6 Things About Me That Have Nothing to Do With Being Gay

Lesbians: We’re Just Like You

My Dad called me the other day to tell me that while he loves my blog posts and YouTube videos, he thinks that there is a lot more about me that is interesting other than the fact that I am a lesbian.  He makes a good point!  So here I am – writing a blog and making a video about something other than “gay stuff.”

I honestly didn’t know how to pick a topic for this post/video at first because there are so many things that I am passionate about and things that I could share.  So, instead of picking one, I decided to talk briefly about 6 things that I think are cool and interesting about me.  I am just Your Friendly Neighborhood Lesbian, after all.

Don’t miss the video that I made about these 6 things at the bottom of this post 🙂

1. I am a certified Scuba Diver

Best.Hobby.Ever.  Seriously, every time I go diving I contemplate all of my life decisions and temporarily convince myself that I should move to a tropical island and become a dive master.  My Grandfather, Dad, and brother are all certified and have been diving for years so I guess it runs in the family.  I finally got certified in 2011 and I am so glad that I did.  So far I have been diving in a lake in Indiana (where I got certified), Key West, Australia, Belize, and Cabo.  My next trip is to Costa Rica in November so expect some amazing underwater go pro videos!

2. I speak Italian

Or at least, I did. I cannot believe it has been 10 years since I studied abroad in Florence, Italy and fell in love with the city, country, and the people.  Actually, after digging up these old pics and seeing what I used to look like, I can believe that it has been 10 years.

Like millions of other American students, I spent a semester studying abroad during my junior year of college.  Only, I was determined to go back…and I did.  I returned to Florence a few months after my study abroad semester ended to complete my degree required internship.  This time I lived alone while working the front desk/concierge at a luxury hotel in the middle of Florence.  I was the only American working at the entire hotel which allowed for a complete language immersion.  Man, it was so brutal at first. Going from only hearing Italian in a classroom to being forced to use it every day in real life.  At the grocery, the train station, with my colleagues…it was terrifying and exhilarating at the same time.  By the time my four month internship ended, I was pretty damn proficient at understanding and speaking the Italian language.

Turns out, not so many people in the US speak Italian so I have not had much practice since then.  I am rusty as hell but one day I am going to get back on the horse and re-learn the language.  When I buy my house on Lake Como, obviously.

3. I was a Tourism Management major in college

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Yes, that is an actual major.  Really, it was hospitality management.  But, more importantly, it just sounded fun and there was a ferris wheel on the brochure that I stumbled upon in the guidance counselor’s office.  Studying about travel?  Sign me up.  Most people went on to work in hotels or on cruises.  I just wanted a way to move back to Italy or travel as much as possible working for a tour company. Neither of those things happened for me (not for lack of trying) and I ended up working as an event manager for Marriott for 5 years after college. But don’t quit your dreams kids because that is not where my story ends, obviously!

4. Yep, I was a sorority girl

Girl, I know.  I lived in a huge mansion with 97 other girls in the Theta house at Indiana University for 3 years.  Man, we made some great memories and also killed a lot of brain cells.  I was clueless about my sexuality in college. I really just thought that I hadn’t met the right guy yet. If only I had known…

Also, if you can’t pick me out of these pictures….good.

5. I love reading

I am especially obsessed with motivational books (I refuse to call them “self help” books).  The Jen Sincero book in the picture above was pretty life changing for me.  I am also currently reading The Desire Map by Danielle LaPorte.  Do yourself a favor and read these books.  I never used to be a big reader but I swear that after I turned 30, I became a huge nerd.  I actually look forward to Sunday afternoons with just my tiny dog and a good book. Step aside Netflix.

6. I have been single AF for 3 years

For the first six years of my “out” life, I pretty much went from one serious relationship to another with barely enough time to come up for air in between.  But times have changed and this girl has growed up (yes I meant to say growed even though it is not an actual word).   I have dated girls in the past three years but I have not actually been in a relationship.  I think there is something really special about enjoying your own company and feeling completely comfortable being “alone.”  I am not sure why people have such a need to always been in a relationship.  Some people deal with loneliness and insecurity when single.  I get that but if you can’t be a solid happy human when it just you then how can you be one in a relationship?  You are more likely to define who you are by who you are with and the role that you play in that relationship.  I don’t think that ever leads to a truly healthy partnership.

