How the LGBTQIA+ community has taught me to be a better woman

About a month ago I posted this picture on my Instagram. I have gotten a warm reception with my choice to cut my hair from real life and online friends. But the post in below was mostly in response to many people in my real life (and some online) who have questioned why I have cut my hair and do not wear make-up on a regular basis.

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To them, I ask...Why am I not femme enough for you? Then I realized I have learned a lot about being a woman now that I have changed how I view myself (especially without hair). It mostly is because of the people who I surround myself with. Though I am a cis-gendered, straight woman, I align myself with a lot of the LGBTQIA+ community because of their values and their perception of what femininity and being a female means. I have friends who are drag queens, bisexual, questioning, trans, gay, lesbian, and several others within the community and they have all given me a new perspective of who I am as a woman. 

I have a dear friend, who has been a sister to me for close to 10 years, who has recently gone through bottom surgery for the transition into womanhood. Her journey has taught me a lot about the community, but also a lot about the perception of womanhood I held onto for many years. Her journey has been inspiring because despite having so many trials and tribulations, she has held onto this goal of aligning herself with who she really is. I applaud her, I cry with her because I have been with her since day 1 of her transition and know what she has been through, and I thank her for being so truthful with me. I haven't got to hug her in so many years because of us living so far away from each other, but I know she is right there with me and I am right there with her.

Her transition into womanhood has helped me with my own transition into womanhood post-military. You are probably saying to yourself, "Michele they are completely different. Why are you taking away this woman's journey?" To that I say, "1) Have you been a woman in the military? and 2) I am not taking away her journey...I would never do that to my sister."

I digress though. What I was trying to say is, while in the military I had to be hyper-femme out of uniform (and sometimes in uniform) because I "needed" to show that I was a woman and I wasn't some androgynous person in a poorly fitting unisex (I got out right before "female" formed uniforms in the Army) uniforms. I would basically look at hyper-femme queens and drag queens for inspiration to be a woman. My friend is one of them. Before, and for a short time during, her transition she was a drag queen in the Austin scene and we were sisters in not only friendship but in witchcraft (as well as roommates for a short 5 months). I would go to her shows, watch her get ready at the bar or at her apartment, and emulate her when it came to doing my makeup and hair as well. After she came out, I continued to watch her transformation and it inspired me to look at myself differently. I was just getting out of the military and I knew I needed a change in appearance. So I experimented, asked for advice, and knew I could look to my friend for validation and inspiration. 

I continue to look to the community for inspiration because they have so many individuals and so many backstories to look to. The community has also taught me that androgyny is not bad and that it has a long history within the community and the world. Though I do not align myself with a gender non-conforming individual or androgynous, I know that sometimes looking as such is not taking away from my own story and femininity. I also still look up to drag community, whether they are hyper-femme, hyper-masc, kings, or queens, because they are able to show the best of every spectrum of gender. Plus they have some bomb as skills with makeup; I am still trying to learn how to glue down my brows. 

So again I ask...Am I femme enough for you? Because I think I am femme enough for anyone to deal with and if you don't like it well boo there is the door...C U Next Time.

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Stay beautiful lovelies!

Michele