Why We Need To Protect Men In Dresses

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

As far as transgender people go, I’m pretty “safe.” The “weirdest” thing about me is that I have always felt strongly female inside and I’m pretty open about it. My body is male, I dress fairly “male” almost all of the time and when I do express my feminine side through garments, the clothing I choose is typically combat boots, pants and a battle jacket, making me appear very strong and masculine despite certain feminizing traits (boobs, makeup, shaved arms, etc.) People who interact with me do not have to remember any specific pronouns or worry about being seen talking with a huge muscular man in a tiny pink dress, stiletto heels and a cheap Halloween wig. People who interact with me do not have to face whatever degree of transphobia (I think almost all of us have at least a little, even transgender people) that might be lurking in their consciousness. I’m safe. I’m just E.S. Wynn, and there’s that “weird” trans part of me that’s easy for others to ignore and choose to forget about.

This may not seem like a huge problem, but I think it’s big enough that it needs to be addressed. When I expressed a degree of transmisogyny in the previous paragraph, did you notice it? I defined a specific type of transgender individual as being “unsafe” or “worrisome” and distanced myself from them. There’s not really anything wrong with saying “I’m more of a leather jackets and studs kind of woman than a pink dress kind of woman,” but when a sense of superiority or rightness is assigned to fashion, to clothing and how it is worn (when and by whom) there is definitely the opportunity to hurt someone with pointless judgments and poorly-chosen words. Do I really care if huge muscular men wear tiny pink dresses, stiletto heels and Halloween wigs? I want to say no, but there is still a part of me (I’m working on it) that does judge and wants to be seen as separate from people like that.

This is transphobia. Even if it were only a fear of being associated with certain types of transgender individuals (and being judged by others because of that association) it’s still transphobia. It’s a problem, and it’s very (disturbingly) common.

Let’s go back to the title of this post for a moment. Transphobia, especially in the trans and the greater LGBTQIA community, is why we need to protect men in dresses. As an activist, I would argue that we need to go further even than that. We need to go beyond just protecting AMAB (assigned male at birth) transgender individuals who choose to embrace their femininity (regardless of how they choose to do it) and need to start celebrating them openly, encouraging them to express themselves in the ways that feel right to them. Do you have any idea how hard it is for any man to wear a tiny pink dress? How much self-destructive judgment he (or she) has to fight through in order to show off (much less walk around in) a pair of high heel shoes? Homophobia, misogynistic and transmysgynistic attitudes so pervade our society that even the act of slipping on a kilt (which is a male garment that looks kind of like a skirt) can feel very brave indeed, and that’s just what AMAB transgender individuals deal with on the inside. Once we work past all of that, we still have the whole of society to face, and if even one person sneers at us (especially another trans person) the pressure can be difficult to just shrug off, given all that we’re fighting inside. It can feel like it lends credence to all the bad arguments we hold within ourselves that we use to hold ourselves back from realizing our highest vision of ourselves. Everyone wants to be accepted for who they are, but as social animals, we are very susceptible to social pressures, including the pressure we all feel to conform.

When a person with a male body has the balls (or ovaries) to stand up and try on that first wig, to wear it proudly in public, to wear a dress, a skirt, high heels, a padded bra, or anything feminine at all, we as individuals of any community should support that individual’s freedom to express themselves however they choose. If we are so tied up in our own doubts, issues and phobias that we can’t support them, then perhaps at least we can keep from judging or tearing down someone who is so brave and yet so fragile. Greater even than that, maybe we can pledge to work on our issues, to work on ourselves until we can move past the crap in our hearts and minds that drives us to judge, to look negatively upon people just trying to discover themselves. That’s what I’m working on, and I encourage everyone to do the same, to strive always to be the best version of ourselves that we can be. Nothing good happens unless we commit to change, and the only way to change the world is to change yourself, to be the best person that you can be, and set an example for all those who will see you, respect you and follow in your footsteps.

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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