41%

In a forever changing political world, human rights are always a hot topic of conversation. This year LGBT rights, specifically transgender rights have been a rollercoaster drunk kind of conversation.  Maybe each week we could all play the game ‘delete as applicable’.  It goes something along the lines of  ‘XYZ political statement’ … delete as applicable…  Fuck Yes / What the actual fuck.

The main question is how can we go back and forth on such a fundamental issue? We are still fighting for LGBT rights in countries that have never had them. Under the lower of Trump, the US is now reversing decisions previously made to improve the lives of transgender and other LGBT individuals. The problem is we (myself included) are all just hoping that this is a ‘four-year’ kind of deal and that all will be changed back when the next president comes into office but what if its not?

A little terminology:

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act 1964: Federal Law, protects against employment discrimination on the bases of race, color, national origin, sex and religion.

DOJ: Department of Justice

Transgender: ‘relating to a person whose sense of personal identitiy and gender does not correspond with their birth sex’.

GBBO: Great British Bake Off

 

The current hand:

When Obama and his beautiful jawline were in power the DOJ viewed the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act 1964 as protecting against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender. Now they are reversing their stance meaning that employers can legally (depending on the state) discriminate because of a person’s sexual orientation, which seems crazy right? I mean if you’re a top cardiac surgeon I don’t care who your partner is or if you are transgender, just do your jam and send me home in time for GBBO.

20 states as of April this year have passed bills meaning that a person cannot be discriminated against based on sexual orientation or gender, 2 states have passed laws on just sexual orientation. However, this leaves 28 states (the majority) left to discriminate. They are literally just letting discrimination happen because… well y’know… actually I don’t… please fucking explain.

In mid-august Trump in all his wisdom announced that transgender individuals will no longer be allowed to serve in the military, part of this was giving the military six months to implement this ban. The reason given:

‘Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail’.      Fuck Yes/What the actual fuck

The cost is estimated to be between $2.4 million and $8.4 million a year which to us millennials is a shit tonne of money, just imagine all the avo on toast we could get for that! However, how much is it in relation to the US budget? (Im so glad you asked)

The US Military budget for Fiscal Year 2018 (October 1st, 2017 – September 30th 2018) is $824.6 billion. In other words Mr Trump, you better find an actual excuse other than your hate campaign. Mr Trump they have chosen to fight for your country to protect you and fellow civilians. Some have served for more than a decade and you repay them by kicking them out? Whats up with that?*

 

What is the deal here in the UK bro?

Whilst we may have gone a little astray with the who Brexit shindig.** We are moving forwards and making gender a little more fluid in terms of the law. The ‘Gender Recognition Bill’ is in the process of being passed. It is thought that under the bill adults could legally change the sex on their birth certificate without a medical diagnosis. Non-binary individuals would have the option of choosing ‘X’. This will be instead of the current system (Gender recognisiton certificate) that was put in place in 2004.

**Europe we are really sorry but we are still in the ‘facing the wall stage, refusing to apologise and admit we made a mistake stage’ of the row. Give us time.

 

Why all the numbers?

41%. – Attempted suicide rate of transgendered adults in the US.

In a study carried out by National Center for Transgender Equality with 6000 respondants, 41% reported ever attempting suicide. (Grant et al., 2011). Compared with the general  US population reported average of 4.6%.

Hatred and mistunderstanding of transgendered individuals is still huge. Whilst looking up some sources for this piece I found multiple hate rants. The two below were on the first page of two artices published by the Independent online. There were many.

  • ‘Good Morning Freaks! All those libtards, LGBT supporters should be rounded up and locked up in padded cells. No wonder kids these are more confused than ever!’
  • ‘They is no such thing as a non-binary person. Keep your sick ideas to yourself, most people are not listening.

The negative comments such as those above are what is damaging people. It makes people feel worthless, wrong and all fucked up.

Well let me tell you, you are not fucked up, you are fantastic and brave. There are plenty of people who want to fight your corner, narrow minded individuals are the minority not the majority. We’ve got your back.

Treating people like humans should not be optional, it should be a given.

Its time to talk.

We love you for being you.

#youareamotherfuckingunicorn

 

*Since writing the above, James Mattis (US Defense Secretary) has announced that whilst a study is carried out, transgender troops will be allowed to continue to serve. (don’t you just LOVE politics). Watch this space.

 

If you wanted to know more about the studies facts and figures the link is below.

Suicide Attempts among Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Adults

https://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/wp-content/uploads/AFSP-Williams-Suicide-Report-Final.pdf

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The Male Lead.

Is menswear quietly paving the way?

