Whether you are fresh out of college (or still in school), or this isn’t your first rodeo, there are certain things that every queer woman should have in their arsenal.
10. An excellent hair stylist
Don’t settle for a shitty haircut, people. The days of “bad lesbian haircuts” are behind us. Follow the way of hair goddesses like Tegan and Sara and Evan Rachel Wood, and find yourself a style and stylist who can really deliver. Whether your hair is cropped close or long and flowy, a good haircut goes a long way.
9. A Twitter and Instagram account
Words and pictures. It’s how the world rolls now. Instagram can show off your more visual side, and allows you to treat your eyes to a world of wonder of hot ladies, French Bulldogs and sunsets. It’s also a great way to connect with other people, through mutual interests and a well placed hashtag. Twitter allows you to not only have a conversation with anyone from perfect strangers to new friends, to celebs, but also get a daily dose of what’s happening in the queer world. You know, like on @AfterEllen. (What?)
8. A vast iTunes library of queer artists
As it gets harder and harder for musicians to make a living off of their art, it’s especially important to support your favorite queer artists by actually, you know, buying some of their music. Get a little old school with some k.d. lang crooners, get your country on with some Brandy Clark, get grungy with S, and jam out to Angel Haze. Music is what brings us together more than pretty much anything else, so why not get a little “Closer” to some fellow music fans.
7. An understanding of your rights
There are still places in the country where LGBT folks do not share the same rights and privileges. Know your rights. Do you live in a state that allows housing or work discrimination based on sexual orientation? Can you legally adopt? Is your marriage recognized if you moved one state away? We are at a legal crossroads in many places and knowledge is power. Lamda Legal and the ACLU websites offer a lot of valuable information.
6. A Netflix account
I’m a little in shock as to how many young women I meet who haven’t seen many (or any!) lesbian movies. I mean, I know it’s not Criterion Collection, but come on. Television has really taken the place that film used to hold for many queer women, and rightfully so. There is far more representation in that medium. But, missing out on films like Kyss Mig, But I’m a Cheerleader, Bound, Imagine Me and You (and even hate watching a plethora of others) would be a damn shame. Fire up your Netflix account, go to the Gay and Lesbian section, and dive in. Indie filmmakers struggle more now than ever to get queer centric films made, so becoming a lover and consumer of queer films will help when it comes time to support new films.
5. Clothes that fit you, inside and out
It is a terrible misconception that lesbians have terrible fashion sense. Tell that to Ellen Page and Samira Wiley. While I admit to owning an adult onesie, to say that queer women don’t have good fashion sense is plain old antiquated. Whether you are dapper, femmetastic, edgy, indie, preppy, whatever, find the clothes that not only fit you, but match your personality. They may not be hanging on the rack at the mall, but do a little research and you can find companies that make clothes suited for your body type and attitude.
4. A knowledge of LGBT history
Without knowing our history, we are bound to repeat it. Learn about Stonewall, the Lavender Menace, DOMA (and its defeat), where we came from and where we are heading. This isn’t the stuff that’s taught in schools, and it’s our responsibility to learn and share that history with others.
3. A go to brunch spot
Brunching is the new saloning. A place to share ideas, laughs and mimosas. It’s easy to get so mired in work and the daily pressures of life, that we often forget to just let loose and treat ourselves. Brunch is perfect for first dates, when family is in town, when you need a public place to break up with someone. What, at least they’ll have a Bloody Mary to ease the pain. But seriously, have a little spot that is your home away from home where you can commune with friends and neighbors. Also pancakes.
2. A library (or e-reader) full of books by queer authors
From Ann Bannon‘s pulpy novels and Audre Lorde‘s poetry, to Sarah Waters‘s historical fiction and Radclyffe‘s steamy romances, there is so much good material to curl up with. Collecting the works of these and other queer women will breathe new life into your love of reading. And if you aren’t a book lover, maybe exploring the wonderful books and graphic novels available that were written by queer authors, might make you a believer after all.
1. Other queer friends
For a really long time I tried to get along without other queer women in my life besides with the women I was in relationships with. The thing is, it really sucked. Platonic friends are vital to your emotional well being, and you owe it to yourself to make connections with other people. So join a queer knitting circle or volunteer, and if it’s hard to meet other queer women where you live, reach out across the intertubes. Just because you meet someone on the internet doesn’t mean your friendship isn’t legit. Go forth, and have fun.