Lucy Lipstick: Being Lucy
I have been writing this column for a couple of months now, and reading back I realized that I never described what it feels like to be a “lipstick,” “girly,” “femme” lesbian in this town.
In Richmond, there is definitely a lesbian community, but you are either “in” the crowd with them or not.
I have lived here almost ten years and in this time I have met very few and far between “femme” lesbians. I have often wondered why that is. In places like Washington D.C. just a short drive up 95, lesbians come in all categories, and let’s not mention places like New York, LA and San Francisco.
Is it the size of the city that makes the women more diverse? Or the location and traditions of the city? Richmond is a traditional, conservative, southern city, we even have an avenue to honor the confederates. I have often wondered if maybe that is why the lesbians here tend to be of the “butch”, “soft butch”, or “androgynous” variety. Because by going against the grain, having the power to look a certain way and command attention, it challenges the place where we live to be aware that we are here. I think that it is important to challenge tradition and help broaden the views of a conservative town.
So where does this leave a “Lucy Lipstick” in the RVA? We are here, probably more of us than we think. From the commentary that I have received each of us is surprised to find other “femme lesbians” exist in this town too.
Being a woman that loves to date and be with women can come with its challenges. I have exclusively dated women for years now, before that I dated people that I was attracted to based on their character and personality, not just sex. The reason that I dated men at one point in my life has a lot to do with being a very femme girl and feeling the rejection of the lesbian community based on that. At the point in my life when I dated men again, it was because I was so worn out from trying to be part of a community that did not want anything to do with me. To this day, I always get asked, “if I am with my boyfriend” when I am in a lesbian bar or club in Richmond.
I know exactly who I am, and am ecstatic to be a woman who loves women. However there are times that I want to scream and run away to the idealized version of West Hollywood that is depicted in The L Word. A part of me thinks that I would be better accepted and understood there. Something about being able to wear stilettos and put on eyeliner seems to undermine my sexuality in Richmond. Why is that? I have dated plenty of women, have never doubted my love of being with them, on a date out and about, or in bed. Sometimes it seems that if I cut all my hair off, stopped with the makeup and wore clothes that did not hug my body as closely, I would be easier to accept.
It’s like I have said in past articles, if we could all just stop with the labels and pre-conceived stereotypes, perhaps we could all be more accepting of what may and may not qualify someone to be a “lesbian.” While we challenge the traditions and the conservative nature of Richmond, I think us “Lucy Lipsticks” need to challenge and broaden the horizons of what a lesbian looks like in this city.
Lucy Lipstick was once a single girl, living in Richmond. She found love, and could no longer write about the meeting and greeting of prospective dates. Now she is living life, and writing about the everyday things that occur in the life of a lipstick lady living in the RIC. E-mail Lucy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“When they gave us the certificate, I cried. Our friends cried.”November 5, 2015
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