I love menswear because I live in it. My wardrobe consists of items that are either ‘boyfriend fit’  or ninety percent of the time the items are from the menswear department. I apologise in advance as there may be a few sentences that make sweeping generalizations, but please take them with a shaker of salt, I’m being very general, I am not talking about everyone, or your mate James when he was seventeen.

I’ve focused on menswear as opposed to women’s fashion in this piece simply because women style tends to be a lot broader, have fewer boundaries and have a wider range of garments that are considered socially acceptable. Menswear is more restricted on these terms. Reasons for this include; what is considered ‘socially acceptable’ for men is more limited, they have more boxed in definitions of smart and casual wear, and it takes a lot less to cross the line’. Hence why –  River Island, Topman and H&M produce lines that are very similar, finished with a hint of whatever their USP is. However, in recent years menswear has softened around the edges and it has used history to rapidly advance and shape the future. Tailoring still has its classic edge but has evolved as a sector in the recent years of this decade.

In the nineties, grunge and hip hop had their turn on influencing fashion, older teens and men in their twenties wear wearing low slung jeans that fell off their hips, skater shoes and baggy tees all topped off with mad hair. Early noughties came and skinny jeans rocked up in force and by the end of the decade every Tom, Dick and Harry were wearing them. However, skinny jeans are far from a new concept especially in the young male fashion scene. They have just hit different genres and crews in different decades. The sixties had Mods and Rockers whilst the seventies had Teddy Boys in drainpipe trousers. In this decade (twenty-tens?*) its primarily skinny jeans coupled with a ‘tailored’ shirt, topped off with a sharp undercut hairstyle, (think Tommy Shelby, Peaky Blinders).

 

Peaky Blinder 1.1 Barber Side.png

Tommy Shelby abandoning his barber: ‘he promised me a cut like no-one else’.  Image: (BBC/Caryn Mandabach Productions Ltd/Tiger Aspect/Robert Viglasky)

 

The Male Lead?

Menswear has started to incorporate what is considered more feminine vibes into high street looks, whilst avoiding terms such as ‘girlfriend fit’ (bravo). Floral prints and tight fitted t-shirts are no longer just for queer men. Skinny jeans/shorts are for any guy that wants to wear them, from spray on to stretch-skinny to straight-skinny,  whatever your shape or size there is a pair of jeans to squeeze your calves into.

Could menswear be leading the way by not using gendered language to justify items?

Womenswear  is still fully committed though ‘boyfriend fit’ when a tee is oversized or jeans are baggy. Why are we trying to gender or justify oversized clothing? It looks fucking rad. No further explanation needed.

Topshop, Lucas Jeans. 

Topshop describe their ‘Lucas’ jeans for…

‘…THE GIRL WHO IS ALWAYS BORROWING HER BOYFRIEND’S JEANS. THE LOOSELY TAPERED, ULTRA-LOW-RISE LUCAS IS THE ULTIMATE IN ANDROGYNOUS, LAIDBACK DRESSING’

with the greatest of respect Topshop, fuck off.

Top Tip: continue borrowing baes jeans, if your always doing it then they probably don’t mind, also save yourself forty quid maybe buy them some socks because your probably always ‘borrowing’ those too…

 

 

Z.PS.png

pastel pink suits shows a softer side to tailoring

 

London Fashion Week Mens – SS18 (June) was bold and utterly fabulous. Continuing trends of florals, graphic prints and tailoring both sharp and laid back, both sexes walked for designers ‘male’ collections and menswear fashion shows no signs of slowing down the pace.

Optimistically awaiting the shift from catwalk design to sidewalk trend. (fingers crossed)

 

Screen Shot 2017-06-13 at 17.03.33.png

Astrid Andersen- SS18- London Fashion Week Men’s (June) – (Getty Images)

 

*will someone please confirm this is an actual thing because Google couldn’t make a decision.

#Hashtag. Inspiration + Androgyny.

