I am neither a Chapstick or a Lipstick, but a Tinted Lip Balm

Dear Baby Dykes: instead of living up to a label, why not create your own?




It still baffles me that even in the queer community we still have the tendency to label each other. Whether it’s because of your fashion sense, or who you are in the bedroom, we still like to categorise one another. In all fairness though, a label can be empowering. We have Gay Pride, Lesbian Pride, Butch Pride - I am not here to discount that whatsoever.


But what happens when you can’t seem to find one you fit into? I could never find my place in the straight community, so why should I feel the same way in the queer community too?


When I initially came out, I was overwhelmed by the amount of labels the entire lesbian and bi community had managed to conjure up. We have butches, femmes, chapstick, lipstick, high femme, soft butches, hard butches, mid femme and so on. After a bit of soul-searching, I never could find one that really described me.


When I was a baby dyke I wasn’t entirely sure of how femme/butch I was. Would I eventually end up a Birkenstock-wearing, buzzcut lesbian? Or would I suddenly wake up to be super femme?  It’s been about five years since I’ve come out and my flannels are hanging next to my dresses, while my Birkenstocks are sitting nicely next to my nude heels and my favourite pair of electric blue pumps. No buzzcuts yet though. I am who I am. I thought about the idea of being a chapstick. However, one, I’m allergic to sports and, two, I don’t have the right head shape for a baseball cap. I know I do have femme tendencies, but there’s something called effort which goes out the window in the mornings. So most of the time, it’s just jeans and last night’s makeup.


I expressed my concern to my friends about this. They thought I was thinking too much into it, and in all honesty, so did I. Then one day, my friend turned to me and simply said, "Just be a tinted lip balm." She said that I didn’t see myself as a chapstick or a lipstick, so just be something in between. A tinted lip balm.


And what is a tinted lip balm, you may ask? Well… it’s whatever you want it to be. It can mean something in the middle, or nothing at all. So instead of trying to live up to a stereotype or a label, why not just create your own? You don’t have to be tinted lip balm - you can be lip gloss, a lipstain. You could even choose to be bemme or futch, if that’s more your liking.


Being queer is about owning who you truly are, no matter how perfect or imperfect you may be. You don’t need a label to feel like you’re part of the community. You’re already here, sis.





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