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Tuesday, April 24 • 1:40pm - 2:00pm
Flying Under The Gaydar: How Femme Queer Women Navigate Visibility, Identity, And Partnerships

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The relationship between sexuality and identity plays a vital role in LGBTQ+ wellbeing. The gender and sexual expression of queer individuals leads to diverse representations of sexuality. Often adopting a role or identity within the queer community can create a sense of visibility or acceptance for an individual. However, while these forms of personal expression can be empowering for members of the queer community, the identities of individuals within interpersonal relationships can impact one another. At times the identity of one partner may shift, leading to adaptations in the personal identities of everyone in the partnership. Past studies have found that femme queer women prioritize their sexual identity as an aspect of themselves and often feel that they must maintain certain labels in order for their identities to be seen as valid by both heterosexual and queer communities, even when their identities come at the expense of respecting their partner’s identity. However, research has also shown that femme queer women prioritize their partner’s identity, appearance, and financial standing less than heterosexual women (Fahs and Swank 2013). This study will use snowball sampling and person-to-person solicitation to interview self-identified femme queer women and explore how their identities impact how they relate to not only themselves, but their partners; this research seeks to examine the power dynamics and intimacy present in queer relationships and how those factors relate to femme identity in the queer community. Findings suggest that femme queer women approach their relationships from a perspective that prioritizes their femme identity and carve their space in their communities accordingly.


Tuesday April 24, 2018 1:40pm - 2:00pm PDT
236 Zageir Hall