Anyway, enough making excuses for why I am single.  It has been an amazing experience getting to know myself but I am also completely open and willing to meet someone if the universe delivers.  I hope that happens one day because I am going to be a killer partner.

Check out my video to see my chat about these 6 things:

That’s all for now, thanks for reading!

XO Liz Baxter – Your Friendly Neighborhood Lesbian

Follow me on:
IG: @LizBinLA

Twitter: @LizBinLA 

YouTube: Liz Baxter

Lipstick Lesbian Chronicles – My YouTube Series

Well, I did it. I recently joined the ranks of lesbian YouTubers.  It has been fun so far and I can now add “iMovie editing” as a skill on my resume.  Part of my YouTube channel is a regular series called “Lipstick Lesbian Chronicles” where I address issues specific to femme/lipstick lesbians.

You can expect humor, insight, vulnerability, and plenty of sarcasm in my videos.

Check out my new video below and subscribe to my channel to see more. 🙂

As always, thank you for supporting Your Friendly Neighborhood Lesbian,

XO Liz Baxter

Follow me on:
IG: @LizBinLA

Twitter: @LizBinLA 

YouTube: Liz Baxter

What’s the Beef with “Lipstick Lesbians?”

Apparently I have a lot of opinions because I wrote another opinion piece that was published this week.  This time for the lesbian focused website AfterEllen.

Check out my thoughts below on the term “lipstick lesbian” and how feminine lesbians are viewed by other queer women.  Also, scroll all the way to the bottom for a YouTube Video that I made as a continuation.


I despise the term “lipstick lesbian”. The term feels dismissive of lesbians who like to brush their eyelashes with mascara and paint their lips. Yes, I care about my personal appearance: I wear makeup–even lipstick–and style my hair. Yes, I work out and have a fit body. I am an attractive, sexy lesbian.  Why does that make it seem as though my sexuality is open for debate?

The straight community uses the term “lipstick lesbian” to label girly-girl lesbians who don’t fit their preconceived idea of a run-of-the-mill lesbo  If uttered by a lesbian, the phrase is usually smothered with Hidden Valley’s Disdain Dressing. I tend to use the designation “femme,” because I consider myself feminine and lesbian… a concept that shouldn’t be too complex to grasp. I have noticed also that this term has less stigma attached. The only problem is that I have experienced an assumption that femme lesbians are only attracted to masculine or butch lesbians. Conversely, lipstick lesbians are assumed to only be attracted to other lipsticks. But, it isn’t that simple. I am a femme lesbian that is sometimes attracted to other femmes and sometimes butchier. I shouldn’t be put into a box, where I can only find one type of physicality attractive. So, stop trying to put Baby in the corner!

Wikipedia states that lipstick and femme are interchangeable.  Also, they had some interesting history about the origin of the term “lipstick lesbian”. The first recorded usage was in 1982 when Priscilla Rhoades, a journalist, wrote a feature story called “Lesbians for Lipstick” in The Sentinel, a gay publication.  Later, in 1997, an episode of the sitcom Ellen made the term mainstream after she explained it and called herself a “chapstick lesbian”.  Ellen is the gay Oprah, and we should all bow down as we dance with her.

I digress…Every femme/lipstick knows the perks and downsides of being a pretty and “straight-looking” lesbian in the eyes of the general public.  Our sexuality is merely a turn on for many straight men and we are constantly having to come out to everyone. We have heard and read about these topics before.  But, what I want to address is the loathing that comes from within the lesbian community directed at lipsticks/femme/highly feminine ladies.  Make no mistake about it…lesbians have a beef with lipsticks!

Believe me when I say that I, and all femme lesbians, are actual lesbians…like for real.  We’re not closeted dick lovers waiting for the chance to slide back into the ease of the heterosexual norm the minute things get rough. There is an assumption that lipstick lesbians tolerate or need attention from men, affirming our desire to be attractive in the traditional, heterosexual sense.  Just because we are assumed straight and get more attention from men, doesn’t mean that we welcome it!  In fact, we are more likely to be sexually harassed. Also, if we say we are gay, that doesn’t mean bisexual… or that we will end up with a guy (particularly if we have ever dated men in the past).  Bisexuality is an actual separate identity.  There needs to be respect for that and the fact that attractive, feminine lesbians do not go hand-in-hand with bisexuality.  When I say I am a lesbian, don’t respond with, “are you sure you aren’t bi?”, “but you are so girly!”, or “maybe you just haven’t met the right guy yet!”

