“in Beth Ditto…I saw an out, queer fat femme owning her sexuality and hotness and never apologizing for it. Seeing someone else do it who was younger than me only inspired me to hurry up and get through my fat shame and start making something of myself. As she’s gotten more media exposure, I’ve seen Beth challenge notions of ‘cute’, ‘pretty’ and ‘fashionable’ in really hysterical ways. She’s a brave and amazing artist.”
Oh my lord! What a week! Together with the other Madams of the Femme Family, we pulled off New York’s first ever Femme Pride week!
I feel so honored to be in a place and time where Femme is an identity to be celebrated and honored, and the breadth of Femme presentation is acknowledged and illustrated. I hope more and more as we do NYC Femme events that self-identified Femmes of all ages, ethnicities, abilities, fashion inclinations, backgrounds, sizes, etc… feel welcomed and want to be part of seeing the power of autonomous Femmes coming together.
Speaking of Femme was so full of light, love, power and intensity! Femme identified readers from throughout New York City and our special guest, Mira Bellweather, from Michigan, threw down once again at NYC’s feminist bookstore, Bluestockings.
Mira’s piece on superqueeroes and superhero identities was so great I am going to record it for FemmeCast, so stay tuned.
Felicia Luna Lemus was incredible, and you can pick up her books (that are so great!) at her website.
I did a piece I wrote about my deadbeat dad and will probably release on the podcast. I got one of the best compliments, from an artist whose work I respect and draw inspiration from, who said it was simultaneously funny and poignant and worked on both personal and broader levels. As I write more for stage, I’m trying to develop a style. Sort of a sarcastic Carrie Bradshaw with teeth and politics. I think Speaking of Femme works so well because clearly there are people who are hungry for the words and performance of Femmes as they explore their own gender/sexuality identity politics and also because Femme artists need a place where we can workshop our materials in a safe environment with other queer artists.*
My outfit for Speaking of Femme is my favorite summer halter dress (from Re/Dress) and a bouffant/ponytail inspired by Jacqueline from the Real Housewives of NJ. And Zoe, whose dress is from Re/Dress as well.
We had some in between events that celebrated Queer identity and Fat identity, to round out Femme Pride week, which I’ll separately blog.
The other Femme Family produced event was our coming out party. We were very intentional about the elements of the evening meeting with the mission of our organization. We wanted to have it facilitate conversation and community building, so we kept the dance music at house party level instead of “Omigod I can’t hear you” bar level. We wanted to preserve our current Femme history and show the breadth and depth of Femme presentation & Femme allies present, so we had a photobooth with a professional photographer and fabulous lighting. And we wanted to have a cabaret with Femme identified performers doing work that called into the room the incredible history and legacy of the transwarriors and Femmes that came before us.
We did the show at the Historic Stonewall Inn, where the Rebellion happened 40 years ago. If you see the neighborhood now, you know how much the West Village is losing the queer rebellious element. It was nice to bring in some of the queer flash that seems to have started segregating in Brooklyn.
I put together this slideshow that includes a lot of shots from the night and some video from the performance. Since Flickr is a bit picky about longer videos, there are two more videos of different performances from the Cabaret apart from the slideshow. I have to say, I was impressed at the big turnout** and the amazing hotness of the crowd. It illustrated that Femme comes in all kinds of packaging, and I look forward to proving that again and again and again.
Be sure to watch the videos… if only I had video editing software!
The photobooth was such a fun aspect of the night. I’m pasting a couple of my favorites here, but soon they’ll all be at our website.
Almost all of the rest of the Madams. (And we want more! Wanna organize? Jump right in! Rachel did and she was our stage manager!)
So if you are near NYC there is a vibrant Femme community happening right here! Community is fostered on the internet but it exists in real life!! If there’s something you want to see happen in NYC, join the Madams! If you want to have Femme community, come out!
And you can always start your own Queer Femme organization in your hometown! The Atlanta Femme Mafia exists to be the big sister chapter to help smaller chapters start! New chapters were just approved in Melbourne, Austin and someplace in the midwest!
*I’d love to create a queer femme writer’s group to workshop groups with, but you know. I do a lot of organizing and not as much working on stuff.
**The proceeds go to help the Femme Family have a “Love Your Body” themed entry into the NYC Pride Parade–so gaystream and bodyhating, generally.