I Wanna Walk Around Town in a Skirt Without Being Fucking Gawked At

  • Graphic Liz Xu

I think silk was the first thing I loved.

I was always obsessed with women’s fashion in film, transfixed by not the terrifying implications of Rosemary’s Baby, but how fucking fabulous Mia Farrow looked in that blue silk turtle neck, those tiny black flats, that white floral print cotton dress. I would hunt through old magazines for pictures of Twiggy or Audrey Hepburn. I’ve seen The Graduate more times than I can count.
My mom just figured I was a healthy gay boy, blossoming in his youth.

I’m not gay. It’s not that black and white.

I’ve always been attracted to women, but just not in the way that men are traditionally supposed to be attracted to women. Which apparently is as big of a sin to some as not being attracted to women at all.

The ludicrousness of gendered clothing aside, let me say that I love wearing women’s clothing because I love the concept of femininity. I didn’t realize it when I was young, but the fact is that I crave to feel female.

But I’m not trans. It’s not that black and white.

I love the way old female icons moved, too. The way Anne Bancroft held herself, that subtle arch of back and lifted forearm with angled wrist tilting a cigarette idly. Christ, and the smoking—I can honestly say I’m that sort of dummy who got into cigarette smoking because of icons. But my icons weren’t people like James Dean or Tom Waits smokers; they were Lillian Gish and Marlene Dietrich.

And so I smoked like them, wrist out, knocking ashes with outward pointed forefinger; and when I sat, I sat with legs crossed and back straight like them, or otherwise knees knocking inward, soles out, like them. And I walked with a slight twirl in my hips and I felt my mother’s silk dresses and, quietly, when no one was home, I put them on.

I put them on and I felt like I was beautiful.

I didn’t wear women’s clothing in public until I was out of high school. I left the country before I did. I didn’t tell anyone in high school because my mannerisms in men’s clothes were considered unsightly enough.

So I moved to Montreal, a city that wears a face of inclusion and acceptance but really screams disclusion and bigotry and prejudice and old-style Catholic disgust.

I know that because I can’t walk down the street without being gawked at by every single fucking person.

Bikers turn. Cars slow down. Heads whip in perfect 180s to get a look at the freak in a dress. And I know I’m not alone.

Sure, there are some places where people don’t mention it, but even then I can’t help but notice the first thing anyone ever does when greeting me is cast a quick glance at my outfit before remembering to pretend I’m not a monster.

Montreal, the “Paris of North America,” so proudly hip, where I can’t go to a party in so much as a goddamn crop top without the drunkest white girls there insisting on having to tell me how brave I am and how good I look, as they quietly congratulate themselves on a job well done, saving some specky freak.

Let me just say that I don’t need your approval. I want to wear what makes me feel beautiful, and I want to smoke like a fucking Goddess, and I want to be left alone to do it.

So if you’re in the street, and you see a Goddess with a mustache and a crop top, do us all a favor, and keep your fucking eyes to yourself.

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