Kirsty Fife: Full Interview
3rd January 2019
Interviewed by Hannah Pugh
HP: This is Hannah Pugh, on the third of January 2019, for West Yorkshire Queer Stories.
KF: OK, and I'm Kirsty Fife, I use she/her pronouns, I was born on the 30th of July 1986, I live in Leeds, and I identify as ci- er, cis and bisexual.
HP: OK, great. So, to get started, can you give me a brief definition of what a zine is?
KF: So zines are like, um... Sort of self-published pamphlets and generally made using, sort of, quite haphazard aesthetic and publishing techniques, I guess. So they're generally made by sort of cut- cutting and sticking and pasting bits of paper together, photocopied and then distributed either at fairs or online, or just handed to friends.
HP: When did you first become interested in zines and what appealed to you about the concept?
KF: So I used to be involved in, er... I guess the first sort of self-publishing stuff was actually, weirdly, I did a blog, um... In about 2009 I started doing it. And through that blog which was about, sort of fat-positive fashion and class and queer stuff and that sort of thing, I started making contact with people who made zines, through things like Livejournal, um and I guess Myspace and... Was it Myspace at that point in time? Or some sort of early social media, basically. And I sort of made friends who were involved in other types of, sort of, fat activism and queer activism, and they were also making zines at the time.
So through that I think I found about, er... I think there was a zine fair that the Women's Library used to run at the time? That was in London though. But every year they used to hold sort of an annual self-publishing fair that was... I guess like a lot of the stalls were queer feminist stalls, and yeah, I think I went along to one of those in about... Maybe 2010? And just picked up some stuff, and had been buying some via, sort of, Livejournal at the time as well.
HP: And what was it that appealed to you about the concept?
KF: Um... I think it was... I can't even remember the sort of first ones that I had. I think it was probably initially stuff to do with, sort of, fat positivity, and queer stuff, um, at the time. And the thing that I think I liked about zines a lot was that they were sort of almost like, in sort of queer feminist cultures anyway, people made sort of perzines [personal zines] that were about them, and they were sort of, like... And people still make them, almost like diary zines that were all about like, how they engaged with the world, and sort of strategies, er... Yeah.
So it was kind of almost weirdly like what people were writing on Livejournal, they were sort of typing up and putting in booklets and then handing them out to each other. Yeah, like I remember a friend of mine made a zine about, um... It was pretty hardcore actually! She had her heart broken, she wrote a zine about it and then took it to a zine fair, and handed it out to everyone in the zine fair, who were all friends with the person that broke her heart. Um, and... Yeah, which is a, a weird way to deal with a breakup specifically! But that sort of really intensely personal, sort of, space where you can just kind of write what you wanted and then put it out into the world. Yeah.
HP: Why do you think there is such a kind of queer interest in zines and feminist interest in zines?
KF: I guess it's sort of... People make generally zines because the sort of perspectives they want to see represented aren't otherwise documented. And maybe that's sort of less so now, because I think, you know, there's a lot more sort of queer publishing out there and a lot more sort of, people being picked up by mainstream publishers. But I think, sort of, zines have already just been a place for people who aren't otherwise represented to sort of take control and represent themselves. And that just sort of naturally overlaps with queer cultures, with feminist cultures, with sort of DIY in general, I guess. Um… Yeah.
HP: OK. So what kind of topics do you cover in your zines?
KF: Um… So... I've done sort of several series. In fact I've got [picks up zines] a big stash of them here. Um, which I can sort of go through. The first few that I did [looks through zines] were all sort of fat-positive fashion stuff... And this was kind of like... Yeah, sort of I guess like me trying to... Er... I guess make zines about the stuff I was writing about on my blog at the time. And yeah, so they were called Make It Work, and these were like [looks through zines] maybe 2011? And they were sort of compilation zines, so it was my writing and then other people, and it was stuff like, sort of personal testimonies, sort of narrative pieces about intersections of fat and other things, like, that's where I started thinking about them. But I wrote a lot about, sort of, working class and… Or being working class and being interested in clothes, and sort of, and also being like anti-capitalist and still liking clothes and how those two things sort of interact with each other.
