Let's see, where to begin without slipping down the rabbit hole of politics? Dan, to some extent this discussion is political. In the broader sense, that is; namely, what are the forces that impinge on us when we wear dresses in public while presenting ourselves as males? Twenty years ago I would have agreed with many of you that it was the anithesis of a good idea. Today, as I go about my daily business as a male in a dress, with heels and hose no less, I am fully accepted for who and what I am, a heterosexual male in a dress. (I refer any of you with any doubts about any of those elements of my self-description to Oldsalt1's thread on "the most manly thing you have done in a skirt.") As Moonshadow pointed out, we have the
gay liberation pride movement to thank for that. That movement marks its beginning with the Stonewall Riots that were initated by the drag queens who decided they were mad as hell at the way the police treated them and weren't going to take it any more.
It's now referred to as the Pride Movement because it keeps including more and more types of people, including us hetero men in skirts. Brace yourselves gentlemen, as I've said before we fall under the "Q" category. And no Carl, it's not the meaning of "Queer" that was in use by the time you came of age. "Queer" has been reclaimed by the Millennials who have restored it to something like it's original meaning of 'strikingly or strangely unusual' without any judgement being applied to that description. In the context of the current alphabet soup of LGBTQA*, the Q is best thought of as the "Miscellaneous" or "Not Easy to Classify" group. (A is for Ally.)
Some of you may be more comfortable thinking about yourself as covered by the "+" that some add to this collective. The plus sign encompasses those folks who acknowledge they don't fit the norms of the gender binary, but don't feel they fit into any of the other categories either. Does that work better for those of you who don't like labels?
Ralph, let me start by thanking you for blazing the trail so long ago. Let me also assure you that I'm not treated as a freak or a joke. Just this evening I went to my Miata club's monthly dinner meeting in a red mini skirt, black shirt and red high-heeled pumps. Before I left, my next door neighbor stopped by to talk about the logistics of her lending her garage to me. About the middle of the conversation she said, "You look so cute!!" when she noticed my skirt and shoes.
Consequently, I arrived late, so I had to find an open seat at one of the tables. When I asked if I could join a table full of folks I didn't recognize, they were more than happy to have me join them. And we had a great time together.
At a lull in the meeting, I got into a conversation with a female friend of mine at another table. She opened the conversation with how great she thought the color of my skirt was. I explained that I dressed to match my car, black top and red below. After the meeting, a gentlemen I didn't know made a point of telling me, with a warm smile, that I have "nice legs!"
What I'm trying to say is, a lot has changed in the last 10 years and that attitude is everything. I'm comfortable with me and my clothing choices and so is everyone else. I know that I'm working off of very limited information here and that it's always hard to put our past behind ourselves; but, I wonder if some of the reactions you receive these days are triggered by your own feelings and that if you could stifle your apprehensions, that things might go better for you.
So to specifically address Weeladdie's original question, I wear dresses in public several times a week and I'm treated great! If anyone takes me for gay or trans, they haven't told me about it or treated me poorly for it. Only twice in 3 1/2 years has anyone called me "ma'am" instead of "sir." (Just last night another store clerk made that mistake, this time at Walmart. Kind of figures, doesn't it?)
As to the true nature of the US, I feel it's best to keep in mind that another name for our system of government is "The American Experiment" and that no less of an intellect and wise man as Abraham Lincoln in the depths of our Civil War that was being fought over the question of slavery felt that the US was "the last, best hope for mankind." In short, our country is and always has been a work in progress and that our ideals have always been aspirational -- the man who wrote "all men are created equal" into our Declaration of Independence was a slaveowner -- and probably always will be. But both legally and socially we keep getting closer to living up to the promises our Founding Fathers made.
*I just learned it's now "LGBTQ2SIA+." Translation: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered, Queer, Two Spirit, Intersexed, Ally. "+" means 'Everyone else who doesn't identify with the gender binary but don't feel they belong in another category.' Try saying that even once quickly. I wouldn't even try saying the initials quickly.
Last edited by Pdxfashionpioneer
on Thu Jan 17, 2019 11:49 am, edited 1 time in total.
David, the PDX Fashion Pioneer
Social norms aren't changed by Congress or Parliament; they're changed by a sufficient number of people ignoring the existing ones and publicly practicing new ones.