I have a feeling that I am about to share with you all is going to cause some debate, whether that be within yourself of with me… all opinions aside, hear me out… please.
A friend of a friend has just recently, and bravely, come out that he is transexual.
I, and a lot of people, can only begin to imagine how scary sharing something so personal and important about yourself can be… finding the courage alone is one thing but standing up for who you are and taking the steps to become that person completely is just something else – truly inspiring.
However, the frustrating part of what I am about to share is that there are still people, companies and cultural groups who still can’t accept the fact that some men and women want to be transexual. It’s who they are.
It’s like someone asking me ‘why are you straight?’
Because I am? Transexual is this persons person. It’s who they are – it’s what makes them them. Why should a person’s sexuality and way of life, physicality’s aside, determine how others treat, judge or speak to or about them in a degrading way.
My friend, who has become very close with this guy, told me that he decided he wanted to throw himself in at the deep end, enter a clothing store, Coast, and ask to try on a dress.
Now before I carry on explaining what happened, let’s put this into perspective. If I, for example, entered a predominantly men’s clothing store, such as Topman, and went to try something on, I doubt I’d be told no. But why is that?
It’s because the notion of a women wearing clothes initially designed for men is far more widely accepted than men wearing women’s. And that is because people can’t accept and won’t even try to accept change. They won’t even entertain the possibility that its 2017 and the world is progressing, and positively progressing!
So this guy has walked into coast, found dress he liked the look of and asked the sales assistant if he could try it on. The sales assistant told him point blank that there weren’t any fitting rooms and that he would have to buy the dress first and try it on at home.
My friend later text me asking if this particular Coast had fitting rooms and she knew I had shopped there before, and I replied that of course they do… slightly confused. When she then told me what happened I was just so shocked and upset for him.
I understand that women’s clothing shops have rules about male companions waiting outside fitting rooms in order to give the females trying on clothes a bit more security and privacy… fair.
But this guy wasn’t asking to linger around the fitting rooms. He was asking to go into a cubicle, close the curtain behind him and privately try on this dress. This shop, whilst probably following ‘protocol’ probably made him feel like the smallest person on earth by saying no and not allowing him to be himself.
It baffles me that on the catwalks at LFWM last month we saw a UNISEX collection by Vivienne Westwood congratulated, celebrated and admired because it’s ‘fashion’ and of course anything seen on the catwalk must be right… right? WRONG.
It cannot just be accepted for one week only. It cannot just be ‘street style’ for that perfect picture. It cannot just be for the select few with the right amount of followers on social media who wear things to stick with the crowd they associate with and please said followers. It cannot just be for them – the acceptance felt once the designer comes out after the show to a flurry of applause has to, and must, carry on and migrate into everyday life, long after the doors close. It cannot just stop just because the trends change so therefore the designs change in order to stay relevant.
Like it or not – it’s already happening. This guy was trying to continue making it happen. But because catwalk fashion is regarded as just that, catwalk, it hasn’t yet made its mark on the high street. Brands like Zara have introduced a unisex collection but nothing stands out as associating with one gender enough for it to make an impact – it’s just a bunch of basic items with ‘unisex’ printed on the label for good measure – they’ve done it solely to create a reaction but in my opinion it’s a poor effort.
So Coast said no? He tried – he might not have succeeded, but if he can confidently walk into any clothes shop he wants and ask to try on a dress, or anything high street fashion deems ‘female’ with the same guts he used in Coast, I applaud him and hope this one small lapse in societies judgement wont stop him from asking again.