Recently, there has been a nearly laughable nation-wide shift in attitudes towards gender non-conformity due to the deaths of two amazingly successful gods of their trade, David Bowie and the artist formerly known as Prince.
While many are overwhelmed by the loss of these two lyrical and musical geniuses, many comments found online praise the purity of their character and their dedication to self-expression. Numerous news sources have commented that Bowie and Prince flawlessly modeled that men could embrace femininity without lessening their societal value. Some of the dedicated readers may recall an earlier article I wrote about the One Direction member, Harry Styles, and his gender-bending wonderfulness which remains today to be one of Qwear's most circulated articles, having been retweeted by Style's mother Anne Twist.
What makes this recent shift so horribly laughable is that so many people are openly celebrating these individuals for their "radical" self-expression at the very same time that trans and gender non-conforming folk are being denied access to basic resources. Androgynous lesbians are being kicked out of bathrooms if they cannot produce identification and documentation of their sex and trans individuals can't get past the door because "the threat of perverts masquerading as transgender people entering into the restrooms is just too high."
We are lifting up these inspiring seekers-of-true-identity in nearly the same breath that we condemn the people around us. Trans people are in fact people. Gender non-conforming people are people and maybe one day they'll be the voices on the radio you love so much. Maybe you'll buy their art, sing their songs, or quote them in a college essay but for now they just need to go to the bathroom. They need jobs. They need love and support and the room to be.
We have all been touched by the losses we have seen in the news as of late, but we should not allow our grief for individuals who advocated so strongly to be who you are to distract from the discrimination that is hitting so much closer to home.
Love your celebrities, your musicians, your artists and advocate for trans and gender non-conforming people like you post about your loss of an idol. Fight for gender equality as fiercely as you would to see that person just one more time. Speak out against injustices as loud as you sing in your car because the silence is deafening and far too often deadly.
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.