Open Thread For The Queers: Femme-Passing, How Do You Out Yourself, And Tribadism

While most of my friends don't give a hoot about my sexual preferences, what many don't realize is that unless I out myself, I'm going to be assumed to be straight.

Jun 6, 2013 at 4:00pm | Leave a comment

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Selfie. (Image via Collegehumor.com)

I was planning on my open thread being about how all you femmes out there make it known to other girls that you're into them, without being really obvious. While most of my friends don't give a hoot about my sexual preferences, what many don't realize is that unless I out myself, I'm going to be assumed to be straight. So, in any social situation where I'm meeting new people, I have to find new and inventive ways to "out" myself to make it clear to the bros that at this point in my life, their junk isn't my cup of tea.
 
Feel free to use this open thread to talk about the ways you all deal with that, and ways you make yourself visible to other queer people. (Like Sarah and Po told me to, I wear my nails short now -- are there any other secret codes? DISCUSS PLEASE.)
 
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Example of when I looked like a boy

The other night I was out with one of my friends, and I mentioned how I thought the waitress was cute. He replied jokingly, but a little exasperated, "Can you just give up the whole lesbian thing for tonight?"

He can get away with saying shit like this, because he has an accent so everything he says is automatically endearing to me, but the sentiment of what he said stuck.

Straight people (I know I'm seriously generalizing here so don't crucify me) can get away with talking about the opposite sex literally all the time (seriously, I don't think my beloved friends realize how often they talk my ear off about super-mediocre people/mundane relationship problems) but whenever I open my mouth about a girl, all the sudden I'm doing "that whole lesbian thing," and it's annoying.

So riddle me this: How else am I supposed to make it clear when I'm in a group of people, mainly straight men, that I'm not flirting with them and will not be seeing their peens just because I'm smiling and wearing a crop top? Why is it annoying when I mention I think a girl is cute, but not when my straight friends do the same (sometimes for 30+ minutes at a time)? I know I'm not in the majority, but I swear I'm not trying to do some "lesbian thing," I'm just making conversation, you know, like people do. 

Of course, I could shave my head again, and go back to it being automatically presumed I'm gay -- but I like having long hair and looking like a lady. Don't get me wrong here -- there are many different difficulties the realities of being a queer woman present -- passing as straight for a cis-gendered femme can be a bummer at times, but it is also a privilege that many other queer people don't have. 

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Starting to look like a girl again

SECONDLY, last night I fell into a deep, deep internet K-hole, which started with Kate McKinnon and somehow led me to the wiki page for Tribadism. I'm just going to let you imagine how I got to point A to point B because what you guess is probably more interesting than the reality.
 
Anyways, I kept fishing around and found that most of the information seems to come from this webpage, which is NSFW, because there are a lot of photos of girls scissoring. Similarly to Kate, I find talking about and learning about sexual experiences fucking fascinating. So when I found this little nugget of a website, I dove in headfirst. 
 
The definition of tribadism is: "a form of lesbianism that simulates heterosexual intercourse."
 
Tribgirls.com says:
 
There are only a few women who have ever heard the word "tribadism" (or: "trib") and even less women actually know what it means; although, there are many women who have done it already or at least thought about trib in their fantasies.
 
 
Tribadism isn't represented enough [in porn] compared to how important it is for lesbians and bisexual women in real life. This is probably because many men still fear the competition of women when they are taking on (at least part of) the male role without using any kind of artificial sex toys.
 
I know it's Wikipedia and a poorly designed website I'm directing y'all to, but trust me. This shit is interesting, (so read the wikipage so we can discuss) -- I especially found the etymology section interesting, along with all the stuff about Marie-Antoinette. Also, the book Feminine Masculinity by Judith Halberstam is mentioned, which I'm currently reading, and it's incredible. It's a staple for anyone interested in queer theory/gender studies.
 
Reading about tribadism and the history of the word itself was interesting because I think what Halberstam says is true -- that in liberal/sex-positive bubbles we've become comfortable talking about sex toys, lube, fetishes and all that good stuff, but it's rare that you hear women openly discussing how, when or if they practice tribadism (yes, I'm going to keep using the fancy word instead of just saying humping), the pro's and con's, and the politics of it (some women believe lesbians shouldn't have sex like this because they see it as simulating heterosexual sex and that sex between two women should be different -- click that link and see #7 in the list of definitions).
 
If tribgirls.com cited study claims are true -- (Tribadism is by far the most preferred activity in lesbian sexuality. 95% of all bisexual women who have had lesbian sex only once or twice in their lives answered, in a questionnaire from a sexual science institute when asked about trib, that they preferred the trib style for their sexual pleasure. It's a normal answer since tribadism is the most simple, most natural and, for many women, the most exciting way to give sexual pleasure to each other. Tribadism enables women to look into each other's eyes. They can kiss each other. Their arms are free to caress the other female body, particularly the breasts. 
 
Interestingly enough, even 70% of experienced lesbians who have had lesbian sex more than twice in their lives have said that they prefer tribadism. Lesbian sex with hands/fingers (15%), oral sex (12%), sex toys (dildos and strap-on dildos) (2%) and the other (1%) does not even come close to tribadistic sexual activities preferred by lesbians. Also interesting, is that many men expect lesbian women to have sex like they see it happen in usual porn movies. If you ask men about "what lesbian women are doing," they will always say that oral sex is the most popular technique followed by the use of strap-on dildos.)
 
... So then why does it seem that there is still some sort of weird shame hovering around it?
 
Is it just because the phrase "dry-humping" is so fucking awful? Or perhaps this is openly discussed, and I just don't get out much. But even my deep googling didn't dig up many results -- but maybe that's just because the shit ton of bad porn was overshadowing the informative articles out there? 
 
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Check it out y'all, I graduated

So, homies/friends/queers/femmes/freaks, let's talk in the comments! Are there secret codes between girls I don't know about? How do you out yourself without making it a big thing? What have your experiences and struggles been with gender presentation? Do you not even think about how to get girls to like you because they naturally gravitate to you?

Did you find the wiki page on tribbing and the etymology of the word as interesting as I did, or was I just really high when I read it? Marie-Antoinette is an even bigger badass to me now. Do you like tribadism, or do you prefer other ways of feelin' good with a lady? I think it rules. Let's talk about it. 

And bonus question: Have you also just re-watched all 6 seasons of The L Word because they're all BACK ON NETFLIX?

Share your wisdom and insights!

Felicia's making a fool out of herself on Twitter: @feliciaroseeee.