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“I have experienced a ton of invisibility and marginalization, as I am sure you have.
I have like countless stories in the early to mid-2000s of being one of the only out femme person in Portland (that I knew of), being the only person at a dyke party in heels, and of being told at lesbian nights that I was at the wrong party.
I have been attracted to femme people my entire life but I was told by many people in my community over the years that ‘doesn’t really happen’—often by other femmes. Leigh [Rich, Graf’s high femme girlfriend] and I have been dating since the end of last October. So about 10 months.
I think the main thing with Leigh and I is that we had to be so over the top about dating and still people didn’t get it. And I think a lot of people assumed it was just a fling, like we were holding places until we each found butch girlfriends. And I think we were both slightly terrified of the other person doing that too, even though that was never the vibe. But there just aren’t super femme couples in my community.
So I think it was a lot of people not taking it seriously for awhile, in a way that felt really misogynist. Because it’s fucking sexist to assume that two feminine people wouldn’t be serious about each other, and it’s weirdly internalized homophobia.
The first few months we went out and I would leave her side, she would be constantly hit on by a masculine, butch person. That is a really specific example of people not taking us dating seriously. Which is like, I get it, she is hot. But come on—no one would do that if I was butch.
Leigh and I both agree that our experiences with straight people are way less weird than with the queer community. The first six months when we were dating and just chatting up random straight people, they were way chiller than queers.