Violet (not her real name, but it's my favorite fake name) wrote to me a little while ago. My experience as a femme has been quite different from hers, so I didn't feel equipped to give her very specific advice. I knew, however, that there are probably lots of you out there who have overcome or currently struggle with similar issues, and wouldn't hesitate to provide some support in the comments. Read her query below...
How do you deal with criticism against your sexuality?
Violet writes: "I'm 18 and awkwardly came out to my parents a year and a half ago and ever since I've been ridiculously careful with what I disclose to my friends and family. Unfortunately, my family and I moved away from my liberal home-city abroad into a disgustingly well-manicured and subtlety corrupt society in the US two years ago...I was nervous that my friends parents, teachers and fellow schoolmates would...treat me differently.
If you're gay here, you keep it a secret. That's just how it works. No one wants to hear about it, talk about it or even acknowledge it. I can't wait to get out of here next year, but I also know that it's not the last time in life I will have to deal with this kind of treatment. I'm feminine as well and sometimes when I've told people that I'm gay they just look at me like I'm lying straight to their face/am going through a phase and they pity me. I honestly don't know what to do and would like to know how you've done."
Anyone who knows me is well aware of the fact that my knee-jerk response to this would be to slap someone silly. (Or, more likely, to cut them off coldly for evermore and never look back.) Not the healthiest responses, are they? That's where y'all come in!
Violet needs some tools that go beyond an It Gets Better campaign, stuff she can use in her day-to-day interactions with family, peers and friends that will help her set boundaries and assert her femme-ness without necessarily burning bridges.
Please, please, please spend a moment in the comments to weigh in!
Book Club Meeting: Light Years by James Salter
Thrifted "Stuart Hall" Blazer Vintage shirt, Pretty Penny James Jeans (which I really ought to have cuffed, just once) Dolce Vita platform mules Vintage Dooney & Bourke bag Beaded wooden necklace, India Bear tooth necklace, Mariele Ivy