I’m not sure when it happened, but as far as I can remember, I had always been in love with women’s clothing. The designs. The colors. The options. My god, the OPTIONS! Heels, dresses, lingerie… I want them all!
There is something incredibly empowering when your put on that top that fits so right, when you slip into those perfect heels in the perfect color, when that jeans puts all the right curves in all the right places. It just feels RIGHT.
When I first started transitioning, wearing women’s clothing was a way of both affirming my gender identity and easing my gender dysphoria. It was representation of the thing I thought I had wanted most: “If I dress like a woman, maybe they’ll treat me like one”. At the time, my sense of being womxn was so intimately tied to how I presented to the world, and how other people responded to that presentation.
It very quickly became apparent that society had a profound distaste and intolerance for those who didn’t fit the gender binary, for those who were “other”. And they made me feel it. They still do. It’s the tactic bullies have been using since the beginning of time — they take away your agency, your power, by making you feel small, by making you feel that there is something wrong with you. Needless to say, this is incredibly destructive to one’s mental and psychological health, and so it became incredibly important to develop ways and means of coping with these micro- and macro-aggressions.
For me, personally, I function best when I’m able to talk about things out loud, when I’m able to bounce ideas off of other people. So I needed to have someone who could listen and responded without judgment. That was so important to me. However, that was MY way of processing. Other people are different, and so It’s important to find constructive methods that work for YOU, personally, because everyone processes and deals with things differently.
This leads me to the question I’m forced to contemplate every morning before I get dressed…
“What do I wear?”
Because on the one hand, these films of cotton and polyester represent a unshackling from my dysphoria and an affirmation of my identity; but in a whirlwind of contradiction, these can also incite harassment and/or violence toward you. And the threat of danger is very real. I never know if today I’ll get assaulted in the bathroom or killed outside the pub; just for being who I am.
It’s a scary thought, but an even more terrifying reality.
That said, I can’t begin to describe the utter joy I feel when putting on that lace up bodysuit, that little black cocktail dress, or that new secret something I bought at La Senza.
There is power and confidence in what you choose to wear. But there is also a truth and liberation in understanding and owning your inner power and having confidence in your self. And choosing that everyday is, although difficult, what helps me wear my inner closet on the outside.