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The Conundrum of the ‘Femme’ Lesbian

The Conundrum of the ‘Femme’ Lesbian

Since I came out as a lesbian twenty-five years ago I have had a plethora of statements and questions about me that no one ever would have stated when they assumed I was straight. In the beginning, I got the proverbial, “I never would have guessed you were a lesbian” and the “Gee, you don’t look like a lesbian”. The questions ranged from, “Did you always know?” to “Your not butch at all so are you going to start dressing different?” Seriously real statements.

When I saw the indiegogo crowd funding blurb about a new documentary called Girl on Girl, I fully related to the message Jodi Savitz, the writer and director is conveying in what is hoped to be a unique and eye opening documentary. It wasn’t that I was a beauty twenty-five years ago, but I was attractive enough and dressed well enough to be considered very feminine for a stereotypical lesbian. And to be clear, twenty-five years later I have become more just me than show.

GirlonGirlOn the film website, Jodi writes, “Girl on Girl is a groundbreaking film in the LGBTQ and documentary film genres. It challenges the commonly held belief that, “feminine women cannot be lesbians because they look straight,” and introduces the concept of feminine lesbian invisibility— the phenomenon that, due to their feminine appearance, countless LGBTQ women are rendered invisible to the outside world and to each other.

Girl on Girl provides a rare glimpse into the lives of women with one thing in common: even after coming out, they walk through life feeling socially delegitimized and mocked for speaking up about their invisibility, even in LGBTQ spaces. The film begs the question, “is passing as heterosexual really a privilege?” and ultimately proves that ‘coming out’ is not a one-time proclamation, but rather a never-ending process—an emotional rollercoaster of having to repeatedly defend one’s sexuality to a critical and skeptical world.

Girl on Girl is an original documentary film that features the stories of feminine lesbians who, even after coming out, feel invisible and stigmatized.”

I do believe that there are lesbians who, in their fear of the repercussions of being found out, do live as passing for heterosexual. They live in a world of secrecy. Then there are those ultra feminine women who just don’t understand why their femininity seems to make them the suspect lesbian or the “not really gay” girl. Imagine being beautiful and having the world not be able to equate beautiful with lesbianism? Savitz has assembled real women who experience this odd discrimination.

I have a number of lesbian friends who fit into this mold and they can relate to this. One stated that when she finally told a man at her work place that she wouldn’t go out with him because she dated women, his response was, “What a shame to see a beautiful woman be that way.” So, it is okay for the less than wow woman to be accepted as gay? I guess it is. And to think this is a problem.

Savitz is still in process of finishing Girl on Girl and plans to release the film to fall 2015 festivals. She has honed in on a subject that for many of us is a surprising problem. But anytime one feels like they are on the outside looking in, it is an unsettling and genuine issue that I, for one, am glad Savitz is bringing to the screen.

For more information about the film or to donate, go to and follow it on Facebook. Thanks, Jodi for tackling the subject.

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Jan Miller Corran, Ph.D., is CEO/President of More Than Friends Productions (MTF). Dr. Corran is a film producer with numerous films to her credit as Executive Producer, Associate Producer or consultant. For a list of her books and films, visit

Other articles about Femme Lesbians on Epochalips.

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