How Do Femme Lesbians Make Themselves Known?

Tips for Being an Out Feminine Lesbian

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This is a question I received recently. A femme lesbian wants some advice on how to get noticed by other lesbians. How does a femme let other lesbians--butches, femmes, and those in between--that she is also a lesbian.

How Do Femmes Make It Apparent That They're Lesbian?

I decided to ask a few femme friends I know who never seem to have trouble meeting other lesbians how they do it. One femme, Belinda Carroll who is a comedian says, "The way I do it is to get onstage and announce I'm a single lesbian who has a lipstick addiction."

Belinda goes on to say, “I wrote a piece for the Persistence anthology about this exact thing. Femme invisibility is a common topic among femmes. How do you let queers know you're queer when you look more Donna Reed than Pat Califia? My solution has been to wear obviously gay accouterments; political pins, buttons and the like. (I once had a trans-guy go into a full-on purple blush because I was wearing a pin stating "I heart Trans-Guys." That was fun.)

Also, if you are in conversation with the person, you can mention your ex-girlfriend or a queer organization you are involved with. Get involved and volunteer with queer organizations. It's cumbersome for femmes, because we all don't register on the radar, but you can do it.

I have a really hot butch friend who mentioned the most simple solution to letting the queer of your dreams know you're also queer...wink! If you can pull that off without feeling like a 70's porn star, my hats off to you!

Another femme friend has a slightly different tactic:

Sari says: My first reaction is to say, "Yeah, how do we let other lesbians know we're one of them?" It’s a tricky question that I'm not even sure I know the answer to. But here's what works for me (some of this is tongue-in-cheek, but...then again...not really!).

  1. Find a place where lesbians go. That way, you've got at least a 70% chance that the chick you want to talk to will actually be into girls (the other 30% are straight allies or bi-curious). I realize that this limits the social scene for most people, but it seems to be the most fail-proof.
  2. While in conversation with an obvious lesbian, casually mention an ex-girlfriend. Important note: you can't say "an old girlfriend of mine..." because straight girls call their friends "girlfriends," and no butch girl will take you for a lesbian if you say this. You have to use the term "ex-girlfriend," so as to spell it out as clearly as you can.
  3. I find that the old "I may look casual, but this is an HRC shirt that has an important lesbian political message" clothing options are a good way to announce your sexual preference without saying anything. However, there is a huge flaw with this choice, and that is this: HRC (and every other LGBT clothing maker) doesn't make clothes for femmes, and I wouldn't be caught dead at any social function in a hoodie.
  4. This is my favorite way to let other lesbians know I’m a lesbian: wake up in the morning, dress and act as you normally would (in all your sexy, confident, high-heeled glory), and let that be that. Without a doubt, the butch girl will find a way to talk to someone you're with, and eventually say, "Your friend is hot." At that point, your friend can fill the butch in, and you've done nothing but stand nearby and radiate sensual goodness. I found my first three girlfriends this way.... so it seems to work pretty well...

    Eye Contact

    From Kathy: Well, I’m not a femme, but I’ve found the best way to tell another lesbian, is by eye contact. When I see another lesbian in public, we make eye contact in a way that is different than with straight women. Even if there is not a romantic interest, there is a way that lesbians look each other in the eye, in a way that subtly says, “I see you,” that is different than how straight women look at each other.