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Femme Problems 138: Femme at the Gym

Two women in locker room, femme problems

As we jump into a new year full of new resolutions, for many of us, it is time to hit the gym.

Being a feminine lesbian at the gym is an experience all its own. It seems that we are constantly avoiding eye-to-chest contact, thwarting off straight guy advances and trying to get our fellow gym gays to notice that we exist.

First, there is the fabulously awkward locker room. Though our butch and transgender counterparts have their own locker room struggles, we femmes tend to be stuck with the feeling of being a creepy fly on the wall. Though we have no interest or intention of watching women undress, being in a room full of women doing so—without being an “obvious lesbian”—makes us feel a little intrusive or like we should make some sort of announcement just to make sure everyone is on the same page.

Next, the actual work out area itself can be a struggle. Nothing makes a femme feel invisible like being surrounded by gay muscle daddies and butch lesbians and not being able to let them know we are family. No matter how many HRC or Pride shirts we wear, we always seem to go unnoticed.

Gyms are also the quintessential cruising spot for people of all sexualities. However, instead of getting that hot girl lifting weights to notice us, we seem to be a magnet for straight dudes. Nothing says “come talk to me” like avoiding eye contact. And as any femme can tell you, a simple “I’m sorry, I’m a lesbian.” will almost always be misheard as, “I’m into chicks too and if you keep trying, you will be able to date me and we will have threesomes.” Is there not some gay bat signal we can send out for back up?

Let’s say we ditch the traditional gym and decide to get a little sexy with our work out this year. Perhaps we decide to finally try that pole-dancing studio by the office. First, I can say from experience that this is a very distracting workout. Trying to focus on what you are doing while there are minimally dressed women all around you swinging seductively on poles will be the ultimate test of concentration.

Not to mention, when we do make a friend, without fail, they will ask us to come over and help them with some sexual, legs-in-the-air pole move. Should we tell them we are gay? Should we say no or have we already ventured too far into their personal space to go back now?

The gym is a vulnerable place for anyone and though sexuality should not matter, it constantly has us overthinking visibility and boundaries. So this year, as you venture into your new workout, know that you are not alone. Keep going. A stronger and healthier you, no matter how many hilarious and awkward moments you experience to get there, will be the ultimate reward at the end of a successful new year.