Anonymous asked: I’m a genderqueer trans woman, or something like that. My gender expression mostly ranges from androgynous to femme, and it seems like most non-queers assume I’m an androgynous boy unless I look blatantly femme. I don’t need to be super butch, but tips for looking somewhat dykey without being mistaken for a dude?

I read somewhere that since our society is so male-centric, people need 4 female cues out of 5 to determine whether someone is female. (May have been Kate Bornstein, don’t remember.) In other words, if you look androgynous people are more likely to mistake you as a dude. So the odds are not in your favor, and people already have so many mixed up conceptions about what it means to be one gender or another that it’s hard to play into them when it comes to your own identity.

I understand how important it is to you be seen for who you are, and how much you wish you could be read as female and dykey (or something like that.) But I’d say, above all, dress and do what you will with your body to make yourself happy! When we don’t fit into the gender binary system, people get confused and make the best assesment they can based on their preconceived ideas about gender. I could get mistaken for a 13-year-old boy, a straight girl, or a lesbian (none of which I identify!) all at the same time depending on people’s expectations and cultural backgrounds. As soon as I stop feeling so concerned with how I’m seen and just present the way I feel most comfortable, I can laugh it off when people read me wrong. 

But in terms of looking dykey, we do have some cultural traditions. Dykes love a good assymetrical haircut. Check out http://girlswithshorthair.tumblr.com/ and http://fuckyeahqueercuts.tumblr.com/ for inspiration. Also check out this post I did on the difference between a lesbian short haircut and a straight girl short haircut: Lesbian Haircutes: Interview with Leroy Powell of We Are Hair. There are also pieces I like to call “lesbian flair” (think femme goes clubbing) like suspenders, bow ties, vests, and blazers; as discussed here: Lindsie: Femme with Lesbian Flair.

I hope you find ways to feel like yourself and also comfortable when dealing with the expectations of others. And that you can have fun experimenting!

As Qwear's Founding Editor, Sonny’s work centers around envisioning a future in which the clothing people wear does not dictate their chances of survival. Sonny was awarded 2015 dapperQ of the Year and was the first trans blogger to be sponsored by Topman. In March 2016, Sonny spoke at South by South West's first official queer fashion panel.