Femme Feature, Ali | Skater Queen
Welcome to Femme Features. Femme Features is a blog series featuring femmes from all nooks of the LGBTQIA community. These rocking folks are activists, educators, bosses, parents, entrepreneurs, and all sorts of amazing human beings. Join us as we explore femme identity as so much more than a label, but truly a way of life. You can check out all of our queer femme fashion, lifestyle, and activist profiles here.
Ali and I go as far back as my wife and previous Femme, Jennie. We all met the same day and never looked back! Talk about a stellar crew backing you, right? Anyway. Ali’s one of the coolest people I know. I mean, come on, girl does roller derby! Hence the setting of our shoot. When I heard she was going to be skating with the Windy City Rollers, I knew we were destined to set up one of these shoots. And now I’m so excited to introduce Ali!
My name is Ali Krouse (she / her / hers), your local roller derby lesbian, take-no-shit trans girl, and general queen.
I would describe my aesthetic as punk femme skater lesbian. I’m distinctly feminine, but in a way that tells society that I don’t care what it thinks of me. I want my look to say to people “Hello! I am a very pretty girl, I am extremely openly trans, and if you try to start shit with me I can and will take you out.”
I used to struggle with that idea of what femininity and being a woman is “supposed to be”. Right after I came out I immediately went out and bought skirts and tights and dresses and a lot of things that just… didn’t fit who I was. I tried to be what people expected me to be, and it just felt… off. It was more stereotypically feminine than I’d ever been, but it wasn’t me. It took me a while to realize that being that stereotypical femme woman just wasn’t who I was. I am an aggressively queer punk girl who never ever wants to hide my identity for the sake of making society more comfortable with me.
I wish people understood more that your femininity can be whatever you want it to be. The idea that femininity is one distinct thing and you have to wear all this makeup and sundresses and take certain roles and act a certain way is so harmful to so many people. I think trans women in particular get saddled with this unnecessary responsibility to do all this extra stuff so we can “pass as women” (which is bullshit but that’s for another time) and nobody will know that we’re trans, we’re constantly told how we should act and how we should dress if we want to be respected and it’s really very hurtful. I want more people to realize that femininity isn’t a box you have to push yourself into, it isn’t a box at all. You’re femininity can be anything you want it to be. I choose to express my femininity with torn jeans and tattoos and loud old punk music and a giant middle finger to society, because that’s the kind of woman I am. I want more people to be comfortable with being the kind of woman they are, and if society stops giving you respect for that, fucking take it anyway.
My identity and presentation is very important to how I interact with the world and the whole “take it anyway” attitude. Right now, society treats trans women like targets and victims. When I first came out, I let that get in my head and I treated myself like that a lot of the time. I made myself small and quiet and out of the way, hoping to be unremarkable and unseen just to avoid trouble. But that’s not how I want to live my life, and presenting myself as the badass skate punk queen I know I am has helped me a lot with being able to stand up for myself. Thanks to roller derby, I exist in a culture of loving supporting and extremely powerful women who have shown me that I can take up space and demand to be heard. I know I can take a hit and spring back up, so why should I avoid a fight when it’s my right to exist that’s on the line? Hell, a couple bruises and scrapes would go well with my patched up denim vest.
The point is, don’t let stereotypes define you. Make your femininity whatever you want it to be. Live loud, live proud, and if anyone tries to take you down for who you are don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself and hit back.
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