A couple of years ago androgyny became known in the real world as an actual mind state, primarily expressed through clothing choices but definitely not limited to it. Fashion picked it up, perhaps even ‘defined’ it and the media started to run more features with ‘androgyny’ in. London Fashion Week 2015 was for me the ‘don’t tear up the rule book, light the match and let it burn’ year, maybe this was because I was looking for inspiration or acceptance of outfit choices. Anyway, it was the first time that stood out for me when designers had chosen more androgynous-looking models and created genderless looks on the catwalk. In early 16’ Jaden Smith did a wonderfully queer shoot for Vogue Korea and slayed.
J.Smith Vogue
Jaden Smith @C.syresmith for Vogue Korea. Photographer: Peter Ash Lee.
All products start as ideas and all ideas usually begin as inspiration. Need, wants and desires coupled with inspiration have the ability to enter the market and compete.  Product designs are drawn and created, trends start forming and genius is shown off on the preferred platform for the industry. the fashion worlds platform of choice, catwalks.  The watered-down, softer versions hit the streets, we love it and our wallets well, not so much . So, 2015 was the year where gender fluidity and unisex clothing were here by force and I was ready. Next season – come at me bro. No longer would I have to skulk into the menswear department which is never on the ground floor so, I have to traipse up or down stairs when I need to try the fucking thing on. (Top Tip: between me and you, when I’m feeling particularly brave I use the mens’ because there is literally never a que).
Next season came, oh yes and everyone just relax because Zara had it ‘covered’.
Now Zara, darling, some people were excited when you announced the release of an online ungendered-trf collection.  It consisted of … (drum roll please) … sweatpants, really, I got stoked for something that if we are honest already existed. Having said this kudos on stepping outside the comfort zone, with something that probably elicited eye rolling. Yet, we are now in 2017 and I’m still skulking around changing rooms – stop it, not like that.
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Zara: Online: UNGENDERED TRF Collection. Snapshot: April 2017.
Gender-Neutral clothing is difficult to design because of human physiology. We have different shapes, the  differences between male and female being clear. Thank-you evolution I love my child-bearing hips, been super useful to me so far. Talented creatives have proved although it may be difficult and have unique challenges it is not impossible.
Genderless clothing, unisex, gender-fluid, androgynous, human, whatever you wish to call it clothes for either sex or any gender is pretty niche market. There are a fair few smaller clothing labels doing genderless clothing spot on but how come high street fashion labels are not really designing every day collections each season, apart from you, Zara. (I am totally over it, mainly because of the ALF tee admittedly).
Abandonship Apparel based in Scotland design their clothes for humans and the fit of their tees are spot on. An Instagram post with the caption ‘everything we make is unisex. We don’t tell you how to wear our clothes, we just want you to enjoy them’ tells you a lot about how they roll.  I’ve stumbled across other amazing androgynous clothing lines including; Androswag (Melbourne, androgynous and genderless apparel), Wildfang (Portland, culture for the modern feminist), rodeoH (San Francisco, for all your boxer needs) and Androgynous Fox (San Francisco, also androgynous apparel and with taglines such as ‘take notes boys’ they are pretty irresistible.)  It’s not just about providing unisex clothing for these brands but underlying them seems to be a powerful ‘you are not alone’ mentality.
So, it turns out my excitement for genderless clothing in the UK was a tad premature, and I don’t have a house to re-mortgage to pay the US shipping fees.
Its ok, I’ll wait patiently. Beers’ still cold, I’ve got time.
#whyhaveyouputahashtaginthefuckingtitle
Instagram was where I first felt free and secure to express myself, like legit*, because not many people I knew personally followed me. I began following fashion labels, designers, androgynous figures, gender-related blogs and loved what I found. People pushing thought boundaries and putting their ideas out there. Hashtags such as #girlswholooklikeboys #genderbender #thisandrogynouslife made me feel, in a way, just a little bit lighter.  Facebook felt too cluttered and Instagram was a place to breathe and quite frankly still is.
This scattered post of badly worded and jumbled thoughts started of primarily about style.  YOUR style, not what you should and should wear for your ‘body shape’, Cosmo looking at you here pal. Fashion shouldn’t be about sexuality or gender it should be about you feeling sharp as fuck and walking every street like a catwalk.
*also made me pretty street, #justsaying
Independent labels mentioned, check em’ out:
@abandonshipapparel
@androgynousfox
@androswag
@wearewildfang
@rodeohs
Vivienne Westwood had a blog piece titled ‘unisex is good for the environment’, you already know you want to read it: http://www.viviennewestwood.com/en-gb/blog/“unisex-good-environment”
LOVE

 

The Gender Spectrum. Go Play.

