What Is a Stem Gay?
The term stem, short for stud-femme, describes a gender identity within the LGBTQ community that combines feminine appearance with masculine roles in relationships. It rejects binary gender norms and celebrates the freedom to express oneself in a way that feels authentic for an individual. While stems may face challenges and discrimination, it is essential to recognize them as a unique expression of gender and strive for greater inclusivity of all queer identities.
While some people may confuse a stem with a tomboy, it is important to remember that a stem is a racially-specific label that only applies to Black and Latinx LGBTQ women. Those who are white and identify as a stem would more accurately be described as soft butch or futch, which are gender-neutral terms that describe a cross between butch and femme.
A stem lesbian, or a stem girl, is a woman who has masculine traits and femininity and usually dates other women. They can wear skirts and dresses and care immensely about their physical appearance. Unlike studs, they don’t have the stereotypical “boyish” features and tend to be more “girlish.” Stems can use either he/him or she/her pronouns and often prefer to be referred to as a she.
As societal attitudes towards gender expression evolve, more individuals are embracing their stem identities. It’s essential to acknowledge the diversity of LGBTQ identities and continue to fight for greater inclusivity in order to create a more equitable society. Fortunately, stems can find support and community through various LGBTQ+ organizations and support groups that provide advocacy, mental health services, educational resources, and more.