I am a fashion and beauty obsessed, Instagram-worshipping, professional-selfie-taking, occasionally-basic bitch. I am also gay, or rather pansexual, and fat, or rather “average” by the actual U.S. women’s standard. I used to hide both of these attributes, in my fashion and my conversations, out of an instinct for protection. This involved a lot of Spanx, fit and flare dresses, and kissing women “for fun” when I was “drunk.” The problem was not that I thought no one was buying it, but that I thought they were. I thought when I got someone into bed and out of my perfectly curated, strategically fat-hiding, femmer-than-I-actually-am outfit, and they realized I was fat, they’d reject me.
I also thought that once my straight-passing (possibly-that-way-on-purpose) demeanor was shed, and people realized I was queer, their respect or admiration towards me would diminish and make way for confusion, pity, disgust, etc. So while hiding my queerness and fatness in my clothes was meant to make me feel protected and secure, I instead felt anxious about the inevitable outing of my true self. This is why I adopted confidence, not out of lack of fear, but as a more practical and effortless approach to it.
When I wear a bodycon dress with no Spanx, and still leave my number for the cute bartender, I don’t have to worry about them “finding out” I’m fat and gay. When I wear masculine clothing or drop “this girl I used to date” into conversations with strangers, I don’t have to wait for that stupid face people make when they’re trying desperately hard to look okay with it. I don’t have to wait because it’ll either happen right away or it won’t. It’s not that I’m stopping the rejection or reactions, it’s that I’m cutting out the anxiety and fear of waiting for it.
I’m sure I still lose out on dates, friends, and opportunities, as any oppressed person does, the difference is I don’t change to accommodate it. As a white woman, I have the choice to hide or flaunt my identities, which POC do not, making even this choice, to make visible my oppressed identities, a privileged one. Your style is your first sentence, and mine is no longer a half-truth, hidden with empire waistlines and ballet flats, but an exclamation marked by visible belly lines and lots of flannel.