What a week for Trans/GNC Excellence

Just when it seemed like the world was taking a step in the wrong direction regarding Trans equality when the US Supreme Court allowed Trump’s transgender ban for the military, a number of campaigns have provided transgender people with hope that they have support whilst continuing to fight for their rights.

However in this blog post, I will not focus on the negative events that have occurred recently for the transgender and GNC community. I would like to focus on the advances from larger organisations this week which have came through to show support and showcase trans and non-binary excellence. The first is the Chime for Change zine from Gucci and the second is the Amplify – They Power, a digital cover story from Gay Times.

Both of these publications showcase some amazing work from 2 POWERHOUSES within the GNC community Jamie Windust and Wednesday. Alongside these two, an amazing calibre of other queer writers, artists and activists are featured such as Travis Alabanza and Alok Vaid-Menon to name a few. They both have are amazing creatives with amazing work. Jamie (who I have mentioned multiple times on this blog) is the Editor in Chief of FRUITCAKE  Magazine, a publication written by solely the LGBTQIA+ community. They have become a striking advocate for the non-binary community with the publication of their magazine along with their public speaking at a number of events educating people about their community with poise and eloquence.

Wednesday, a non-binary artist, has produced some of the most awe-inspiring art I have come across, each with a message to advocate for the queer community. Just take a look at their Instagram, it is literally full of positivity and beauty. Their art focuses on issues such as misgendering, mental health and transphobia. Their work communicates strong messages but in a beautiful way, I find that the meaning behind each of their art is so sharp, yet the actual art provides each message in such a candid and light hearted way.

The first campaign I will be focusing on is the Chime for Change zine from Gucci. Created in 2013 and paired up with Beyonce and Salma Hayek to fight for gender equality and women empowerment. The new chapter that was unveiled this week continues with the main focus of gender equality, however includes more of our non-binary siblings and I am totally here for it. The zine is introduced with empowering messages about changing society including the quote below.

“WHAT YOU ARE HOLDING IS NOT ONLY AN OBJECT OF BEAUTY, IT IS A TOOL THAT CAN CONNECT US TO EACH OTHER AND IS THEREFORE SOMETHING GREATER THAN OURSELVES” – Adam Eli (community organiser and writer for Chime for Change)

I feel that this message is more important than ever recently, as I find there is not enough mediums showcasing Trans/GNC people. They have all existed within our communities for longer than you would think, so why are some people still seeing it as a trend?. Visibility is what is needed for us to keep fighting for equality. I can recognise myself as a white cis gay man that although I may have had prejudice due to my sexual orientation, I will not know how it feels to be judged, abused and assaulted because of my race, gender or disability. This will not stop me from being an ally for everyone within the LGBTQIA+ community as we need to stand a united front of solidarity. I feel education and providing a platform for the Trans/GNC community, especially people of colour, to have their voiced heard is essential as well as praising credit where it is due.

This publication also showcases the art of one of my favourite artists on Instagram, Wednesday. As I mentioned above their art is quite political when it comes to human rights activism, but manages to portray the messages of their art in a vibrant and eye catching way. They created a small zine for Gucci explaining ways your can advance gender equality in your everyday life, which will be able to help anyone who wishes to be an ally actually forward the equality debate and stand with the people who need it. Now.

The second campaign is the Amplify – They Power digital cover story from Gay Times.  This consists of a number of interviews by Jamie Windust with Alok Vaid-Menon, Hawk Snipes, Dee Trannybear and Devin-Norelle, all who identify as Trans/GNC. Though Gay Times is probably not read as much by the straights, the exposure for more non-binary and trans people will educate the members and allies in the queer community in understanding them and provide us with ways in which we can support them. I can say that a year ago I was really not educated in GNC and non-binary people, but since then I have delved into the queer excellence that is available on Instagram. This exposed me to the variety of voices, opinions and debates which I had never even considered were happening within our community.

I’ve just realised I was talking about myself again and this is not what this blog post is about. SNAP. OUT. OF. IT. DEAN. Anyway back to Amplify, Jamie asks these beautiful individuals an array of questions from ways in which we can explore our femininity to using pronouns such as ze/zim. Jamie’s introduction is a great setting out for identifying the problems that trans/GNC people face in everyday life. They identify not only the struggles that they face from the public, but also with themselves being self criticising due to the high standards that they have set themselves. I personally have only followed Jamie for about 9 months, however the amount of times they have stunned me, I see them at a very high standard and have the utter most respect for them and what they do.

