On a scale from 1 to femme, I don’t entirely know where I fall. I know there are plenty of people who are “more femme” than me, and there are plenty of people who are less. My roommate, for example, is quantifiably more femme than me. More lipstick, more heels, more self-identification as femme, more femme community organizing, and definitely more animal print.
But as a queer man and a Radical Faerie, there’s plenty of my normal-everyday that is not expected from the normative masculine. Glitter, nail polish, expressing a full spectrum of feelings, openly loving other men, wearing dresses, being sexually receptive, more glitter. Does that make me femme?
I see how my definitely-femme siblings are treated. I pay most attention to those assigned the same letter at birth that I was. The sissy cis boys and the feminine trans girls. I am in awe of their strength, fiercely burning flames that everyone else seems to be trying to put out. Or to convince them to put themselves out.
My life isn’t like that. The world reads me as a man and rewards for being appropriately masculine. With my beard and my body hair, my stature and my mannerism, even in glitter and nail polish I am still a derivative of masculine. Not femme.
And they’re not wrong. I feel really good about my gender expression and I think it’s pretty darn representative of my inner desires for outer expression. Everyday-Andrew is jeans, Star Wars t-shirt, boxer-briefs, mismatched socks, hiking boots, comfy hoodie, purple scarf, stained-glass Radical Faerie pendant, chipped teal nail polish, unstyled hair, curious eyes, open heart.
That’s not completely gender-normative masculine, so I suppose I’m genderqueer masculine. Not genderqueer as a non-binary identity, but a masculine gender queered by femme, faggot, and magic.
Perhaps femme is one ingredient of many in me. Definitely not the main ingredient (“is femme a carb?”), but an integral seasoning that shapes and influences how the other flavours are experienced.
And like many of the potent spices in my kitchen, I know that the histories and herstories of femme interacting with bodies like mine are complicated and colonized, just like the stories of those spices and my white skin.
So I try to be mindful of how I bring my femme into the world, and how I bring myself into the femme world.
Above all, I am grateful. Grateful for my femme, for the femme and the femmes in my life. This energy/experience/expression has undoubtably shaped and flavoured who I am today. And I’m delicious.