A few months ago, when I went back to my hometown in Indiana for a friend’s wedding, my friends and I found ourselves at a popular gay club after the reception. I was in a dress and heels and was thrown some major shade when I walked in the door. They thought I was straight and crashing their lesbo party.  Like “do you know where you are?!”  or maybe she is just a “fag hag” – another offensive label that we place on others.  In fact, a young gay man approached me that night and asked me if I was bisexual.  I said “no.”  He said, “Aw too bad, my friend thinks you are cute” – pointing to a girl in jeans and a backwards hat.  I politely told him that while I am not bi, I am a lesbian and if his friend thinks I am cute, maybe she should come talk to me herself (ok, I can be bitchy).

It’s almost like others lesbians think that femmes/lipsticks aren’t lesbian enough.  Like maybe we are dressing up to conceal our gayness, as if lipstick is camouflage.  Or maybe it’s that they don’t think we are a reflection of the vast majority of lesbians. And when two femmes/lipsticks date each other, the contempt intensifies.  But why?  The feeling I get is that there is a perceived “holier than thou” complex and the thought that a lipstick won’t date anyone that isn’t as “girly” or “pretty”.

Don’t get me wrong; I understand that some of the resentment may come from the fact that the general population finds it easier to tolerate lipstick lesbians…probably because they don’t look like lesbians.  Unfortunately, I too fall into the trap of stereotyping. Butch, soft butch, stone butch, bull dyke, stem, stud, boi, chapstick lesbian, sporty femme, femme, lipstick, doily dyke.  An image formed from preconceived notions manifests in my head for each of these terms. Lesbians aren’t immune to internalizing the gendered stigma and misogyny that runs rampant in our patriarchal world. Lipstick lesbians get hit on by women in the same fashion as they do by straight men.  The “love” side of love-hate sometimes looks like licking lips and raunchy and overly forward commentary.   Why is it that these derogatory comments primarily target lipstick lesbians?  And why is that seemingly accepted?  

Communities tend to latch onto traditional roles; a distinct separation between masculine and feminine. So, if you completely embrace the traditional femininity, you couldn’t possibly embrace the masculine.  

A scene from season 5 of Orange is the New Black is case and point:

Piper’s Mom – “ I always thought you would be the girl in the relationship but I guess there was always a healthy dose of testosterone in you so I shouldn’t be surprised.”

Piper – “Two steps forward and one step back but we are making progress.”

As a femme, I can only speak from experience.  No one lesbian can represent or be a reflection all 50 shades of lesbianism, and I hope we start embracing that.  We are all gay. Femme lezzies are card carrying lesbians too.

Maybe I have it wrong…maybe I shouldn’t hate the term lipstick just because others diminish it?  Maybe this means that we should embrace it even more. Just as the word “queer” has been reclaimed as inclusive and “bitch” as empowering, maybe we take back ownership of “lipstick lesbian”, redefining it’s meaning.  I am proud to be a lipstick lesbian, dammit.  We can be sexy, gay, and strong ass women..all at the same time.  

Full Article on AfterEllen

XO Liz Baxter – Your Friendly Neighborhood Lesbian

Follow me on:
IG: @LizBinLA

Twitter: @LizBinLA 

YouTube: Liz Baxter

My Experience Being a Lesbian on FOX’s Love Connection

Well, that’s a wrap and what a ride it has been!  A little over a week ago, FOX’s Love Connection with Andy Cohen aired an episode featuring lesbians looking for love featuring yours truly.  It was such an incredible and empowering experience.  The support I received from my friends and family was unreal and the reaction from the media and strangers (I received many awesome messages) was also overwhelmingly positive.  If you missed the episode, check it out here:

Episode #8 (second half):

Watch the Episode

Also, I wrote some words (AKA a Commentary) for The Advocate that was recently published and summarized my feelings about this entire experience.  Please take the time to read below.  Also, don’t miss the recap video that I made with Alison (if you are wondering who Alison is, WATCH THE DAMN EPISODE, YO!) at the end of this post.

My Words for the Advocate:

When I was asked to be a contestant on Love Connection’s first lesbian episode, I said, “No. Hell, no.”

