The first time was so exciting and amazing. I couldn’t wait to get down there and it was even better than I ever expected. It was so warm, soft, comforting, delicious, smooth, wet… Her reactions turned me on so much. Truly unbelievable. — Gail, 27

Suzannah Weiss
12 Women Share What It Was Like to Hook Up With Another Woman for the First Time

The first time I was really able to envision femininity as a kind of power was while watching Paris is Burning in college, encountering the world of drag for the first time. The knowledge that my femmeness was something I could put on and take off, something I could play with and shapeshift into, made me feel so in control of it, and made me feel powerful for choosing it. The ability to alter our images and to play with the way that we present our bodies is a fundamental queer and femme superpower[…]we think that we understand ourselves and then use that understanding to write poems about our bodies, but it’s just as common in my experience to have written poems about my body for five years and then be like, Oh, that’s who I am?

[…]

I mean having a body is such a fucking trip, you know? The other day I was talking to Danez Smith, and they were like, Ugh I hate having a body, I wish I could just be a presence — which I totally sometimes relate to. But also, the body — our materiality — is the only way that we know how to exist in the world.

I’m always drawn to the language of the body because that language, which I was born into, has completely determined how I’ve been allowed to imagine myself. The first time I ever made a chapbook of my poems—printed at a FedEx and stapled together — I called it Women Only Write Body Poems, which is a joke that I still find funny. But for better or for worse, it’s a job that women who write have always found themselves doing.

But despite some of the poems in the book, I don’t actually think that the total transcendence of our material forms is what I’m after, because that also seems like a way of checking out of the whole problem. I think that I want to learn how to live in a dynamic and fruitful and sexy relationship with the body.

Franny Choi
Queerness, Cyborgs, and Cephalopods: An Interview with Franny Choi
Paris Review 21st May 2019

Marlene’s freewheeling attitude to sex has been much analysed since her death, particularly by her daughter Maria, who wrote a tell-all book about Marlene in the grand tradition of Christina Crawford’s “Mommie Dearest” – only Maria’s effort was dubbed “Mommie Queerest”. Maria revealed that Marlene used sex as a kind of weapon in her affairs with men – she didn’t actually care much for “it”. It was a way of controlling and manipulating them. With women it was different. Marlene actually enjoyed the sex, and the relationships were much more satisfying for her. Edith Piaf, Mercedes de Acosta (who also wooed and won Greta Garbo), Rosemary Clooney, the German singer Hildegard Knef and many others shared nights of passion with Dietrich.

To call Marlene ‘lesbian’ would be to misrepresent her sexuality. To call her bisexual would also not be adequate. Perhaps ‘queer’ describes her best or simply, as one commentator said, ‘unstraight’. She made love to those she was attracted to at any particular time in her life, their gender was immaterial. This is extraordinary, given that most of her career was built on being the ultimate fetish object for straight men. The film critic Kenneth Tynan defined this bisexual appeal when he said, “she has sex without gender.”

Terry Sanderson
Marlene Dietrich: a woman out on he own

How could I be femme

June 10, 2018

I started to find butch women in movies and books and queer erotica, and they captivated me. But in those precious few portrayals, butches were paired with femmes, and that dynamic left me hopeless. Based on what I watched and read, femmes were petite, curvy, pretty women. How could I be femme if I was too tall, too broad-shouldered, too strong-jawed? How could I be femme with my flat chest and scarred face? The butches I saw in fiction didn’t want a woman like that. The one dynamic that was presented to me led me to believe I couldn’t exist in queer spaces. So I stayed in the closet, in the dark of my own doubts and insecurities.

But the quiet certainty of queerness didn’t leave me. I thought, sometimes, I’d go crazy if I couldn’t touch another woman.

Katrina
Relearning how to dress myself from the closet I came out of

put you in a box…

June 7, 2016

kiss1

Oh great, you too. So now I wear this label ‘Queer’ emblazoned across my chest. Or I could always carve a scarlet ‘L’ on my forehead. Why does everyone have to put you in a box and nail the lid on it? I don’t know what I am—polymorphous and perverse. Shit. I don’t even know if I’m white. I’m me. That’s all I am and all I want to be. Do I have to be something?

Rita Mae Brown
Rubyfruit Jungle

Music…

September 16, 2015

violin

“We’re queer, but music doesn’t have a sexuality. Even if it was more clearly written to women, I still think that music is still just music.”

Sara Quin
Musician and performer.