Crossdressing As Art

Valkyrie Shirt by Rayne's Avante-Garde
Article By E.S. Wynn

I am a creator. I love art, and I am always looking for new places and new ways to express myself artistically. I love the act of creation, the ways that the spirit can express itself in color, sound, rhythm and through the use of tools of all varieties and kinds. I am a creator. For me, art is a freeing, deeply spiritual pursuit, a way to make so much good with beauty, with dissonance, with contrast, connection, and with everything in between.

It may come as no surprise then that when I am faced with a form of art that is marked as taboo for no sensible reason at all, I find myself inclined to explore it, to hone it, and to develop my own expression of it.

So it has been with crossdressing.

As I have stated in previous posts, I don't need female clothing to feel like a woman. I was born feeling this way, and I'll probably die feeling this way. It's been a part of who I am, constant and unchanging despite what I might wear or do. I don't crossdress out of fetish or out of a desire to attract the male gaze. I crossdress primarily for the art of it, with an eye toward activism, toward visibility, and toward making the world a safer place for transgender people, no matter where we fall on the spectrum.

When I crossdress, when I work on my art attire, my "Ellie Gear," I work at creating a character, in a sense. I craft an external representation of the woman I am inside, or would be, constantly, had I been born female. I observe, I dream, I extrapolate, borrow and note what excites me artistically and I carry those notes forward to realize a person, a person that resonates with who I am inside, a person that, given a great deal of preparation, I can become, displaying myself in public as living art, even if only for a little while. For me, the art of crossdressing is one of the most intimate forms of creative expression, one where you take the elements at your very core and bring them out, using your own body as the canvas. It's artistic expression that you choose to become, that you carry into public as fearlessly as you can, showing off your work (and your innermost soul) for all to see. It's brazen and bold, especially using a male body as the canvas to express a female soul, bucking a strong taboo and making a statement about roles and beauty standards, about gender and sexuality all with one single outfit.

Artisitic crossdressing also got me into battle jacket building, ultimately leading to my own label, Ellie Valkyrie Battlejackets [link]. Learning to build battle jackets and other punk-style outfit elements was a long, self-taught process of observation, study and experimentation. I explored and polished my skills while building my own jacket, my Ellie jacket, the external expression of my inner soul, and carried those skills forward to make garments for others. Building battle jackets is a form of art I never thought I would get into, but I love it. It's powerful, spiritual, satisfying and totally fun to explore. To use leather and denim as canvases, to stitch by hand and brush designs into something meant to be worn-- it is unlike any other art form I have gotten into.

The clothing we wear is, in a sense, the way we chose to present ourselves to the world. In many ways, there is a stigma in our culture still against certain expressions of individuality. Safe expressions, like a hat with a catchy quote on it, attract smiles and conversation (something we like as social animals) but when a man wears a skirt or a padded bra, he draws as much negative attention as he would if he were to get a full facial tattoo. There is no good reason for reinforcing a stigma around expressions such as these. Saying “you could get attacked / you won’t get hired” is victim blaming and is as offensive as saying a woman deserved to be raped because of whatever she might have been wearing at the time. If a crossdresser is attacked, it’s because the person who attacked them is an asshole, and that’s the long and short of it. It’s not the crossdresser’s fault, and wearing clothing of a certain type should never been seen as an excuse for a person to be assaulted or denied employment for a job they are otherwise qualified for. I stand by this, even for people wearing MAGA hats and nazi uniforms. Self defense, of course, is another matter entirely. See my article on Fighting Hate With Hate for more on this subject.

Life is short. Individuality is rare and fleeting. Be you. Be the best version of you that you can be, and shine in what you know will empower you. Be art, in every moment and in every way. See the art that is you, that is uniquely you, and explore it. The only person stopping you, ultimately, is yourself.

If you have a story about your own experiences as a trans individual or would like to be interviewed so that you can share your perspectives as a trans person with the readers of this blog, please feel free to contact me through the contact form here: [link]. Make sure you have javascript enabled or the form will just display a blank page. I’d love to hear from you, and I’d love to share your perspective with our readers. Thank you!

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