Fashion Activism

Fashion Activism
Originally uploaded by p2son.

On Mackinaw island in Northern MI, where cars are prohibited and only people of color serve you your dinner, I ventured by ferry with a group of progressive queers to the Grand Hotel for dinner and to present my piece Talkin’ Trash in the Homo No Mo Halfway House.

Last week in an e-mail the queer non-profit sponsoring the event informed us,

Men are required to wear a coat and tie and women a dress or pant suit.

Okay, that pissed me off. Boys dress like this and girls dress like that. Whose rules do we follow?

So on Saturday I bought a skirt that went beautifully with my Zegna summer weight charcoal gray suit.

Gender Queer, I marched through the dinning room, a living performance art piece. The racial/class divide in the room grieved me. (Knowing too that my own white male privilege enabled me to take these steps).

Time constraints kept me from doing my prepared prsentation, instead I spoke about the power of telling our stories, of white male power and privilege and the need for this particular foundation to learn from the scholars about how to not only be inclusive but to become liberating.

And I felt liberated in a whole new way.

Preach the Gospel at all times, when necessary, use words St. Francis of Assisi

This post has 13 Comments

  1. abbyladybug on July 18, 2005 at 1:22 pm

    Nice! Totally random story. My boyfriend and I were in San Francisco visiting friends, and we ended up in Sephora trying to find a cologne that he and I BOTH liked. We ended up settling on Essenza di Zegna, but because it was Christmas season, and because Aaron is a total goof, he started dancing around saying “Essenza di Santa! Essenza di Santa,” saying that his cologne smelled of gingerbread and Christmas trees!

  2. Scott on July 18, 2005 at 8:08 pm

    Great skirt!

  3. Willie Hewes on July 18, 2005 at 10:19 pm

    Man, I love a guy who can wear a skirt! 😀 Way to go.

    A friend of mine, who is married-with-two-kids and a happy heterosexual, wears skirts in his spare time. He’s a big guy, and no one would mistake him for a woman, but he just likes wearing skirts, not to be a hellraiser or anything, it’s just part of who he is.

    And he pulls it off, too. It doesn’t look incongrous, in fact, skirts look quite good on him. So yes, I say we should have more men wearing skirts. And dresses. Yes, frilly dresses with bows and short pleated skirts…

    Er, sorry, getting a little carried away there. Anyway, you go! W0000T!

  4. Anonymous on July 18, 2005 at 11:23 pm

    I hope you realize I’m one of your biggest fans…

    and especially after this!


  5. Clint from GCN on July 19, 2005 at 1:02 am

    Those folks so beyond do *not* get it.

    Why do the excluded exclude? It makes no sense to me.


  6. Quev on July 19, 2005 at 1:21 pm

    Seriously great pic. I’m reminded of when I was a teenager in SE Asia, and I joined my fellow male expat kids in wearing a sarong (or longi, depending on what it was called in the country I was in at the time) around the house, at the pool, wherever. None of us thought anything of it, since it was the standard casual wear among local men and women alike.

    So when I moved to the U.S., I was nonplussed the first time I met my stateside friends at the door in a sarong. They flipped out; you would have thought I greeted them wearing nothing but a penis sheath. Their reaction irritated me in something approaching the way you were irritated by that e-mail. So much fuss over a few seams in fabric.

  7. Ryan on July 20, 2005 at 2:42 am

    Ha! Cool man. Skirts are tha shit. And to Abby, I like Beyonce’s “true star” on chicks. Britney’s one is good too, but everybody has issues buying that.

  8. Liz Opp on July 21, 2005 at 2:04 am

    I learn from you, over and over again. I appreciate the link to the word “genderqueer.” It’ll be a good resource that I can share with my “still not getting it” Quaker meeting.

    And I really need the reminder that you close with: Preach the Gospel at all times; when necessary, use words.

    Liz, The Good Raised Up

  9. Jennifer on July 21, 2005 at 1:07 pm

    Hey! What’s wrong with a little cross dressing? It seems to be mnore accepted when females cross dress compared to when males do the same thing. I’ll admit that I’m guilty of cross dressing, an unconventional confession, and just when everyone thought I was innocent and angelic (like people every actually think that about me anyways).

  10. Jay Sennett on July 21, 2005 at 1:28 pm

    I’ve blogged about your fashion activism at

    I bow to you in gratitude.

  11. John on July 28, 2005 at 8:19 am

    It would actually piss me off too if I had to wear a suit to dinner. I like to dress casual all the time.I think that’s what they meant because some places you can’t dress casual, and they inform you that “Men are required to wear a coat and tie and women a dress or pant suit.”

    When people usually think of dress codes the last thing in their minds is a grown man wearing a dress lol.Seriously if I saw a man wearing what I see you wearing in the picture,I would say stay away from that guy he looks nuts.

    And that’s what their reaction was.It’s totally normal I seen it happen before lol.I seriously don’t get the dress statement though. Female wannabe statement?

    Men can wear dresses and it can not look funny as hell?

  12. Brad on July 28, 2005 at 9:03 am

    Dude nice dress it’s hella pimp! Nah seriously though I dont think girls clothes match guys.Girls clothes are feminine and it matches the female body.And me I would hate it if girls started dressing like guys!

    I can see why it is the way it is.Girls and guys match their stereotyped clothes because it matches nature. Look back at caveman times you see a man in shorts and cape and a woman wearing a dress.

    I’m pretty sure that cavewomen had shorts too, but the caveman made a new dress code.

  13. Anonymous on June 25, 2007 at 6:35 pm

    You are an biggest dickhole I have ever seen. You totally missed the whole point of the grand hotel and mackinac for that matter. I feel ashamed for my generation because of you!

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