Within the LGBTQ community there are many identities. Among them are butch and femme. Both identities date back to the beginning of the 20th century, and,—for the most part—are part of the lesbian and bisexual sub-culture. Both have taken on many definitions and in claiming either identity, each person has their own definition and reason for doing so.
Butch identified photographer, Wendi Kali, created the project after discovering the lack of current photographs of butches and femmes in today’s community while searching for her own identity in 2010.
“From the research I’ve done, I’ve discovered that there are many photos depicting those identities from the 50’s and 60’s, a few from the 70’s and even fewer from the 80’s and 90’s,” says Kali. “With this photo project I wish to build upon the history of butch and femme by adding photos of the people who claim those identities today. I hope to show how the identities have evolved by photographing the many unique and individual expressions of them.”
Two books that inspired this project the most are The Persistent Desire: A Femme-Butch Reader edited by Joan Nestle and Persistence: All Ways Butch And Femme edited by Ivan E. Coyote and Zena Sharman. Their words paint the story of not only how these identities came about, but also how they’ve remained a part of the community, how they are perceived today, and what they might look like. With this project Kali hopes to add photographs to those words.
For more information about the upcoming Butch/Femme Photo Project, visit http://butchfemmephotoproject.com/.