Ditch the Label had a chance to have a chat with Whitney and Megan, or as you may know them ‘Wegan’, about the importance of femme visibility and why it is a subject that really matters.
DTL: Firstly, would you be able to tell us a bit about yourselves for those who don’t know you both already?
Wegan: We are Whitney and Megan, aka ‘Wegan’. We are a married femme lesbian couple that run a blog & youtube channel, What Wegan Did Next (www.whatwegandidnext.com), as well as a dating site, Find Femmes, (www.findfemmes.com) for femme LGBTQ women. From our blog, it grew into a Youtube channel, social media accounts and followers who connected to us.
“It’s been an amazing ride documenting our journey from getting engaged in Hawaii, conquering long distance, having our Civil Partnership in the UK and now our wedding in Palm Springs!”
We decided to set up a dating site for femme LGBTQ women as we kept receiving messages from our followers asking how we can help them find someone, and now we have an answer for them.
DTL: Before we chat about Femme Visibility, would you mind briefly explaining to us what you mean by the term ‘Femme’?
Wegan: Femme to us simply means LGBTQ women who define themselves as feminine; that is “having qualities or an appearance traditionally associated with women, especially delicacy and prettiness” (Oxford Dictionary). There are many different variances of ‘femmes’. It’s up to you how you identify. i.e. we love to wear lipstick every day and heels on occasions.
DTL: Your Femme Visibility campaign looked to combat the invisibility of feminine lesbians, could you tell us what inspired you to start it?
Wegan: We set up our blog in 2009 to document our long distance relationship from Hawaii to the UK, but also we wanted to put our faces online as we both felt a great lack of lesbian models when we were growing up. As well as this, I (Megan) wanted to try actively combat ‘femme invisibility’ (slipping under the radar of both the straight and LGBT community). The best way I could think to do this was to showcase many other femme LGBTQ women who are living their lives out and proud. We feel the best way to bring about change is from educating and making sure we are being seen and believed. We are not unicorns, we are real!
DTL: You launched the campaign back in 2012. Do you think since then that we are moving in a positive direction for representation of the lesbian community in the media?
Wegan: Since 2012 there has definitely been a positive move towards the representation of lesbians in the media. Such as with TV shows like Pretty Little Liars. Spoiler alert it was truly amazing to see it end with the characters Emily and Alison getting engaged and bringing up children together. I would have absolutely loved to have seen that growing up!! San Junipero winning 2 Emmys also shows a shift in representation. There still is a long way to go, however, especially with female celebrities coming out. There still aren’t many out as lesbian/ bisexual!
DTL: The likelihood is that people may feel as though they need to change the way they are as a result of the stereotypes you mention. What advice can you offer people when it comes to staying true to themselves?
Wegan: We’ve heard so often from women who felt that they had to change their appearance (i.e. cut their hair, wear different clothes) to fit into the lesbian community. The only advice we can give is remain true to who you are. If you feel you want to explore that side and you aren’t sure, then go for it. We have had many tell us they tried it and realised it wasn’t for them, and for others, they may find a truer identity.
“If you realise you’re lesbian or bisexual then this doesn’t mean you have to change anything about yourself. If you love your lipstick and high heels then keep doing you!”
We’ve had a wonderful follower tell us recently that through finding us she realised she could be feminine and gay. Whats more she added that without our visibility, she wouldn’t be marrying the woman of her dreams. Just receiving that message brought us chills to know we’ve had such a momentous impact on someone’s life. It makes it all worth it.
DTL: How do you deal with negative comments from people that are surprised that you are a lesbian?
Wegan: We mainly get asked if we’re sisters (like nearly daily), it’s crazy why strangers feel compelled to ask! We even had someone ask us if we’re mom & daughter recently… really! In most of the situations, we tell them that we’re actually together and it takes them a second for it to sink in. They often laugh in disbelief. But, when they realise we’re being serious, most of them actually get super excited and tell us how great it is. Other times people just nervously laugh or don’t say much at all so we’re just like ‘bye!’
“It gets frustrating that us being together is not even an option in peoples minds. Then not being believed and feeling you have to justify or even prove to them that you’re gay and together.”
However, we still believe in telling people who we are because we hope it will educate them to not ask another couple the same questions! Of course, you still get men who love to tell you that you haven’t ‘met the right man yet. So, our response to this is ‘well maybe you haven’t met the right man yet! If you haven’t tried it, how do you know if you’re straight?’ That tends to shut them up! The most ridiculous statement we get is “you’re too pretty to be gay!” We haven’t got a great response for that yet, so if you know one, let us know!
DTL: What steps would you suggest that people take if they feel as though they are part of the invisible community?
Wegan: It can feel very isolating – growing up we both certainly felt like we were the only femme girl in the world when we were younger! But honestly, the internet is a wonderful thing for this. If you go on Instagram, Youtube and Tumblr then you can follow other femmes and find your own community. We’ve become friends with so many other femme couples online, it really is a great sense of belonging when you find other couples who are just like you. Of course, whether you’re looking for love or friendship (or as we like to call it, ‘femmeship’) then there’s our site Find Femmes!
DTL: Anything you would like to add?
Wegan: Right now we’re travelling around America for 3 months so be sure to follow on our adventures via social media & #WeganTravelsUSA.