by Kopano Sibeko
According to the most feminine lesbians, coming out as a lesbian is never easy because, ‘Fem lesbians’ as titled are frequently questioned about their sexuality because of the way they present themselves. It has become rather a dubious thing that only masculine lesbians are really considered real lesbians or as being sure of themselves.
Femininity is defined as the fact of being a woman or the qualities that are considered to be typical women. In the lesbian community the term “Femme” is used often, it is used to describe the more feminine woman in the relationship. However it is unfortunate that most feminine lesbians are not taken seriously either by their partners or the society at large.
When I spoke to Baitiri Lumka Seleka about coming out to her family and how society views her as a feminine lesbian, she expresses that “ coming out was the hardest thing I had to do because even when my family questioned my sexuality, they were not anticipating that I would tell them I was gay”. She also explains that being a feminine lesbian is fine because she hasn’t noticed any animosity or drawn unwanted attention considering the hate crimes that are mounting up.
Seleka also utters that “I don’t think that they (society) take me seriously because most responses I get are “you don’t look lesbian”. She further adds that only her close friends and family take her seriously and they know that she’s genuine and it’s not a ‘phase ‘she’s going through.
Thandeka Sibeko a member of Flamboyant, a student organization at TUT, told me that she feels that femininity in the lesbian world is stigmatized. “We are often labelled as the messed up ones in the community” she says. She also expresses that even though she’s come out to most of her friends but they still don’t take her seriously they think eventually she’ll out grow it. “I am even terrified to utter this to my parents because I fear being judged and told am confused because I don’t conform to the ‘justified’ lesbian look.” she added.
Sibeko also confirms that dealing with the need to be accepted is hard enough and now being second guessed by my fellow “friends” is another.
“We lesbians focus more on things that break each other down as compared to things that offer support. If we stood together whether I am bisexual or full on lesbian I still fall under the LGBTI acronym” she said.
Hloxx Mooki, butch lesbian says “I take fem women seriously, but not all of them. It’s hard to take most them seriously because of the way they usually carry themselves in public”. She also states that most of them often say they’re tired of men and they want to try lesbians and that for her is not genuine.
“I for one have been tired of women but I have never thought of dating man so what does that say about them?” she added. Mooki admits that it’s hard for society to take them serious because they already have a picture of what a lesbian should look like.
Previous by Kopano
2013 June 25: The other woman…
2013 June 24: Our deepest fear is that we are powerful
2013 June 3: The Strength of Love and Acceptance
2013 May 11: Actually, absolutely, definitely NO!
2013 April 21: Living a legacy is always better than leaving a legacy
I have to say that when I came out my family were still shocked, despite the fact that I was boyish and had short hair. I had dated guys but just didnt find them sexually attractive. I am now extremely feminine and have never had a problem being accepted by my fellow gay women or anyone. I enjoyed reading your blog and found it very interesting that people still feel that they are not accepted in the community.
Thank you for this article. I have been struggling this problem for some time and I am glad I am not alone in noticing it. The worst is when other lesbians de-legitimise your sexuality and say you’re pretending or you aren’t a true lesbian because you maintain a feminine appearance. It really breaks down the gay community. I find it interesting gay people unfortunately replicate the gender roles and stereotypes apparent in mainstream heteronormative culture. The same way women who dress femininely are not taken seriously male-dominated careers and workplaces, on the gay scene we are seen as posers. It’s very patronising 😦
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2013 June 29: Femininity in the lesbian community is stigmatized | inkanyiso.org