Why Femme Invisibility is real

Happy LGBT History Month! 

Let’s get deep. 
When I first began dating women around four years ago, I was met with a variation of responses. Mainly there were positive reactions along with a few not so positive, but there was one particular type of comment that seemed to arise again and again. 

" You don't look gay." 
"You seem straight." 
"You don't look like a lesbian." 

Even though I have dated women, fallen inlove with a woman and my first female encounter occured when I was a teenager, there have been times where I’ve felt my sexuality has been questioned. There still appears to be confusion or disbelief from some people. There has even been an instance where I was in a heavily lesbian environment and somebody made a comment suggesting that I may feel out of place there because I'm "Straight." Whilst being a part of the LGBT+ community is one of the most loving, beautiful circles you could belong to, the stigma around femme visibility (or invisibility) is still absolutely an issue within the community and can sadly leave people feeling excluded or in denial of who they are. 

Let’s talk about femme invisibility.
I came across the term some time ago and it immediately struck a thought up inside my mind. It got me thinking about where I stand and where I fit. 

Feeling like my identity is dismissed can be tough, but I have made a little pinky promise with myself to never feel the need to conform to a specific way of dress or attitude to ensure others know my identity.

Lesbians do not need to be forced into a masculine pigeonhole. 
But this doesn't only apply to lesbians. It applies to bisexual and trans women alike. Presentation of gender shouldn't be questioned or made fun of, just like our sexual preference shouldn't. 

So for anyone unfamiliar with the term "femme" it applies to a feminine lesbian. 
I've heard this termed used as a negative, almost as an insult. “She’s nice but she’s femme”. 
But why? It's simply a female who loves women and chooses to present herself as a feminine woman. Perhaps the negativity stems from a place where if you are more feminine, men may look towards you more and this can be a turn off for other lesbians. 

Forever Alone?
Another problem for femme women can be that they sometimes aren't recognised or even acknowledged by members of their own community. For example, I know that if I go on a night out dressed in an LBD that many women wouldn't think of me as gay, or would assume I'm a straight girl in a club. But if I go out in jeans, a t-shirt and trainers the impact is quite the opposite. A knowing look from other gay women. Acknowledgment. 
Sometimes the question is "where do I fit in?" It sometimes feels as though you're forever coming out to people. It never really can be one definitive moment, because you can't carry out a tick box exercise on me. 

Femme in the Media. 
There is a real lack of out and proud feminine lesbians in the media. I can think of Cara Delevigne, Amber Heard and Anna Richardson. It would have been great growing up as a young girl recognising someone as a role model who was able to show me that it's okay to be gay and feminine. 

Whatever it's beginnings and roots, there are women figting femme invisibility from inside the community.

Moving forward, I want to be able to erode feelings of femme invisibility within myself and to do that I want to be vocal, as opposed to feeling I have to conform to stereotypes. To continue fighting and that there is no specified way to look to be a gay, bi or trans female. 


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