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