I have a corporate job and a conservative family, and the thought of potentially embarrassing my family and my vulnerable self on national television wasn’t appealing. But after I weighed my potential connection to the show against the many opinions of family and friends, I had a revelation: This was bigger than me and more important than any concern or criticism.

I was 23 when I realized I was gay. Many people say they knew they were queer long before they identified as such, but this was not the case for me. Sometimes I wonder, If I had been more exposed to different types of queer women at an earlier age, would it have been different for me?

The L Word is arguably the most successful lesbian-focused show ever aired (and it’s coming back!) and set the bar high with its six-season run. I only wish that the show had been around sooner, so young women like me could have access to a world where there isn’t a singular definition of a lesbian.

I am only one small piece of an enormous community. The LGBTQ demographic, like any other, is created by people of diverse ethnic, racial, and socio-economic backgrounds, with countless interpretations of beauty. Yet human nature encourages the impulse to seek out films and television shows that mirror what we look and act like. The media routinely mirrors heterosexual norms, which breeds ignorance and trivializes those who do not identify with the mainstream. Exposure to the LGBTQ community gives a tiny morsel of knowledge to those who don’t experience out LGBTQ people in their everyday lives.

Commonalities are the ties that bind us. I am a kindhearted queer person who wants to love and be loved. How relatable is that? The Love Connection episode that focuses on single queer women lends the LGBTQ community a platform to be seen not as “other,” but as relatable people — just like a friendly neighbor.

Maybe a mom will see me and the other amazing women on the episode and realize we aren’t any different from her daughter or herself. Perhaps she’ll have her own revelation, seeing that the portrayals of lesbians in popular culture are skewed and inaccurate. Queer women are not going through “a phase.” Lesbians are not bored heterosexuals. Maybe a parent who has an LGBTQ child — who just came out or has yet to — will now have a more informed and hopeful perspective. And they’ll feel more at ease because they know there are other people out there like their child. A mom or dad will be comforted knowing their daughter or son is and will be OK. Maybe someone who is in the closet, struggling and suffering, will see this episode and no longer feel alone.

As I reflect on my hilarious experiences filming Love Connection, I feel nothing but gratitude to be on the first queer women episode of that show. A Fox prime-time dating show, based on one that produced over 2,100 heterosexual episodes, will have its first lesbian seeking love. It’is more important now than ever for television and the media at large to continue the normalization of all LGBTQ individuals. People relate to people, not labels.

Link to the Commentary: The Advocate

Check out the Recap Video I made with Alison:

Also, peep my other videos and follow my YouTube channel here: Liz Baxter YouTube

More to come, this is just the beginning for me. 🙂

XOXO

Liz Baxter

Your Friendly Neighborhood Lesbian

Follow me on:
IG: @LizBinLA

Twitter: @LizBinLA 

YouTube: Liz Baxter

Today there will be Lesbians on Love Connection with Andy Cohen

Holy Cannoli, today is the day!  I am both nervous and excited!  Tonight at 9:00pm on FOX, the Love Connection with Andy Cohen will make history by airing the first ever gay or lesbian episode. I made a quick video yesterday about how I was feeling (spoiler, I was kind of freaking out):

Also, check out my media page to watch my live interview on KTLA from yesterday and listen to my radio appearance on Andy Cohen’s SiriusXM Radio show (Channel 102) earlier this week: https://yourfriendlyneighborhoodlesbian.com/liz-baxter-lesbian-media-love-connection/

I seriously cannot thank everyone enough for all of the AMAZING support!  I have been feeling so much love from friends, family, and strangers…my heart is so full.  I hope that you all enjoy the episode and I will be writing more about the whole experience soon.  ALSO, I will be making a YouTube video with one of the amazing women that I met on the show so follow my YouTube Channel if you don’t already.

Love you all!! XO

Liz Baxter

Follow me on:
IG: @LizBinLA

Twitter: @LizBinLA 

YouTube: Liz Baxter

Turns out…I’m Gay AF

Coming out – 9 years later

At 23 years old, I literally woke up one morning and thought, “Holy shit, I am gay.” Seriously, it was so clear in my head that I almost uttered those words out loud. The night before I met up with a friend from high school that I had fallen out of touch with, had a lot to drink, ended up at a gay bar for the first time in my life, and made out with a super cute blonde girl. I kissed a girl and I liked it…Yep, I’m gay.

