, it’s a bro’s club.
I will never get it. But I promise to listen, especially when you’re telling me I’m not listening. I adore you, I respect you and everytime the world kicks, trips or spits on me I’ll think of you and tell myself to femme up.
So much this and so much <3 for Max and all the femmes in my life. x