Happy Pride babes! It’s June, a month of reflection, gratitude, parties and protests. June is a time to thank the trail blazers that came before us and also an opportunity for self-reflection and discovery. At this time of year, a lot of my LGBTQIA+ siblings are doing their self-discovery on the dance floor, however, given that I am in the southern hemisphere and it is freezing cold outside, I choose to do my self-reflection on my bed while staring at my wardrobe. And what a wardrobe it is.
I have been an out and proud member of the LGBTQIA+ community for ten years now and over that time my sense of style and taste in fashion have changed dramatically. The changes are not only due to the evolution that one would expect with getting older but also reflect how comfortable I am in my body, with my gender expression and sexual orientation. I know, this Pride month, that my feeling of freedom and my ability to express myself however I feel comfortable comes from the love and acceptance that I have for myself but also from the love and acceptance that come from my community.
Buckle up, we’re going on a fashion journey.
When I look back on photos of me in my early twenties, I never wore pants. Not jeans, shorts, suit pants, leggings, none of it. In my early to mid-twenties, I wore rockabilly dresses almost exclusively because:
- I wasn’t comfortable with my belly and didn’t want to draw attention to my gut by wearing tight pants,
- I wanted to be seen as ‘feminine’ because I am a femme for butch queen, but also because society taught me that as a woman my job was to be feminine,
- I thought that’s what the ladies liked.
Now, ten years later, my fashion, my sense of style and my life look completely different.
I no longer conform to heteronormative ideals of what my life should look like. I don’t want children, I have no desire to get married and, aside from my need for physical touch, I’m not really fussed about being in a relationship.
I haven’t worn a rockabilly dress in years. I still think they're cute but these days you’re more likely to find me in jeans and a blazer than a rockabilly dress.
I learnt that what the ladies like is really none of my business because I'm too busy living my best.
For me, this is what happened when I simultaneously leaned into body positivity and being queer. I found freedom of self-expression, fashion and a love for my body.
Being Queer isn’t easy. Growing up in Australia, there is a lot of homophobia, there are people who don't understand, people who don’t want to understand and people who are just very nasty. But living in Melbourne, surrounded by my LGBQTIA+ family, I am so grateful for the support and the freedom to be able to express myself in any way I want. You can see this freedom reflected in my fashion choices.
Yes, during the week I rock the #yopro (young professional) look with my jeans, graphic tee and a blazer, but on the weekend I could be in a transparent bodysuit, I could be in leather pants and pasties or I could be wearing a total power suit. The point is that being Queer, going to Queer events, there is not ‘right way’ to dress. There are no ‘girls clothes’. There is just fashion.
One of my favourite things about the Queer community is that it is so body positive. My friends and love interests come in all shapes and sizes and I never feel self-conscious being scantily clad in a Queer space because I know that my community will accept me no matter my size. I’m not afraid of criticism or judgment because the most important thing is that you are true to yourself.
And in a world where I can walk in an see non-binary people wearing ball gowns, men rocking mini skirts and masc-lesbians strutting around in lumberjack attire, why would I opt for any other community?
The thing that the LGBTQIA+ community has taught me is that there is no one way to dress. You don’t need to ‘dress for your body shape’. And that gender norms should be thrown out the window because AMAB babes (assigned male at birth) look fantastic in mini skirts and heels and I love a butch babe in a suit.
I don’t know what kind of person I would be if I didn't discover the LGBTQIA+ community in Melbourne, but I can say that the acceptance and love of my friends has made me more comfortable in myself and my fashion than any partner ever has.
This is your sign to be free, to express yourself in whatever way makes you feel confident and to step into the rainbow. You are loved, you are valid and you are perfect just the way you are.