Photographer credit: Elizabeth Marston
Elizabeth Marston is a once-and-future academic marooned in the real world. She identifies as a writer-activist, a permaqueer trannydyke and an Alberta survivor. Current projects include The Switch, a trans feminist web-sitcom, and Transist.ca, a trans activist e-mag.
Elizabeth’s piece for Persistence: All Ways Butch and Femme is called “Rogue Femininity.” It’s a meditation on femme as a form of badass, rogue, reclaimed femininity.
What’s your perception of the state of femme and butch communities today?
Fragmented, incohate, rich with potential. But many of us (especially those my age and younger) could use more exposure to butch/femme history. We can’t articulate who we are unless we can say who we’ve been.
If you could give your younger self one book to read, what would it be?
Whipping Girl, by Julia Serano. She distinguishes between gender identity (butch, femme, genderqueer, etc.) and subconscious sex (male, female, intersex, etc.). I happen to be both femme and transsexual female, but in my early twenties I tried very hard to deal with my embodiment angst by way of lipgloss, because I didn’t distinguish between these two very different things. This misapprehension begat much anguish, but at least I got to know my way around an eyeliner brush.
If you could say one thing to future butches and femmes, what would it be?
Look for new ways of expanding the concepts of femme and butch. They offer a new and freer way of being oneself, for all people everywhere. But freedom is the sort of thing you have to put your back into.