After I came out as a lesbian I cut all my hair off.
In retrospect, I did actually want short hair, it was a fun few months with a pixie cut. However, the pressure I felt to make myself “look gay” outweighed my actual desire for a new hair cut.
For most of my time being “out,” I have felt like I wasn’t gay enough. From my own perception of what queer looks like, to comments made from friends and family about how I look so feminine, I felt extra pressure to present a certain way to seem queerer.
In reality, it isn’t my job to look gay enough for anyone.
Femme lesbians, masculine gay men, non-androgynous non binary people. We exist, we are not the cliché you expect. It doesn’t make our identities any less valid.
Queer fashion — just like sexuality and gender — is a spectrum. Looking “queer” doesn’t have one style because it isn’t simply one thing. Each individual can have fashion outside of their identity, each individual can have style that doesn’t look like your perceived version of that identity. Moreover, the self expression that comes with style doesn’t necessarily equate to sexuality or gender. People can, and do, dress according to personality and aesthetics — which doesn’t correlate to a specified sexuality.
Sure, a bisexual person may enjoy cuffing their jeans because it is a stylistic choice they think looks aesthetically pleasing, but that doesn’t equate to them being bisexual. Trends that skyrocket in popularity among a certain group does not mean that these people are or are not their identity if that trend is absent from their wardrobe.
The stereotypes imposed onto the queer community by straight people are just that, stereotypes. Members of the LGBTQ+ community can present, dress, and act any way that suits them and their perception of themselves — it’s not a straight person’s place to tell queer people how to look.
Likewise, it is not the job of a queer person to look the way you perceive them to look based off of an outdated idea of their sexuality. Which is where corporate rainbow-washing comes in — marketing from brands during pride month intended to showcase “allyship” which is actually a veiled cash grab.
Bottom line: we don’t all wear your corporate rainbow pride collection, and it’s offensive that businesses try to capitalize on that stereotype of queerness.
Queer fashion spans from stereotype to individual style — however, queer is still able to recognize queer. The LGBTQ+ community has a bond through style and self expression that only they can sense. It doesn’t have one look, there’s no way to “spot” queerness. It’s something that resonates in each individual’s soul, something that cannot be spun by brands or straights. Something that is only, purely, ours.