To conclude my sweets, this week has been amazing for the exposure of the trans and gender non-conforming community. The organisations who have provided them with a platform to tell their story have set a bar for other magazines/companies to follow. We are still a long way off the equality that these people deserve, however these publications are a step in the right direction.

Peace, Love and Pinot…

Deano x

Instagrams:

Jamie Windust – @leopardprintelephant

Wednesday – @hellomynameiswednesday

Travis Alabanza – @travisalabanza

Alok Vaid-Menon – @alokvmenon

The creation of my most extra outfits

Hey sweets, just here checking in again. Recently I have been struggling with a mental block when it comes to designing garments, not too sure whether this was due to the Christmas period being a complete whirlwind, or whether I’ve just lost my touch. This post is going to be looking back at my favourite creations in a hope that this will spark up my inspiration again.

 

The first garment is the latex and denim outfit that I created for Polyglamorous in Brighton, a new queer club night at Pop Vault. If you ever get a chance to go, please do as it was incredible, from what I remember. This is the look which will probably pop back up on my Instagram for the next 10 years, it comprised of blue latex shorts along with a blue latex and elastic top/harness?? Don’t really know what to call that… fabulous, we’ll go with that. Also paired with this because latex obviously wasn’t extra enough were some denim chaps with a denim jacket (as it was December hunnies).

 

 

To be honest, I did not make this outfit from scratch. I bought some blue latex trousers and a pair of jeans. However, what I did was alter the trousers into shorts and sewed the white edging onto them. The same for the chaps, I bought a cheap pair of jeans from Primark, and went to town with the scissors. I first cut out the shape that I wanted for the chaps and used the white edging to neaten up the edges. The top was made out of the material that I cut off the latex trousers and some white elastic, it wasn’t my best idea as the cut of the trousers did not match the cut of my arms… obvs, so a bit of altering was required.

 

 

The second garment I’ll be looking at is the fabulous rainbow fringe denim jacket that I created for Manchester Pride. Unfortunately due to a series of unfortunate events, I was not able to showcase this outside my friend’s flat, however I do plan to wear it when I go to see the Spice Girls later on this year. Now, this garment is probably one of my favourites to date. I bought as white denim jacket, white denim jeans and a ridiculous amount of ribbon from Hobbycraft. To start, I used the material from the white denim jeans to create a base layer for the fringe. I then cut the ribbon for the fringe, making 3 layers of different lengths. The ribbon was then sewed onto the white denim fringe, with the excess denim at the top to fold over and the top and create the finished edge.

 

 

After all the fringe was made, I then sewed this onto the jacket by hand, as using a machine to sew up a sleeve is near impossible (if anyone knows of any hints or tricks hit me up tysm). Once all the fringe was on the jacket, I was bouncing around so pleased with the outcome. I then added the rhinestones on the jacket just to give the front a bit of colour and to make the lines pop. ALSO can we pls appreciate how tanned I am in the images above?!

 

 

The final garment I will showboat on this blog post is my American Football Pads which I slightly altered. This look was also for Manchester Pride, and I honestly don’t know how I’m going to top these outfits this year, well tbh it’s very rare that I top anything (open to interpretation). This garment literally is what Ariana Grande was talking about in thank u, next. Because it taught me love, patience and pain. I think this took me about 60 hours to make altogether. Individually rhinestoning it all made me feel like my eyes were bleeding. I bought the pads from ebay, I bet the seller would be horrified if they knew what I did to them. The hot glue gun was from Hobbycraft and the fuck load of silver rhinestones were from The Range. I decided to add a bit of volume to the pads cause yanno, they weren’t big enough as they were, by gluing the floral decorations from The Range onto the shoulders of the pads.

 

 

The football pads did start to get a bit heavy towards the end of the night, or the alcohol started taking its toll. Either way I will just blame it on gravity rather than the stupid idea of adding an additional 10Kg to an already heavy garment. Anything for aesthetic, beauty is pain etc. I am now hoarding the pads in the bottom of my cupboard with no use for them whatsoever but I cannot bring myself to get rid of them.

