Lazerr: "Leaning on some other discriminations laws doesn't do what we want, which is to be completely able to freely wear what we want,"
Depending on how narrowly the terms are defined. Oregon's and several other states' anti-discrimination laws not only protect sexual orientation but also gender expression.
More to the point, even where only people who fit into the categories of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgendered are protected we still benefit, because LGBT people have demonstrated that people who do not fit the Gender Binary, and that includes us, are good people too. Remember, 10 years before the Supreme Court ruled that same sex marriages were legal throughout the country, only 25% of the general public supported that idea; by the time the Supreme Court made their ruling, only 25% opposed it.
Up to about 2005, I was an active crossdresser. I went out in public in dresses, full female undergarments, padding, wig and concealing makeup. I altered my voice, went by a feminine name and changed the way I walked and carried myself so that, to the best of my ability, I appeared to be a woman. It took joining a crossdressing club to give me the courage to do so. One of the last times I went to one of the meetings, about 2005, I went in a skirted suit with a double-breasted jacket that I could button on the men's side that had been altered to fit my unpadded male body. For that meeting I had dispensed with my wig, makeup and padding and wore a man's dress shirt and tie. In short, I was presenting myself as a male in a skirt in as masculine a fashion as I could think of.
And I was universally mocked by my fellow crossdressers.
Ten years later I went to church in a sweaterdress, hose and heels and was warmly embraced by the other members of my congregation, only a very few of whom were in any of the LGBTQ categories. While I was doing my damnedest to fit the standard male mold, the world had changed. It wasn't because noticeable numbers of otherwise ordinary men had started wearing skirts and dresses in public, it was because the other varieties of LGBTQ people had stood up and demanded to be treated like everyone else. When people realized they were their friends, neighbors, kids and other relatives, the world turned. In short, they fought for our freedom as well as their own.
Now their movement calls itself the Pride Movement; that is, whoever or whatever you are, you should stand tall and be proud of yourself. And people should accept you as a fellow and equal human being. Like all rights movements they also recognize that an attack on one is an attack on all. By getting legal protections for the nonconforming people in the catchall Q category, they stood up for us before the vast majority of us stood up for ourselves. Consequently, even though Q stands for Queer -- meaning different, not necessarily gay -- I feel our first step should be to embrace that label (Believe me, I know that isn't easy, I still struggle with that!) and make common cause with those who are openly and unabashedly LGBTQ.
I'm NOT saying any of us are necessarily gay -- I certainly know that I am not -- but I am saying, as I have before, that our masculinity is augmented by a healthy dose of femininity or else we wouldn't be drawn to the clothes we all love. There's nothing wrong and everything right about flipping that mental switch.
Among the things that are toxic about the common American definition of masculinity is the insistence that men are allowed only one emotion, ANGER, which by the way is always a secondary emotion, and MAYBE some love toward our family members, … but don't be mushy about it! Because just as big boys don't cry, they don't care for mush either.
So PLEASE, stop denying your genuine selves! Stop looking for the right time and place to wear your skirt in public, with the exception of work, and just do it!
Assuming you need your paycheck, don't bet it on the impulse to wear a skirt to work, go through channels and ask permission. If you're afraid that's being too much of a wimp, compare my experience on the job to Kilty's. Keep in mind that we were both temporaries, who are the very definition of expendables. By showing up to work most days in a dress I normalized the idea of men wearing dresses to work.
If I hadn't gone through channels and just shown up, there probably wouldn't have been an overt problem, but even if I made it to the end of my contract, I probably would have given a lot of people the impression that men like ourselves are self-important jerks who impose their druthers on everyone else.
Last edited by Pdxfashionpioneer
on Fri Nov 09, 2018 11:21 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.