Although the thought had briefly entered my mind before (but I quickly dismissed because I would not imagine myself sexually with another woman, ick – HA!), I really had not figured it out until this day. I always dated men and I liked a lot of them but there was always a missing element. Butterflies. You know!? I had never felt butterflies from a guy. I just thought I hadn’t met the right one yet. Turns out….
So many people say that they knew they were gay long before they identified as such but this was not the case with me. I had close relationships with other girls/women but nothing ever felt like a sexual connection. Until it did…and the fog immediately lifted.

It actually felt damn good because things finally made sense in my head. This moment of bliss ended quickly because I started to think about the reality of the situation. Telling my friends and family and the rest of the world…wahhhhhhh. Nope.

It was 2008, a year after I graduated college and I had figured out I was gay. Within about a day I had my first girlfriend (obvs). I started leading a double life from that moment.

In my new lesbian life, I had almost all lesbian friends and was out and proud! I went to gay and lezzie bars on the regular, marched in the Pride parade, and I COULD NOT GET ENOUGH. It was so much damn fun. It was a rebirth of sorts and it felt freaking amazing. My life the way it was before, continued as normal…sort of. I did not tell any of my family, friends, or colleagues about my revelation… For a really long time. I told one or 2 people about 6 months to a year later but it was not widely known that I was gay for another 3 to 4 years.  I was fearful and ashamed.  Ever heard of the term “self-loathing homophobe?”  That was me.  I didn’t like the label or what people might think of me so I just avoided telling people.  Which meant a lot of lies.  I can only imagine that the suspicions were alive and well as I started to change the way I dressed. I mean…I wore vests and a silver wallet chain on the regular.  And you remember Zumiez, the mall skater shop?  I was a regular. *Gay AF*

Examples A & B:

 

I distanced myself from previous friends and kept my new friends away from my family. It felt so much easier to be myself with my new friends instead of explaining to everyone who had known me for years that I had been lying to them for my entire life and that I am actually someone completely different from who I had sold them on…or at least this is how I felt. I didn’t necessarily feel that people would reject me, I just felt like people wouldn’t understand…that this would be so out of the blue for everyone. And that it would be a disappointment. I underestimated good people in my life because the fear and guilt was so freaking huge.

THANKS CATHOLIC UPBRINGING, THANKS A LOT. *insert sarcastic tone*

To this day, there are friendships that I have never recovered…not because they found out I was gay and didn’t want to be my friend but because I distanced myself for so long that our lives went on in different directions. I feel sad for those friendships and those years that I led a double life. I could not have imagined at the time how good things would be “on the other side.” Things are so ridiculously good right now and I have so many wonderful and supportive people in my life that I can’t imagine feeling any type of fear telling someone that I am gay. It definitely helps that I moved to Los Angeles from Indianapolis 4.5 years ago. When I moved here, no one knew me before so it was a clean slate and I was not afraid to fly the rainbow flag. Ain’t no way I was going to put myself in the awkward position of staying in the closet again. Being femme, people don’t know or assume that I am gay…so I have to tell them. So I quickly got a lot of practice at “coming out” to people. It wasn’t the first thing that I told/tell people but as a single, good looking (or at least I would like to think), girl in her late 20s, it didn’t take long for people to ask if I was married or have a boyfriend.

Them – “Are you married or do you have a boyfriend??”

Me – “Nope.”

Them – “Oh I should set you up with so and so.” or “what is your type in men?”

Me “Oh actually I don’t date men”….*Silence*

Them – “Oh. Well, do you have a girlfriend?” *exhale.*

That’s literally about how it went and still goes pretty much everytime I meet someone new.

Sometimes I forget about how hard the first few years were (thank you to my therapist for recently reminding me)…not because of how other people treated be but because of how much fear and shame ruled my life. Fear of disappointing people that I loved and and shame that I would never be the person that my family had dreamed I would be. In reality, none of my friends gave a shit and my family warmed up to the lesbian daughter idea quicker than I would have anticipated. I can’t say that my Mom was or is particularly thrilled but for the most part I believe that if I am happy, she is happy. And THANK YOU DAD for being amazing when I was scared shitless.
I am now out and proud, on the other side, and i’ll be damned but it did get better! So much better…

XO Liz Baxter

Follow me on:
IG: @LizBinLA

Twitter: @LizBinLA 

YouTube: Liz Baxter