February 14th, 2014 Ellen page daringly came out at the Time to Thrive Conference. Following her announcement came a parade of bold and debonair looks. Although always having been known as more of a tomboy, Ellen Page's public coming out appears to have made some very visible changes not only in her personal life but also in her gender expression and personal style. Today we can find numerous photos of Page dawning a dashing suit and tie for many of her public appearances and looking more at ease than we've seen her in years; what began as almost a timid expression has become a playful smirk on the red carpets. As I have excitedly followed Page's change in public image, I am reminded of my own journey to self-acceptance and battle to express myself as I see fit.
Since my own coming out, just under three years ago, I have been more daring and more confident in my attempts at self-expression. Today I not only share my queer identity more openly but, I have also transformed by confused and questioning wardrobe into a menswear-inspired oasis; a refuge of strength and empowerment when my surroundings offer anything but. You see, a large struggle in my life was not only my love of women but also my love of men...'s clothing.
Along with the pressure to conform to heterosexuality, I felt the the weight of heteronormativity, or the pressure to look and act a certain way because of my gender. By embracing my sexuality and celebrating it, I became more confident with other parts of my identity. It was like realizing that the rules I was following weren't meant for me, so I stopped playing. I was released from expectations I could not fulfill and in turn was given the opportunity to pave my own way in life. I was taking back the power in my life and in doing so, I walked taller and spoke louder, my neckties ceased to feel like targets for negative attention and became badges of integrity and conviction.
My life has become much more enjoyable in some circles and slightly more difficult in others since coming out and riding myself of many pressure of heteronormativity. Depending on the beliefs of those around me, my sexual orientation is the least interesting thing about me. For many, my invisible identity or sexual orientation has become more acceptable, it's my highly visible variation on gender expression that is more difficult for them to understand and accept.
But the pride that come with each day that I have been true to myself is enough to fight off anything that comes my way. There is true strength in knowing who are you are and fighting for it. Be you, be true.
I have am immense appreciation for Ellen Page's bravery and conviction. She is and will continue to be an inspiration and a reminder that the most valuable things we have are our own truths.
Ashleigh Bingham better known as “Bing, ”creator of I Dream of Dapper, is a dapperwear Tumblr style icon. She contributed to popularizing the long-haired "queer pomp" and is known for her daring pattern mixing, complimentary rich colors, lapel pins, wild thrift finds, variety in neckwear (featured in her "50 Days of Dapper" project), & ability to write about Harry Styles. In the past, Bing has contributed to Autostraddle, and has been featured on DapperQ, S Moda, Hudson, Buzzfeed, and included in the top 10 of a national menswear online competition. With a tendency to mix fashion with satire, Bing aims to explore fashion as a tool for self-expression rather than an industry.