How do you define your femme identity?
I define my femme identity as authentic, a definition that I expound on in my essay, “The Anonymity of Femmeininity.” My femme identity transcends dress and deportment. It is not about appropriating (or misappropriating) the trappings of heterosexuality. It is about signifying my desire to defy and shatter stereotypes. It is my way of rejecting and resisting homophobia, sexism, heterosexism, and compulsory heterosexuality.
How do other identities you have not only intersect with femme but also contradict it?
I identify as a femme female lesbian. This identity—and I use identity in the singular sense because the three are, in my estimation, both harmonious and inextricable—debunks the delusion that a feminine gender presentation and a lesbian sexual orientation are incompatible.
What are some joys of being femme?
Sabotaging gender norms is perhaps the greatest joy of being femme. As a femme female lesbian, I am not readily identifiable in the mainstream; people can’t ascertain my sexual identity with a cursory glance. Consequently, I have the power to challenge—and change—people’s preconceived notions about women, about lesbians, and about femininity.
What role does writing play in community-building for you?
When I write, I not only write about femmes; I write as a femme. In my essay, I assert that femmeininity is both transgressive and progressive: it translates anonymity into action, invisibility into initiative. That characterization can be applied to my writing as well. For example, femme-identified lesbians figure prominently in my fiction. Because butch lesbians are still the most visible representations of lesbian identity, writing for and about femme-identified lesbians in general and femme/femme lesbian couples in particular is my way of authenticating femmeininity and cultivating visibility.
How does it feel to be part of the Femmethologies?
I am totally kvelling. This project comprises a potpourri of individuals, and I could not feel more ecstatic about keeping company with all of the genuine, femmeinine fe/male things involved.
Femme is _____ (one word only, please)