 

 

So there is an insight of the work that i put into these extra AF outfits just for the gram. I’m sure there’s plenty of more productive ways I could be spending my time but it keeps me out of trouble, Brenda. TYSM. Hopefully I will have a light bulb moment and think of some fabulous garments to make soon. Not all hope is lost though, as I do have a number of outfits planed for upcoming events.

 

Peace, Love and Pinot…

Deano x

Why I was reluctant to come out out to my colleagues

Imagine it, your boss comes into your office asking “So do you have a girlfriend you’d like to bring to the Christmas dinner?” and you just freeze, INTERNALLY SCREAMING. This was me. To describe as what was happening all through my body as perspiration is a complete understatement. I had not felt this sensation since I came out to my parents (which turned out okay), making me realise how trivial the idea of ‘coming out’ to my colleagues was.

To understand the reason why I was so reluctant to come out in work I’ll have to give you some background info. I work in the construction industry as a Structural Engineer, pretty much second in command in the office at the age of 23. This is regularly mistaken due to my baby face when people ask “are you on work experience” to which I reply with no, I’m fully qualified and will be single handedly working on your project (with a slight twitch in my eye).

The majority of people I work with are; cis gendered, straight, white, older men. This is probably why I probably pre-empt homophobia which generally wouldn’t occur (although in a survey mentioned in the next paragraph it was found that 28% of LGBTQ+ individuals within the construction industry have had an offensive or inappropriate comment made about their gender or sexuality towards them in the past year).  Now, I can say that I’m definitely not the masc guy that no one will even suspect to be gay (if work saw my Instagram page I think they would be horrified). However, I still try to keep it professional in work as people tend to underestimate me as explained above, which unfortunately means I can’t throw glitter as I walk into every meeting. The people outside my company who I work with on a daily, are generally really nice don’t get me wrong, I could easily have a chat with them if I saw them outside of work, yet when I am with my boyfriend and I see them in public from afar, I try to avoid them (why?). I tend to take the “if they don’t ask, don’t tell” approach with these individuals as I feel that my sexuality should have no impact on the work that I produce. Does this mean I’m ignorant or hesitant to push boundaries within this male dominated industry.

Lets look at the construction industry, it is a known fact that this industry has a high suicide rate and mainly consists of cis males. Is this due to the masculine attitude, where workers feel that they can’t turn to anyone with their problems as they may be seen as weak? Many charities such as Mates in Mind are looking to tackle issues like these by providing large organisations with information on support for mental health. Kier is one of the large organisations that have been trying to include LGBTQ+ workers in the construction industry. They have started to address these issues by initiatives such as creating the #BuildingEquality committee, marching in Pride parades and changing all the Kier flags on their sites to the rainbow flag through Pride Month. The aim for the committee is to reduce the stress and anxiety levels of LGBTQ+ employees in the workplace within the construction industry. Kier also states on their website regarding #BuildingEquality that a survey conducted by Construction News showed over half (56%) of LGBTQ+ individuals are uncomfortable about being open about their sexuality or gender within this industry. It’s large companies like these which provide awareness towards the major issues within the industry and implementing schemes to tackle them which will stimulate other businesses to take the same perspective.

After doing some research for this post, I am now glad that I replied to my boss with “I will ask my boyfriend and see if he is available”. Working in a small company, I was less likely to come across the initiatives within the construction industry to try and include LGBTQ+ individuals to be open about their sexuality or gender. Therefore, I am pleased that I have done the research and will be more than happy to implement initiatives like these into my office.

Peace, Love and Pinot…

Deano x

Clearing out my social media

Recently I have spoken about social media and how it was directly affecting myself. I quickly touched base on how striving for online popularity was impacting my work and social life, however I did not think of how it could be subconsciously influencing me. This post will talk about the indirect ways in which the main social media platforms made me feel about myself in a negative way.

The most obvious one which has been discussed multiple times was the way in which social media makes us feel about our bodies. I do think that following certain people who motivate you to better your body is encouraging, however following every drug and Facetune enhanced body on social media can also be detrimental to your perception of yourself. This is where I considered the attitudes of the people I follow on social media, do they motivate me?