Um, so I made those ones [looks through zines], and then, because I started thinking about identity, I guess, intersections, that's when I moved on to Hard Femme, which is [looks through copy of Hard Femme] full of them... And these were sort of... I guess I made the first one for… There was Queer Zine Fest which happened in London in, I think 2012? And I was having a lot of... Yeah I guess I was sort of, at the end of writing about fashion. I was thinking a lot about, like, I guess femme identity and clothes, and sort of how clothes and make up and aesthetics are sort of, like a place for sort of, like queer expression and exploration and, and then I sort of... Found a zine that someone else had written, I think called... I think it's called On Being a Hard Femme? And I sort of found the term 'hard femme' around that, because I think I was thinking a lot about... How, I guess like, at that point in time, I was sort of super femme presenting, and I didn't necessarily feel like I fit into queer aesthetic codes and that sort of thing. I didn't sort of feel like, um, I necessarily looked sort of, looked queer I guess? And femininity wasn't seen as queer and that sort of thing. So I started, reading about femme through, I don't know what sort of links. And then I read the zine about hard femme, and started thinking about being sort of like, I don't know... A friend of mine calls it sort of 'shitty femme', but like a sort of like, someone that's engaged with like femininity in a sort of transgressive and unruly way. Um, and not necessarily thinking about myself as 'high femme'. Is it helpful if I sort of talk about, like... Is this a good time to talk about femme stuff? [Pause in recording]
HP: So you were just talking about the different types of femme.
KF: Yeah, so... Yeah, so when I'm sort of talking about, I guess like 'hard' and 'high' femme, I sort of read a lot about femme identity in a specifically sort of queer context, and the idea of sort of transgressive, unruly femininity and like performative femininity. And I was really interested in that. And then I started reading about sort of intersections of different types of femme identity. So 'high femme' is I guess broadly understood to be someone that's kind of like, um... I've just said I'll define it but I'm not sure how to define it! But like, sort of immaculately presented like, hyper-feminine I guess... That, you know, is always sort of made up perfectly and like, sort of commands the room and, um. And I really like that mode of femininity but I didn't necessarily feel like it was me a hundred, sort of, per cent, because I was always kind of scruffy and still femme, but...
And then I started reading about hard femme, and hard femme's kind of more like, um... Don't know, I think in the introduction to this [refers to the copy of Hard Femme] I'm like, 'It's not just about leather jackets and Doc Martens', and I don't think it is but, like, I guess it's more like a sort of, tougher version of femme. And it's sort of known via this sort of like aesthetic code, which you know people sort of generally talk about as like, I dunno like, yeah, biker jackets and boots and like, tough dressing and, lipstick and like, chipped nail polish and all of this sort of stuff. But it was really important to me because it was also kind of about, I guess, sort of... Intersections of like, class and femininity? And sort of, yeah, being tough and sort of surviving and getting through and like...
Yeah so there was that zine called On Being A Hard Femme that I read, and I think I was just thinking all the time about that identity. And then I made this sort of series of zines. Yeah. And I made the first one in 2012, and I think that was, um... I think I'd sort of, like... My friends generally knew that I was bi around that time, but I'd never sort of like, done a big like, 'hello, I am bi' sort of announcement or anything like that. So I kind of made the zine and tabled at Queer Zine Fest, and it was almost like a weird sort of, like, ‘by the way you guys all understand me as a sort of straight-presenting femme, or like straight-presenting, or perceived me as straight I guess’, in that context. So, um, yeah, so I started just writing about... I guess, yeah sort of... Like bodies, and films and sort of body modification and cooking and um, yeah. It was kind of... And... Yeah I made that for like, about 4 years, I think? I made about an issue a year, and some of them had contributions in from other people, and they were all kind of haphazardly pasted together... Yeah. [Looks through zines]
Oh yeah, there's a lot of non-monogamy and dating in here, which always goes from like, 'polyamory is great' to 'polyamory is awful' to 'polyamory is great' over and over again. Yeah, so that was sort of the main bulk of the zines that I made... And then more recently I've done... [Looks through zines] Er, one that was a perzine that's kind of, sort of a continuation I guess of Hard Femme? It's called Like Like Sleep Now. Um... [Takes out Trailblazing Stories] And the one for this project, and then a few about, [looks through zines] sort of... Women and queer people in music, which I guess we'll come along to later. Which are more, I guess about like, documenting music subcultures, and trying to let people, sort of, in bands that don't really exist for a long time, particularly sort of queer feminist DIY bands, have like a few pages where they talk about their own practice and like reflect on what making music is. So that's kind of less about me, after a lot of writing about me. Yeah, so that's kind of... The zines that I did.
