Genderqueer and Femme
There’s no reason that gender should be the thing that dress reflects. In our society, clothing is a very gendered thing, but I don’t think it has to be. For me, certain “femme” clothes reflect my personal preferences best. It’s not about gender, it’s about what I like. I feel sexy in clothes that are labelled “female.”
But wearing these clothes can be a traumatic experience for me. Why?
People tend to read clothes as a gender marker. It’s hard to dress as femme and not be taken as female, especially when your body and facial features are considered “female.” For me, dressing as femme is a radical act, but others’ reactions to me in femme wear put me in a different place–a place of shame, embarrassment, nerves, and feeling misgendered as female. Societal expectations for women crowd around me when I dress femme. I also feel the disappointment of those around me who are queer, trans, genderqueer, or attracted to androgyny. I often feel that I am not attractive to those I want to be attractive to in femme clothing.
When I wear suits and ties, I am hot shit in my community. Femme women often come up to me, flirt, want to dance, want to get to know me. Cute, androgynous individuals are a hot commodity among queers. Others make me feel safe, wanted, and welcomed. Often, they are physically affectionate, and I love that. I love being petted and hugged up on and flirted with.
Dressed in femme gear, I don’t really attract femme women in the way I’d like. I want to be some powerful girly girl’s adorable genderqueer arm candy, but I get skipped over when I’m wearing a dress. Their eyes go to someone in a tie, and I don’t know how to approach anyone. I just feel small and scared. How can I express that what I wear has nothing to do with my gender or my sexual orientation? I’d need a sign.
There’s a lot of talk in genderqueer communities about “matching,” figuring out how to look neither boy nor girl, or both. But I’d like to hear from those of us who look like we “match” the gender into which we were raised, and how to stay confident in our gender regardless of that.