I’m starting with the gender spectrum because it’s been a while since I put pen to paper (keys to document?) and as a topic, like the spectrum itself, it is broad. This is just a personal viewpoint. It is experienced very differently by different individuals. Please excuse any rambling and the grammar, well just in general.
Some people believe the gender spectrum does not exist; that we have just two categories with no sub sections, no fluidity and no in-between. Simply, male or female. I have absolutely no problem with this, none at all, because it is ok for people to think differently and have their own viewpoints, just don’t be an asshole about it.
Gender is experienced differently by individuals.
Firstly, I would like to breakdown this myth: ‘gender and sex are the same, right?’ absolutely fucking not. Sorry, what I meant was, no not really.
Sex: ‘Refers to the biological and physiological characteristics that define men and women’[1]
Gender: ‘Refers to the socially constructed roles, behaviors, activities and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for men and women’ [1]
What is the Gender Spectrum? (I am so glad you asked)
The gender spectrum introduces a grey area. It is a linear model, described as ‘ranging from 100% man to 100% woman, with various states of androgyny in-between’ [2].
When gender is ‘played with’ in the arts world within fashion or music, it is viewed as expression, as being artistic and pushing boundaries. Unfortunately this does not transcend into everyday life. Prime Example: catwalks. Google – Fashion Week, it’s awesome. Perhaps search after reading this otherwise you’ll never come back.
The catwalk plays with gender beautifully and nobody looks twice. Okay not quite, people stare but not due to a male model dressed in a long skirt or a women wearing a classic tailored suit. No. People stare simply because it is stunning. It flows perfectly, natural beauty, fashion is itself an art. This is almost alien outside of creative subjects.  Our brains are taught from the moment we are born to recognize and define gender, it is second nature. When this is challenged, our subconscious goes into overdrive. Relax, don’t panic. You know how you like dogs before you know their gender? Never really thought about it huh? interesting.
In London gender plays heavier roles in certain areas.  For example in Soho (please, try to act a little surprised), you can be anywhere on the gender spectrum and you are pretty unmemorable simply because it is ‘normal’ or not a big deal.  I imagine this is how cisgendered individuals feel on a daily level, but isn’t this how everyone should feel?
Cisgender: ‘when a person’s biological sex is the same as their gender identity and expression’
Why am I writing this? Well very simply: Toilets.
Because, pretty much every time I use a gendered bathroom, at some point I get mistaken  for a boy.  Literally. I don’t even mind, 90% of the time it is an honest non-judgmental mistake.  I am content with being ‘female’, but I am not horrified as being thought of as ‘male’ (men can be pretty rad as it goes). What makes me uncomfortable is the when someone realizes they have made a mistake and is so evidently uncomfortable. Why? My biological sex is not important, it is not your concern, really it has no impact on your life. Since when did a haircut choice make someone dangerous?  I just need to pee, which is a universal human function.
I once had a customer ask why the casual dining restaurant I worked in previously did not have gender neutral toilets, also known as ‘Toilets’ (THE HORROR), and you know what, I couldn’t answer, there was no good reason. There were six toilets in the ladies, whilst the mens had two, bad luck fellas, but the worst thing? The signs weren’t overly clear, which just made people more awkward and pause hesitantly at the top of the steps, looking left and right. (If you’re looking to follow my lead, it may not workout) Bright side, you have a 50/50 chance of being right.
  Toilets are the bane of going out and I’m sure I am not alone in this, I avoid certain places just to avoid awkwardness. My drink choices have actually been influenced by my 16oz bladder. Long Drink, Tom Collins?  Bitch please, I have 5 hours of drinking, hit me up with some half pints infact best make it a 1/3 pint. Yes, you should smile, because it is stupid, ridiculous and quite frankly dehydrating. I’ve had the whole, aggressive ‘aren’t these the fucking girls toilets’  & ‘why is there a boy in here’ in clubs and it got old really quick.
BUT to all the people who just move past it, do a little embarrassed giggle, go “my bad” or the best one yet “fair fucking play to you” thank you. They make me smile.
Gender should not be a taboo topic; it should be interesting and explorative.  You don’t have to go full on drag. However, please feel free,  I’m just saying – open your mind – wear something because you like it, not because it is suitable according to society. If you feel masculine some days and feminine on others THAT IS OK. It is not weird or fucked up. Dress for the day. You do not have to pick a gender and stick to it. Grow your hair to the floor or go full on skin head, it makes no difference if you’re a guy, girl or anywhere in between because confidence looks great on anyone. Go Play.
When looking up definitions and reading for this, I found a lot of viewpoints that fired shots at people who were on the gender spectrum,. There seems to be a view that non-binary individuals or people who don’t conform to ‘male or female’  hate on the ‘norm’ in this case ‘cis-gendered’. I would like to say from me personally and like-minded people, I know this is genuinely, generally not the case. You can live any which way you wish. Let’s stop trashing each other on the web, especially urban dictionary because yeah, just nah.
I’ve kept this short, but would love to expand on aspects in the future. Let me know your thoughts.
LOVE.
 [1] World Health Organization [2] Boundless.com