HP: Do you tend more towards the personal than the wider political then, in your zines?
KF: Yeah, I think for me like zines - I mean, I read the sort of wider political ones as well, but I've always really liked the medium as a way to kind of... I don't know, it's kind of like, a way to sort of share stories but in the sort of controlled way in which you can kind of... Because… [laughs, talks to her dog] You're not gonna sit down on the sofa right now, babe. Um… Because essentially I get to choose like who, or I guess, I sell them, and if someone I don't want to buy one buys one I can just not send it to them. It's kind of like a rare medium I guess where you can talk about quite explicit personal things. [laughs, talks to her dog] Apollo, d'you want to go on your bed? [pause in recording]
HP: So you mentioned selling zines...
HP: How do you tend to distribute them?
KF: So I've done it a number of ways I guess. I started using... Like Livejournal and other sort of community websites, and Facebook and stuff like that to sort of share. I had a zine - and that was kind of quite informal, like, 'I've made this, send me X via PayPal and include your address and I'll post you one'. And then I used Etsy to sell them, and that's where I still have sort of a little shop, on Etsy. Which is kind of like a... I guess it's just like a listing site. But you can sort of tag listings with, like, 'zine' and people will sort of periodically search, so you get, like, more people who aren't just your pals buying it then. And then via, sort of in-person via zine fairs, which tend to be, sort of, run in different parts of the country. Which might have like, sort of themed zine fair. Like I run one called Weirdo Zine Fest, which happens, has happened in London, and is happening in Leeds next year. And that's all about sort of radical and marginalised makers, so sort of intersectional zine-making I guess. And then there's stuff like, Queer Zine Fest that I already mentioned. And then you get like city-specific ones, like Leeds has Leeds Zine Fest, and I think there was like London Zine Symposium and other ones. Yeah and then sometimes at like gigs and stuff like that I might have like a table, at a gig... Er, yeah, that's mainly it.
HP: Are zines fairs and zine events very frequent in Leeds? How often does it happen?
KF: Not super frequent, like, there's Leeds Zine Fest - or Leeds Zine Fair? I don't know which way it is - every year, and that's run by Footprint, who are a sort, a collective, sort of co-op that do printing, like writers' own printing and photocopying. And that kind of happens once a year. And... I think that's kind of mainly it. You get sort of like, I guess, more like DIY art fairs and print fairs and that sort of thing but they're slightly different because that tends to be more sort of for illustrators and artists. And then Weirdo Zine Fest is happening next year and that's the first time it's happened in Leeds.
I think Leeds could have like probably more zine-y stuff going on, to be honest. There's like a sort of zine, like, Leeds Central Library has Leeds Zine Library, and Travelling Man does, sort of, comic book shops sometimes have zines for sale because people who make zines work in there and that tends to be how the biggest sort of shops start to stock them. And I think in a few other book shops around town you get some stocked there. But it's not quite as big as it is in other sort of similarly-sized cities.
HP: That does kind of lead on to my next question. Is there a wider zine culture in Leeds, if not necessarily many zine fairs, are many zine makers in Leeds that you know of?
KF: Yeah I know quite a few people that - it's kind of like, there's lots of people that have made, like a zine over the years, in sort of like, queer I guess, subcultures and feminist subcultures, in Leeds, and then there's quite a few people that are sort of more I guess experienced, that have maybe, I don't know. I, like, it's kind of weird, to be like, 'experienced zine makers', but people that have been doing it I guess for a long time. That are based here. But yeah it's kind, tend to be more sort of like, people within DIY subcultures I guess that are making them here.
