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April 2, 2012 | by  | in Opinion |
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Bent: Femme Invisibility

Picture a lesbian. What do you imagine? I bet she doesn’t wear dresses or skirts. Probably
no make-up, or very little. Big boots, Docs probably, shirts and jeans. Short hair. The thing is, even other queers can instinctively come up with a similar image—this is the Stereotypical Lesbian.

Popular myth would have you believe that liking girls somehow turns you into a tomboy, or maybe even a trucker dude. Well, I like girls. I also like wearing super- high-heeled shoes, and look pretty good in red lipstick, if I do say so myself (it’s my colour, really).

This is femme invisibility: a lesbian phenomenon in which a feminine-looking lesbian has difficulties in convincing the dyke world that she’s gay, or being seen by other lesbians at all.

It happens everywhere: femmes feel like they’re not recognised as part of the LGBTQ community, but are instead assumed to be ‘fag hags’ by the more obvious lady-gays; these girls in turn assume true femmes are some sort of mystical butterfly that they can fantasise about but probably never find.

As the Invisible Femme, it probably took you a while to even reconcile yourself as being queer. When you don’t look like the classic lady-lover, you can take a lot longer to figure things out. Night after night, I bet you put on a pretty dress and waited on the side-lines of some gay gig while that cute-skinny-boi-dyke neglects to take you seriously. Who can blame her? You just don’t look gay.

So, what to do? Just bite the bullet? Lose the bra and lippy for drop-crotch jeans and a forearm tattoo? Hell no. Effing Dykes has a simple uncompromising solution to staying girly and gay.

  • ▴ Coming out to everyone
  • ▴ Wearing something gay (read: rainbow or Tegan and Sara)
  • ▴ Confidence. A dykey swagger goes a long way.
  • ▴ Being brave. Sometimes it’s as easy as a ‘hi, wanna dance?’

But of course it’s not just the femmes’ responsibility to get noticed—other lady- queers need to help us out a bit here. Don’t assume we’re straight because we wore a dress to the club and are having a laugh with the boys. We can be just as gay as you are and still hate beer and adore vodka cocktails. So take a chance, okay? The worst that can happen is that she really is straight and says ‘oh sorry, I like guys’; the best that can happen is, well… what are you doing Friday night? Because she’s all yours.

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