On Lying: Street harassment is too high a price for “being ourselves.”
Alok Vaid-Menon
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What I Wanted To Wear: Karaoke Edition

Left: What I wanted to wear / Right: What I wore

As an agender trans person, getting dressed can be incredibly tricky. While fabric has no gender (quite like myself), clothing is often strictly divided into what is acceptable “for men” or “for women.” What does this mean for someone like me? I’m not a man or a woman — I like to wear clothes regardless of what gender they’re associated with, and yet I know that how I’m read often depends on what I wear. There’s no escaping other people’s gendered perceptions and projections: when I wear skirts and dresses, I am often read as a trans woman. When I wear pants and a t-shirt, I am often read as a young gay cis guy. When I wear crop tops that show off my body hair, people don’t know what to make of me (which is why I wear crop tops a lot, aside from the fact that I look fantastic in them). Varying amounts of harassment come with wearing different types of clothing.

Tonight, I am going to karaoke. It starts at 9PM, and I will probably get home after 1AM. I want to wear a skater dress — it’s hot out, I look adorable, and I’m just in the mood to flounce around in a dress. However, I hardly feel safe wearing a dress when the sun is out, let alone traveling home by myself at 1AM. Time is a huge factor in deciding what I want to wear — riding the subway and walking home alone late at night can be quite terrifying for someone like me. The last time I wore this dress (mid-day in Manhattan), I was heckled down the street. In an attempt to feel safer tonight, I am wearing a tight t-shirt (I like the cut and the fit), cutoff shorts, and the only shoes I ever wear: Doc Martens.

**I use the gender neutral pronouns: they/them**


Feeling deep ambivalence about how we dress is something the trans and gender non-conforming communities experience acutely, but it’s not just about us. We’d love to hear from everybody about how we navigate self presentation each day.

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