HP: So, moving on. What work do you do with the wider community around zine making?
KF: So yeah. It's mainly stuff like sort of workshops, like the one that I did for this project, which was a sort of story-sharing workshop, I guess, that MESMAC approached me about doing. I think right at the start of the project, they'd sort of identified through International Day of Older People a sort of pot of funding that we could potentially tap into, that would subsidise a zine maker to come and run a workshop and then produce a zine which they could then sell to fundraise for the project. Um, so. And that was nice because that was kind of more collaborative than I've sort of done in the past.
I've also done quite a lot of sort of freelance workshops for like, libraries and I've worked in part- in partnership with the National Trust to do some zine-making workshops and run a fair in, they had this sort of season which was like about, kind of, half about queer histories and half about anarchist histories. And obviously zines are sort of right in the middle of that. So yeah, it's sort of more institutions and like community organisations like, I guess, use zines now.
I also, I used to work at um, the National Science and Media Museum at Bradford and set up a zine collection there while I worked there. There was about sort of, zines that are about DIY uses of sound and vision, so like music and radio, like pirate radio and community radio and sort of make-your-own sort of music stuff and that sort of thing. Yeah, so that's kind of what I've done that's like wider, and then the other stuff is running zine fairs I guess, which I've done for about maybe three or four years now? And yeah, really like doing because once you've been in zine, sort of zine like scenes and spaces for like a really long time, you kind of build up these networks and running fairs is kind of a nice way to sort of like connect people up and, and then also bring people to I guess Leeds in this case. Yeah.
HP: So how can people in Leeds get involved in zine-making or help to support zine makers?
KF: I guess like, getting involved in like, in making them yourself is kind of... I think I just, kind of gave it a go when I first started making them, like it's kind of... There's a lot of weird, I guess like... feeling that you have to have like, a prepared concept like in advance to sort of make them, but like most of my early ones were kind of just like, you know, broadly about a, a theme, but they were essentially just me kind of rambling through like, my daily experience and that sort of thing. So to sort of... There's definitely no big sort of grand concept behind them or anything like that. Yeah so, sort of making them I think is like, just kind of making time and space to do that sort of creative practice.
In terms of sort of like connecting up with people in Leeds, I think just like, the events and stuff like, zine fairs, are a good way- even if you don't necessarily like, you can't really have like long conversations with people at them or anything like that but, some of, I guess, my like closest zine pals have come via people like, reading something that I wrote and getting in touch with me later and saying like, 'Oh I read about this, I thought that was interesting.' And then sort of starting up conversations, either via email or like, social media or something like that. And then they've sort of become friendships and collaborations and that sort of thing. Yeah, I think people find zine people kind of intimidating sometimes, and it's- I think everyone's kind of quite antisocial and awkward and shy and, so. Yeah, just getting in touch with people is probably what I did, and then like some of the people that I got to know, I might have like bought something off a table and then emailed them, and then discovered they lived very close to me or something like that. So, yeah, yeah. That's generally how I've gone about it anyway.
HP: And is there any way that local people can help support zine makers in the community?
KF: I guess yeah, just going to fairs is a good, a good start. Going to fairs, yeah, going to like, picking up stuff from the bookshops and stuff that do stock them, like Travelling Man and I think Village Books have some too. And yeah, just kind of going to stuff and buying stuff is nice and, and like sharing things as well, because like, I think a lot of zine culture's people sort of get into them via people sharing things and passing the word on, yeah.
HP: OK. So I just wanted to move on to your involvement in the DIY music scene.
HP: Can you talk to me about your involvement in the scene in Leeds and how you got started?
