When I present as femme (or variations of androgynous) I feel exposed. Every time I walk down the street I accept a certainty of stares, and a risk of harassment or violence.
I could wear the simplest, dullest, most demure dress in the world and still have to deal with this. So one day I decided fuck em, I’ll give them something to stare at.
My fashion sense naturally tends towards the flamboyant. And when I wear this out in public I set the terms on which people stare at me. I claw back some small part of that power imbalance. More important, is what it means to me.
When I dress how I want to dress the clothes feel like armour, confidence and gender euphoria protecting me from the impact of a thousand stares. When I walk down the street resplendent in queer glamour I feel powerful. More than that though, it fulfills a promise to myself. It shows that I have the strength to be true to myself, and not let discrimination or fear dictate my choices.
I walk through these streets like a fearsome queen, and claim those stares as tribute.