I Followed My Dream of Moving to California

**Don’t miss the video at the end of this post**

If I had a dime for every time someone has responded with “WOW, that must have been a HUGE cultural shock” or “OMG, that must have been SUCH a big change for you!” when I tell them that I moved from Indianapolis, Indiana to Los Angeles, California, I would be a …well not millionaire, but pretty damn close. Listen, Indianapolis has a current population of nearly 1 million people. I didn’t grow up shucking corn on a farm (although my Mom did)…I grew up in the suburbs of a metropolitan city.  Yes, Los Angeles is a much larger, more diverse, and more liberal city (which are exactly the reasons why I love it), but c’mon, I was not a country bumpkin that moved all wide eyed and “well, GOLL-Y” to the first big city that I ever visited.

Where everyone thinks I grew up when I say “Indiana:”

rural AF

Where I actually grew up:

I’m a city girl at heart. The sounds of sirens are like music to my ears.  OK, that might be a little aggressive, but I love everything about living in a big city.  Diversity, sightseeing, restaurants, lesbians, events, etc….just STUFF to do!  That being said, moving to LA was one of the most empowering and life changing events in my life.  This August will be my 5 year anniversary with the City of Angels and we are still going strong.

In 2012, after over a year of applying for countless jobs all over California, I finally landed an incredible medical sales job in LA. If you want to know more of the background about why and how I got a job in LA, check out my other post: Saying Yes; My Catalyst to Manifesting

But here’s the thing, I had never actually been to LA.  In fact, I had never been to Southern California at all.  I had always been in love with the San Francisco bay area and had visited there over a dozen times but had never ventured south.  This was mostly because I didn’t know anyone there!  So there I was, 27 years old, and about to move to a city that I had never visited and where I didn’t know anyone.  I had three weeks to find an apartment and move my entire life (including two exceptionally large cats) across the country.

Yep, exceptionally large:

During a quick weekend trip to LA and a whopping 2 days of apartment hunting, I found a super cute one bed/one bath in the gayborhood, West Hollywood. And, lucky for me, my younger brother’s common sense had not yet fully developed and he offered to drive my car with his girlfriend at the time (now wife) and my chunky fur babies on a 4 day cross country road trip. My bad ass sister in law, Katie, who is a much better writer that I, wrote this amazing PUBLISHED short story about her experience on this adventure: What Cheeseburgers Look Like in Kansas.  I don’t want to give too much away but as it turns out, cats do not make ideal road trip companions. I also now know how to purchase a new car in the state of Utah over the phone.  Fun times.  Read the story, thank me later.

Starting from scratch in a new city is both terrifying and exciting.  Have you ever dreamed about dropping everything, moving away and just starting over in a new city, state, or country? Samsies.  Well, I did it, and it was incredible.  I feel like everyone at some point in their life should CREATE the opportunity to reinvent themselves in a new environment.  Not become someone new, but be in a situation where you are vulnerable and introduce yourself to people intentionally as the most true version of you.  It is in those vulnerable situations where you learn so much about yourself.  There were definitely moments of loneliness and pang of homesickness. Many bottles of wine and pints of ice cream were consumed  while “netflixing and chilling” with my cats before I developed a support system in my new city.

Take a trip alone, do that one thing you have always been wanting to do.  Start working on that bucket list that you keep adding to but never cross anything off. Stop making excuses to yourself about why now isn’t a good time.  You just need to save up a little money.  Just stop.  If I had allowed myself to do this…I would still be sitting in a cubicle in Indiana, hating my life.  Not because my life would actually be terrible but because I would KNOW on the inside that I was destined for something different but that I was too scared to make the leap and go for it.  You Know what I mean.. That feeling on the inside that you would just MEANT to be.

Los Angeles is my home now.  I feel grateful every single day for the amazing people I have met and the incredible experiences this city has provided.  This Indiana girl won’t be moving home anytime soon.

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