KF: Yeah! So, yeah I've been in bands for like, I guess about, sort of five or six years-ish now? I kind of started going to gigs in Leeds - I lived in Leeds between about 2008 and 2012, and then I lived in London until 2016 and then moved back up, so there's- I started going to Leeds, going to gigs in Leeds just before I moved to London. And that was just... A sort of friend of mine who I still sort of run these like, fat-positive clothes swaps with up here, who is also a zine person and, and goes to a lot of gigs and sort of has lived in Leeds for ages. Think she just started like inviting me along to stuff at sort of various places, and she used to be in a promoting collective called, um... She used to be in one called Manifester, like about maybe sort of 10+ years ago? And then she was in another one called Please Text and they both put on sort of queer feminist shows.
Anyway she, just as we were getting to know each other would like play me bands like, I guess stuff like Martha and other sort of like queer pop punk stuff. And would then invite me to things. So I just started going along to gigs with her. And then moved to London, and sort of, I'd started going to see some bands up here and then they'd sort of play in London, and I'd go and see them there.
Er, yeah, and then I like - I'm trying to think how I... I think my first band weirdly formed via OKCupid? It's like a weird, um, situation in, er, yeah. A mutual friend of mine and myself both had like a date with the same person. It was, yeah, it was, was kind of weird, we were, we were both close pals and this person didn't know we were close pals. And then we were both like, not interested, and then they asked us to be in a band! So we all had [laughs] we formed a band with this weird history to it. And that was kind of a like, noisy... I don't know what it was like, kind of noisy, punk-y... band called Actual Crimes, and that was in London. But yeah, those, both of those people were kind of in scene, music scenes and through them I kind of got, started developing I guess friendships and meeting people, and, instead of just being someone that was like, at gigs I started being someone that was like, playing. And... Yeah we played a lot of like, we didn't tour much but we used to play quite a lot of queer feminist shows in London.
And then when that ended... There were sort of like a few other bands that I was in, in London as well. And then I moved to Leeds, and I'd kind of started doing like, it was kind of a weird sort of solo project, because I'd been making really like noisy, like fast music for ages, and I wanted to do like, really soft and slow and sad music as like the opposite of it. So I did, I wrote like a little solo EP, and then built sort of like, when I moved back to Leeds asked if anyone was interested in sort of playing those songs with me. And that's how the band that I'm in now sort of started, I guess formally? And that band's called Cat Apostrophe, and we've been together for maybe like three years or so. And kind of, we're all, yeah like women or non-binary people, most of us are queer, and yeah I think most of us are bi as well, which is quite nice. Yeah and we just started getting given support slots, I think because like, when you're in DIY cultures and people kind of know of you, I guess, and everyone in that band is I guess, people that have done stuff before in other guys', so people are kind of quite supportive of us, and started giving us like support slots at DIY shows. Yeah, and we did a sort of, last year we did, we played quite a lot of queer punk like festivals and did a little tour... Yeah. Yeah so that's kind of us and we're putting out like a record next year so that's quite nice, yeah.
HP: So where can the scene typically be found around Leeds? Are there any venues that are particularly associated?
KF: Yeah... It's kind of a bit of a weird thing. So historically we played quite a lot at Wharf Chambers, which is like, I guess, has been the main sort of like, place where queer shows got, get put on. But last year there was kind of um, a disclosure. Because a lot of the people in my band are involved in I guess like, survivor activism stuff, like our drummer runs a project about abuse in Leeds in, and accountability in activist and queer spaces. And there were disclosures about abuse and - you've probably heard this, but just for the sake of the recording! Yeah there were, so there were these disclosures um about that were broadly issues around abuse and accountability and racism at Wharf Chambers. And because of that we've not really played there for the last er, I dunno... Like nearly a year I guess? Because all of us kind of felt that we, we didn't necessarily feel comfortable, like. Not saying, because people still go there and, you know like, I acknowledge it's a place that you know, a lot of the community resides in and that sort of thing, but like, as organisers and musicians we didn't feel comfortable sort of... I guess publicly like playing and platforming it as a space. Yeah so that's kind of sort of stopped us playing quite as much in that place.