This brings me onto my next point. After considering the above, I realised how many men I followed that would emanate the true meaning of toxic masculinity. I thought, why do I follow these people on social media if I know that I would never be friends with someone like them in real life? Their attitudes would actually make me cringe but I still followed them because why? Because they’re good looking? Give it a rest Dean. The first ones to leave my dashboard were the “straight acting” gay men. An article by Darren Stehle called ‘The Internalised Homophobia of “Straight Acting” Gay Men’ was a very interesting read, its available on Medium.com and worth having a look at. I found that following these individuals made me surpress my ‘femme’ness when I should definitely be embracing it. I have no problem with characters who’s characteristics naturally come off as “straight” as this is the common default in our society. However, with individuals who label themselves as “straight acting” or discourage men to be femme by forcing their lad like nature, this is where I’m jumping ship, sorry lads.

Even though this post is about clearing out my social media, I also decided to completely shift the demographic of who I do follow. Following more LGBTQIA+ activists such as Munroe BergdorfJamie Windust and Kenny Jones has really changed my perspective and has completely inspired me over the past 6 months. I can hold my hands up and say that I used to be a self-absorbed gay who didn’t really think about forwarding the LGBTQ movement, maybe this was because I was naïve as I was one of the least discriminated within the LGBTQ community? This a contrast to now, where I educate myself on all debates that impact any members of the LGBTQIA+ community and try to raise awareness to my following on social media. This may cause certain people to unfollow me but if you don’t support the LGBTQ movement, then in the words of Ariana Grande… Thank u, next.

Peace, Love and Pinot…

Deano x

New Years Resolutions – 2K19 2K Nein Dean

I know it may be a bit early to be thinking about New Years Resolutions, most of us tend to have them, but do we tend to stick to them? This year my resolution was to spend more money on experiences rather than material things. I kind of stuck to this as I did spend more money on experiences, but did not compromise my spending on clothes either. I look back now on my spending and have come to the conclusion that this is what I need to crack down on in 2019.

 

This is where the 2k19 = 2k Nein Dean comes in.

 

This meaning that I need to start telling myself no as I have been draining all my wages on events and items that I generally could not afford. I have currently been living in the short term and not been thinking about long-term investments, but I always tend to think “future Dean can deal with that later”. I love to keep my social calendar full, if I have a free weekend in 2 months time you can be sure that I will be hitting up the group chat ‘ding ding’ planning yet another night out. I would like to say that the reason why I am so busy is because I constantly get FOMO, yet I’m not sure how you can have FOMO with events that I haven’t even planned yet. Being reflective, I need to work on being able to enjoy my own company. I aim do this by working on my sewing and blogging, but in a way that it comes organically rather than overworking myself.

 

In the words of Miss Kylie Jenner – I feel that 2019 is the year of “realising things and realising stuff”. Looking over how my mentality has changed over the past year, I wish to continue to educate myself in certain areas where I my knowledge is a mile wide and an inch deep. Due to the current situation in global politics, for the first time in my life I feel that I want to read more into this. Now I will hold my hands up and admit that I am not familiar enough with this area to be having deep political debates, but hopefully reading more political articles will allow me to be more “woke”. However, on a lighter note, I also want to educate myself on LGBTQIA+ issues, as I feel that there are so many more debates within the community, specifically those affecting Trans/Non-binary groups, which I want to learn more about. I would like to give my bestie Poppy (@poppybottle on insta) a shout out as she has helped me broaden my perceptions within the LGBT community so far, and I cannot wait to continue “realising things and realising stuff” in 2019… as long as it’s queer.

 

To be fair, let’s see how long I can keep this up cause I will probably end up drinking my life away within the next 12 months and will completely forget this blog post. I hope you guys will join me in completely ignoring responsibilities and making poor life choices in 2019.

 

Peace, Love and Pinot

 

Deano xoxo

Why I’m not trying to be an “influencer” anymore.

According to Pixlee, the definition of a social media influencer is “a user on social media who has established credibility in a specific industry. A social media influencer has access to a large audience and can persuade others by virtue of their authenticity and reach”. I feel that the term ‘influencer’ seems a bit pretentious and gives the users a lot more credibility than in reality, I follow multiple influencers on social media however rarely find that their opinions or behaviours affect the decisions that I personally make. I generally follow these influencers mainly for the aesthetics of their content rather than for guidance on how I should live my life.  Maybe this is due to me being naïve as they probably do influence small things that I do like where I may choose to eat, but I feel that when it comes to the content that I produce on social media, I tend to only take inspiration from these users and creating my own take based on my values and preferences e.g. I hate avocados, and I’m not going to go to an avocado restaurant purely because an influencer went there.

