Femme as a Trans Identity

Wish I could embedd this video, but it appears to be disabled – nevertheless, watch the FtF: Female to Femme trailer over on youtube. It’s from last year, and I’ve seen it around before, but wanted to highlight it for this femme discussion I’ve been having lately.Among others, I noticed Jewelle Gomez and Bitch as some of the ones interviewed. The website is over at AltCinema, and has some information about screenings and distribution. I missed it, unfortunately; I definitely want to see it.

I’ve been thinking about femme as a trans identity lately, and there’s some interesting stuff to hypothesize about. Clearly you could argue “butch” goes outside the prescribed gender roles, therefore transitioning between the usual “feminine female” and “masculine male” identities. But femme flies under the radar, sometimes, because of the ways it appears to go along with gender roles – “feminine female.” But there is one key big thing missing in this gender makeup, and that is sexual orientation – and honestly that’s a big piece (the only piece? the central piece?) of what differentiates femme from straightgirl.

This gets into the ways that femininity is compulsory and prescribed specifically for heterosexual purposes. And once a girl comes out as queer/lesbian/dyke, those rules for “getting a man” no longer apply, right?

Along with the rejection of heterosexuality, current lesbians culture tends to reject femininity as well, at least in the mainstream/sterotype. That is why shaving one’s head or at least cutting one’s hair very, very short is a particular rite of passage for most queer girls.

So, adding femininity back to a non-heterosexual female-bodied person, means something completely different. It is an adoption of gender, a serious transition into something new and intentional.

I’ll have more to say on this later …

And because I couldn’t provide you the embedded version of the FtF trailer, here is another one of my favorites from sophisticated sex comics The Wet Spots. Enjoy!