But there's other places like Chunk, which is like a, it's like a rehearsal, like a co-op-run rehearsal space in Meanwood. And that also hosts like BYOB gigs and that sort of thing, so we've played there quite a bit. And... Trying to think where else we've played. A- there're a lot of sort of function rooms and upstair rooms in pubs and that sort of thing in like, The Packhorse and The Fenton, that get used. But they're kind of a bit different because they often get booked by, like you might use it as like a queer feminist promoter, but you've got no guarantees as to who else is in the rest of the pub, so it's harder to like facilitate a sort of safer space if you're sort of nervous about like Otley runs coming through or something like that. Yeah, so that's generally sort of where we've played in Leeds. And then sort of, we've played the 1012 in Bradford. I think that's... those are the like West Yorkshire places we've played.
HP: So, for you, for you and your band, are politics and queer identity, are they - I assume they're particularly central to the music you make?
KF: Yeah, definitely. I think like, most of our songs aren't really like, like explicitly about, like... I think like, with this project, like I didn't kind of just wanna sort of like, like be shouting about politics to a room full of people who've got those politics already. [Phone message alert goes off] Sorry. So they were more mainly like, like songs about... I don't know, sort of like, I guess like mental health, and sort of relationships and friendships. But like, as I said we're all sort of women, queer and non-binary, like, people, so... That's kind of the position that we come from and I think like, a lot of music stuff, even if it's not explicitly, like, big-P political I guess, by the sort of nature of like, doing cultural production as like a queer person, or a marginalised person, is a politicised act.
But yeah, and I think for us, because we've all like got backgrounds in other types of activism as well, like it does intersect with like, where we play and who we play with and like... So for instance we've sort of pulled out of gigs because um, there have been like, sort of, known abusers on line-ups and things like that. So it's more about like, I guess our like, practice as a band and like how we operate and like what we do and don't sort of um, feel comfortable like promoting I guess, yeah.
HP: Is there a lot of collaboration um between different acts on the scene? Does your band collaborate with many others?
KF: Yeah... I think yeah, there's a lot of sort of people in the DIY scene that you'll find like, one person in this band is also in another band as well. And... Which like, people often sort of call like sort of punk 'families' and that sort of thing, like, but, which is kind of nice but I think also, like, can sort of like disguise I guess like... Because when you sort of talk about families, I mean I guess families can be sort of like, troublesome spaces as well, but. Like, I guess there's sort of like, groups of people that will like, that generally sort of like collaborate with each other. And like, I'm trying to think of examples. Er... I think there's kind of quite a lot of nurturing as well as collaboration, like. A friend of mine, who I knew through like blogging and fat activism and like spoken word from sort years and years ago formed a band last year, and she is um – oh they, sorry, their pronoun's they. They're a non-binary person of colour and they have like, just started like singing in a band and it's, and I gave like them one of their, I think one of their first gigs out of, the city they're from to sort of like, encourage them. So you get like a lot of that where people... Is the dog –
[Pause in audio]
KF: Yeah, so I think I was talking about my friend and - yeah, you see a lot of sort of like, I guess people supporting each other in different cities, so like kind of being like, you might offer like, your band might go and play a gig with another band, and then you might sort of swap and go and like, play each other's cities and stuff. But sort, like a lot of these older friendship networks that mean, like, you might have met someone, I don't know like ten years ago doing one thing, and because I guess like DIY cultural production is often the same people moving through different types of, um... I guess different mediums? So someone that you met through like, or you know, in this case that I met through like blogging, might ten years later form a punk band, and... Yeah, so you get quite a lot of that, you might like book tours together, or, or do these little like sort of gig swaps.
Yeah, and then, yeah lots of cases of people being in each other's bands and there being this sort of like, extended network, which is a bit, like that. Um... You know the like map thing in The L Word? That's a really bad cultural reference [laughs]. But, like, a bit like that whereby you've got sort of like, this band with these members, and then they all connect up to other sort of stuff, too.
HP: Does it really intersect with the queer community you find as well?