The title of this blog seems to be quite hypocritical of me, and if you guys know me in real life, you’ll know that this is pretty much on brand for me. However, I have recently discovered that I am not the kind of person who can keep up the influencer lifestyle whilst still trying to keep a healthy relationship with work and friends etc. I’m not saying that this is not achievable and there are multiple ‘Instagram famous’ people out there who can do this, but I found that I was getting so engrossed in trying to become an influencer that I wasn’t being genuine with the people around me.

How these influencers find time to do washing, cleaning, work and see friends on top of finding time to write blogs, go to events and to keep up their social media bewilders me. I found that trying to keep up with all of this, I was pretty much annoying everyone around me, trying to find the next ‘background’ for my peacocking along with getting my friends to constantly take about 1000 photos of me and hearing ‘ew no I don’t like that one’ repetitively.

I know that this has been said multiple times and I don’t want to sound too preachy, but I found myself constantly doing stuff for the gram which, after having the self realisation, I noticed that most of us millennials do. I found that I was starting to find the things that I am passionate about, and would showcase on social media, was becoming a chore. 

In relation to the above, I was struggling to design and sew new garments to maintain a relevant social media presence whilst being constantly exhausted. Then constantly being exhausted was playing havoc on my mental health, causing my mood to fluctuate and making me even less productive in work, which I registered was starting to take a back seat to my attempt to become a blogger/influencer.

I do pride myself in my work, being a senior engineer in my practice at just the age of 23. I constantly get asked if I’m on work experience which I never know whether to take this as an insult or a compliment. I have invested the past 5 years to get to where I am and realised, that I, an engineer with no higher education qualifications in Journalism or English Writing (as evident in these blogs) is trying to get into a time consuming hobby/second career that mainly involves… writing. 

Therefore, to conclude, I am not trying to be an influencer as I find that I would prefer to invest myself into the relationships and passions that I have grown to love whilst writing blogs/sewing at a pace where I can continue to have a passion for them. I have registered that by forcing myself, becoming an influencer will be unattainable without compromising my; already hectic schedule, geographical location (middle of nowhere) or mental stability. From experience, realistically the mental stability will be the first to go and I need to think which do I need more; my mental health or 100k followers on social media.

Peace, Love and Pinot

Deano xoxo

Sewing and just not knowing…

So, here it goes, my first official blog post. Within this post I will be talking about the different items of clothing that I have created touching on any hints or tips I came across whilst creating them. As mentioned before in my previous blog post (I sound like I’m sending a very passive aggressive email) I bought a midi multi-purpose sewing machine from Hobbycraft for only £40. It’s nothing too fancy but perfect for someone who is starting out using a sewing machine like me. There are no overly complicated features which would send an amateur into a confused panic, and the user guide helps with anything that you may not know.

I would like to also thank my friend Mat (@matski89) for buying me a sewing box and the Simple Tailoring & Alterations book by Francois-Campbell which has a load of simple hints and tricks when it comes to making your own clothes. All these components and a glass of Pinot Noir later, I finally started making my first outfit with the sewing machine, well maybe more than one glass. Okay, a bottle.


THE BLACK BRACED CROP TOP

My first challenge with this top is trying to find a fabric store in Cheltenham or Gloucester. After trawling around both cities trying to find a shop which sells loads of fabric under one roof, hallelujah I managed to find one just a 5 minute walk from my work. I decided to go for a black velvety fabric as it caught my eye as I was looking around the shop. I decided to buy a tonne of it because apparently I thought I was making a garment for the BFG. I have since realised that I only really need to buy fabrics at the most, 2m at a time. 

