There’s not just one type of lesbian

Shelby Curran, a 17-year-old Jewish lesbian from Broward County wrote a guest editorial post on the Miami Herald’s GSFLA about the “femme world”- where gender expression does not determine sexuality, or in other words: not all the lesbians are “butch”

ShelbyCurran180x200Short hair. Boxers lying just above the waist. Masculine jeans. No make up. The image comes to mind whenever one thinks of a “stereotypical lesbian.” Girls with select masculine features that can be spotted right away, and pinned as “lesbians” through the technique of what some may call: an accurate “gay-dar.” The reality is, more often than not people discover that their predetermined judgments are true: they are butch lesbians.

With this in mind, it may be an unfamiliar thought to consider the fact that not only “one type” of lesbian exists.

Welcome to the femme world- where gender expression does not determine sexuality and where curled hair and the latest BCBG dress meets pride parades.

The world “femme” is derived from the French word for “woman.” It is used to refer to lesbians that do not fit the stereotypes. In other words, a woman with long hair who dresses in “girly” clothes and, indeed, is attracted to other women. You know just the type of woman I’m talking about. Does someone like Portia de Rossi come to mind? The media also portrays feminine lesbians on TV Shows such as Santana on Glee or Alex on Orange is the New Black, indicating that perhaps the world is becoming more aware of the vast diversity within the lesbian community and our expression.

Regardless, millions of feminine lesbians across the globe (including myself) still suffer from the universal “femme fact”: we are all caught in a stereotypical world, and invisible to both the homosexual and heterosexual community.

The issue is clear. The straight community assumes that femme lesbians are also heterosexual, while simultaneously, homosexuals tend to look past femmes by judging that they aren’t also homosexual. For instance, there have been many instances when I have been out to dinner with a significant other and our friends and have gotten “hit on” or groped by a guy. Yes, even with an obvious girlfriend present. Either they thought she was my twelve-year old brother (oh- ha ha!) or they would shoot me the comment: “You’re too pretty to be gay!”