Contrary to popular narratives of “coming out,” understanding and accepting your queerness is an ongoing process for many people. Whether it’s the fact that “coming out” is something you feel you have to do every time you meet someone new or that your identity itself is shifting, there is no set version or “final reveal.” Instead, we have to find ways to understand ourselves and present that to each other in a way that reflects us at that moment. And style makes up a huge part of that equation.
The clothes we wear as queer people have no single meaning. They can be a way to show how we actively reject the world’s norms or the way we ensure our safety in a world that remains hostile to us. They can be how we affirm our gender expression or they can show how clothes have no inherent gender. They can be a loud statement about our sexuality or a subtle nod to no one but ourselves. But, while there is still danger in being publicly “other” for all queer people, especially those who are trans and gender-nonconforming, the outfits we wear have to negotiate the freedom of pride with the very real threat of violence. And in negotiating that balance, many of us find new ways to express ourselves.
To explore the ways that queerness is intertwined with the outfits we choose, we invited four people to share the outfit that, at this particular moment, speaks to their queerness and why.
For some, what we wear is as simple as this is who I am and this is what I want to wear, while for others, it is a constant negotiation between safety and self-expression. Queerness takes many forms and expressing it through our clothing can be a form of …read more