A remarkable and groundbreaking event recently took place when former Miss America finalist, Djuan Trent, came out as ‘queer’. Although she wasn’t out during her reign as Miss Kentucky, her choice to come out at all is a first in the pageant’s history. She is the first known beauty pageant contestant to publicly announce being a lesbian.
I don’t always talk about freshly out famous people. Mainly because it’s hard to keep up with all of the newbies due to so many taking that refreshing step of coming out. But this is more than just a celebrity outing, this is a step in history. This breaks the barriers created by stereotypes.
Djuan Trent was crowned Miss Kentucky in 2010 and competed in the 2011 Miss America competition, representing her home state. She recently wrote an entry on her blog, revealing her biggest secret.
“So…back to my initial thought. For months, I have been contemplating how I would write this post, how I would position it, when would be the right time to post it. Should I make it funny? Should I make it mysterious? Should I make it serious? Should I pick a special date to do it? Should I build some kind of anticipation around it? Hmmm…ain’t nobody got time for that. I have written and re-written and deleted and restarted this post more times than I care to share, and after all of that I have finally realized: “There ain’t nothin’ to it, but to do it.” So, here we go folks…
I am queer.”
Trent received a lot of backlash for her declaration, she also received a great deal of support. Her decision to come out started to enter her mind during Kentucky’s legal debate on equal rights for same sex couples.
Other pageant contestants have come out in the past, however Dejuan is the only one who has won her state title and participated in the national competition for Miss America.
I mentioned stereotypes above because when thinking of the ideal Miss America, one typically imagines a stunningly beautiful, feminine, glammed up, smiley, barbie doll type of woman. Not exactly the stereotypical ideals of a lesbian. Dyke Barbie? Not so much. But the truth is lesbians do not fit into such rigid parameters. We come in all shapes, sizes, dipsticks, and lipsticks. And evidently beauty pageants as well. Now, I don’t know much about beauty pageants, and I’m sure many of you think unfavorably of them, due to the patriarchal standards backing the pageant industry. But that is another topic for another time. I am now looking at equal opportunity institutions and giving these women the strength to be their very best. For my own lack of knowledge, I will assume these competitions offer that to the wonderful women who partake.
Frankly, I’m proud that Djuan Trent was comfortable enough to come out after being the center of such a feminine arena. I remember living in the closet when I worked at an all female salon, terrified of the straight women viewing me as perverse or being afraid of me. It seems silly now, but that was a different time, and stereotypes often lead to prejudice so, I played it safe.
I think we can all learn something from Djuan Trent. She is a strong, brave woman, who had the courage to be her true self and share that with the world. I hope more girls can see her as a role model, as Miss Kentucky and as a queer woman.
Stone butch, soft butch, femme, chapstick lesbian, lipstick lesbian – what?! Labels. The list goes on. Are they important? We all use them, but what do they mean?
To the newly out lesbian, these terms can be pretty confusing. Hell, for the seasoned dyke, they can be confusing! What you need to know is that even though different categorical references exist within the lesbian community, none of them are expected or locked in to any specific person. Labels such as these are simply identifiers, and should only be accepted by women who feel comfortable applying them to themselves.
Some women prefer not to classify themselves so narrowly and choose to not accept an identifying label. Take my wife, for instance. Before I wrote this, I asked her what she is. Her reply, “A Princess”. Enough said.
I will break down some commonly used lesbian categories, with a brief description of each. Mind you, these explanations can certainly vary depending on where you are from, age groups, or even just differences in different lgbt communities. Therefore, we tend to have a fluid understanding. I’m giving a general description. Please feel free to add your own in the comments.
I’ll keep it basic. Butch is typically referred to a woman who adopts what would be considered masculine characteristics.
Stone Butch (a.k.a. Stud) – A stone butch is a lesbian who gets her pleasure from pleasing her partner. She does not like to be touched sexually.
Soft Butch – A soft butch is a lesbian whose appearance is generally androgynous. She may dress and act in a masculine manner, but be soft and more feminine in the inside. Also, a soft butch can be someone who falls somewhere between butch and femme, but closer to the butch side.
Femme is a slang term for a lesbian woman who dresses and acts in a way that society considers typically feminine.
Blue Jean Femme – The term blue jean femme lesbian refers to a femme lesbian who prefers jeans over dresses and skirts. (Me!)
Lipstick Lesbian – A lipstick lesbian is a woman who loves other women, but also loves her clothes and makeup and shoes. She tends to dress on the ‘girly’ side.
Other Androgynous Labels
To be androgynous is to have both masculine and feminine characteristics. These qualities can be fluid and tend to vary per individual.
Chapstick Lesbian – A chapstick lesbian is also known as a soft butch or androgynous. She usually dresses quite casually and does not wear make-up. Ellen Degenerous is famously known as a chapstick lesbian.
Sport Dyke – A sport dyke is a lesbian, who more than anything, identifies with being an athlete. She may also dress in a manner that would give the impression she is an athlete, like baseball caps, sweatshirts and jeans.
Again, I will stress that these are only some of the lesbian classifications out there. And it is important to know that one femme varies to the next, just like no two butches are alike. If you meet someone, be careful not to stereotype her. Just because her appearance may fit your perception of a soft butch, she may not identify herself that way.