The inspiration for this top came from Aquaria’s werkroom outfits from the episode Cher: The unauthorised Rusical from season 10 of RuPaul’s Drag Race. I instantly fell in love with the design of the crop top which clipped onto the trousers. After scouring the internet for what seemed like 3 decades, I gave up. Could not find it anywhere. Frustrating. Hence this led to me thinking, it can’t be that hard to make, all I need to do is find a simple pattern and there’s my starting block to create the garment. I already had some old braces which were broken which I could cut the buckles off to sew onto the crop top, what could possibly go wrong?

I started out using a simple t-shirt pattern that I found on Mood Fabrics which, by the way, perfect for starting out seamstresses and tailors. As well as selling fabrics they run a blog and the Sewciety allows for different people to share the patterns and sewing projects they have created, providing advice and tutorials on how to make the garments. After creating the t-shirt, it did require bringing in the seams as I prefer tighter clothes which are more tailored to my slender build. Once this was done I was able to cut out the straps at the bottom of the piece for the braces to attach to. I kept a rough effect on the vest for aesthetic purposes and I was really pleased with the end product.


CROPPED CAMO CO-ORD

Well this garment was not the easiest thing to make. Mainly due to the fact that I didn’t read at the beginning that a 50% stretch fabric should be used for the garment, so of course I chose a fabric with less give in it than a bottom on a Grindr hookup. So there was me cutting out all the patterns (also from the Mood Fabrics website) thinking that a size 10/12 would be perfect, not realising that without the stretch in the fabric, it was probably more suited to a 10/12 year old. 

This outfit required a lot of logistical thinking which my assistant (@matski89 on insta) helped with. There was a lot of “so where does this bit go?” and “now which way up is this?”. However, after many hours spent over the sewing machine, we managed to make it work. Well, so we thought. As mentioned above, when it came to trying it on I felt like on white chicks when he comes out of the dressing room, yanno the part where they’re like “just breathe”? Yeah let me tell you that that was me. But with a bit of artistic reconfiguring and blagging, I managed to turn the sleeves into lapels.

To finish this off I added a black trim to the edges of the garment and black stripes down the side with a zip to accommodate for that extra 50% that I had disregarded. Later on did I find that you can get pre made black edging which looks a lot neater than what I sewed, however this is a learning curve and I know now how to cheat.


I hope you guys have enjoyed this first post regarding my seamSTRESS skills and that I haven’t bored you with a short story on my first world struggles of sewing.

Peace, Love and Pinot

Deano xoxo

The ‘T’ about me

Someone once told me “A wise man once said nothing”, unfortunately for you guys I am not that wise man. This is the first instalment of my so called blog posts on a variety of subjects I feel I have a valid reason to talk about.

Just as a little introduction if any of you guys don’t know me in real life, my name is Dean and I am a structural engineer in Gloucester. You may think what interesting things has a structural engineer living in the middle of nowhere got to say? And I can tell you that probably absolutely nothing interesting comes out of my mouth. They say quality over quantity, but I say mass and sass over significance and class.

I have always had an interest in fashion and have been experimental in what I wear. It wasn’t until recently, where I have pushed the boundaries in my clothing dipping into other styles such as androgynous outfits.

I have started to make my own clothes with the midi sewing machine from Hobbycraft which was only £40. This bargain has allowed me to develop my style without having to conform to the standard clothing that is available elsewhere. There have been plenty of times where I think of an idea or see an item of clothing which gives me inspiration, but I am not able to find what I want anywhere even after hours of searching Google or Instagram.

In my upcoming blog posts, I will discuss the different projects I have been working on with some awkward pictures of me looking into the distance or adjusting my outfit, basically anything that prevents me having to look into the camera and you guys seeing the anxiety in my eyes.

Furthermore, I do love me a good holiday, so I will probably talk about the different places I have been to in and outside of the UK. Touching on my favourite spots I have visited hopefully with photos accompanying them, although I am a few vinos down most of the time so don’t bet on it. This year I have been to Rome, Venice and Berlin outside of the UK and I am currently on the flight to Naples as I am writing this thought-provoking piece. I tend to travel a lot around the UK visiting a lot of university friends, my favourite places being Manchester and London, but usually being too hungover the next day to go to brunch doesn’t really make exciting blog posts.

As you can tell I am not one with words (hence why I went into a career in engineering). However, I feel that you guys will be able to follow and my short and sweet blog posts and if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to use sentences to a GCSE level standard for me to understand.

Peace, Love and Pinot

Deano xoxo