KF: Yeah, I think like, the sort of like bands I've been in I guess have always been... I, actually I think like the first band I was in the other two people in it were straight, but, but since then, generally, like - or I guess generally like the people I like to collaborate with tend to be like, other women and queers and um... Yeah, so that's generally who I sort of gravitate towards. And I guess like when you've got established like, when you're known of in those circle then people tend to like, ask you to play stuff. But we have had like a few gigs I guess where we've played with like, just... I think mainly we've always played with other bands that have had women in, but... But sometimes it's far, like, a kind of very straight room, or something like that, which is strange.
HP: Do you think that, again, queer people are generally kind of attracted to DIY music for the same reason as they are zines?
KF: Yeah, yeah I guess like... There is like, like a lot in, to be said for seeing people like you on stage. And yeah like for me that's always been like, has always been really like, amazing to see other like, queer people, other like, fat people as well on stage, like particularly I think like... Yeah other sort of fat queer women, and non-binary people doing like, rad stuff, is like really awesome to see, so. Yeah, I guess it's kind of... And similarly to zines, I think the sort of like DIY music scene is not necessarily like, there's not an expectation that you're necessarily like particularly good at, like or technically capable of doing music stuff, it's more like a, I guess a space to sort of play about and explore and, um. So I guess they're kind of quite similar, and that's why you have a lot of people who make zines and then go into music, or vice versa.
HP: So if I can just return briefly to the idea of butch and femme.
HP: Why do you think that the idea of the kind of spectrum of butch and femme is particularly important as a queer woman?
KF: Er... I guess like... I think like, it's, it's not necessarily something that like works for everyone and it's like, is... And I definitely don't think like... There's a lot of, sort of I guess like, butch/femme as a relationship dynamic and that sort of thing, and I think particularly as like a femme person, like, like it's always been like really important to me that I'm kind of not just understood by the people that I'm in relationships with, and I guess that intersects a lot with like bisexuality as well because like, in that case sort of if you are a femme woman in a relationship with a with a man, then people will just read you via the sort of partner that you have, therefore, as a straight woman. And I guess it's the same in sort of butch/femme dynamics, and - well, it's very different, but I sort of never really want to be like understood via my partner...
But like butch and femme I think for me, femme was always like, I mean I guess I've like, I've gravitated away from it a bit, like, but this idea of like, femininity being like, I guess like a performative space and a sort of a place to explore gender in the same ways that... I guess as a queer woman, like people tend to gravitate towards like, like... That in order to do gender play, I guess, you have to play with the like, opposite gender I guess, so like, like masculinity is something that you know is like, widely seen as sort of like performative and played with and that sort of thing. But for me, femininity was kind of that space. So yeah I guess like, for me femme was a really like important, I guess way to sort of like, explore my own gender and sexuality, and, and yeah sometimes that interacts with other people, and it might be sort of like a relationship dynamic as well, but sometimes it's like an individual thing. But yeah and I think femme like, because it intersects a lot with, like historically with things like sex worker activism and, and yeah bisexuality and you know, there are like, a lot of sort of like historical legacies of like femme-ness in relationship to a lot of I guess radical queer positions. Yeah that were really important to me.
And I, er... Yeah, because my, I've got two dads and like one of them is, is trans, and when we were like growing up together, I always say we were growing up together, but he was like, going through, or like, he'd come out as trans and was playing with clothes a lot, and I guess get, like settling in, like finding his mode of masculinity, and I was kind of like doing the same almost with like, femininity at that point in time and trying to find like, a, I guess like, a femininity that was like queer and radical and...
Yeah, so yeah. I think that's why, um, like femme is really important to me, and kind of just this way to feel like, yeah I guess it's like, it's really powerful, and kind of this like, understanding of femininity which, like, to people that don't get it can just seem like you're sort of performing like, almost like normative expectations of what women are supposed to be. But you're kind of in a queer context like, kind of performing that for like, yourself and for other women and that's kind of like, and...Yeah, that, like, it's almost like an aggressive like, like... Like, a sort of mode of femininity that's like, very not for men as well which I think is really important. Yeah sorry that was really ramble, rambling way-
HP: [laughs] No, that was great!
KF: - to talk about it.