Femmepire Records is a series of interviews on femme identity. Click here for the elevator pitch and first interview.
In a few words, define femme.
I think femme is an expressive disposition wherein one is drawn to things that are stereotypically feminine. They reclaim/repurpose these aspects of an outmoded notion of femininity. A femme pursues their natural and culturally inspired propensities.
If you don't have a definition, what do you think of Google's: "A lesbian or a male homosexual who takes a traditionally feminine sexual role."
I think this definition is backwards in that a femme embraces feminine qualities in order for their perspective to stand out rather than fit in.
Do you identify as femme? Why?
I do when specifically prompted. As a transgender chick living in the Bible Belt that type of question is normally posed in the form of a derisive accusation. I handle this confusion by making it clear that I'm proud and loving life rather than ashamed or deterred by their astute powers of observation.
Regardless of your previous answer, do other people identify you as femme? How do you feel about that?
Most of my good friends would in the sense that I defined it. Most others seem to conclude that I'm a feminine gay male. I sometimes wish that I were, mainly so that people's first impressions of me weren't so wrong. The prevailing assumptions about gender, sex, and sexuality don't leave much room for the reality of variety. Because of this my determination to be myself is often accompanied by a sense of invisibility.
Do you feel like you have to try harder to be read or seen as queer? If so, how do you deal with that?
Basically everyone deems me a queer, and I'm glad to be in a position to constantly challenge traditional views. What troubles me is that most people seem to force their impressions of me into their personal, often rigid, definition of queer rather than conceding that queer is something best left to us to define.
How does your gender affect your sexuality, if at all?
I feel that my sexuality is one of many aspects of my gender. It is a product of my gender that influences other components of my gender, like my disposition and presentation. That sounds circular but it isn't. Gender and sexuality are just intimately linked.
Do you feel constricted in who you date/sleep with because of your appearance?
Quite, and it's really frustrating. I'm an equal opportunity lover, but 'round these parts I'm considered an outrageously taboo lover. I've found it difficult to find people who will simply interact with me in public, out of fear of what others might think, just on the basic level of friendly intimacy. It's a drag. I haven't had much human contact since I came out two years ago.