Be Brave

| Feb 13, 2012
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This month I was reminded to bring up something we all need while out at the local department store. It’s not the next trending fashion or a fabulous style you must obtain, it’s something you should already have. It’s bravery and being able to be a brave person out when shopping for the clothes you really want.

I was in a department store yesterday shopping in the women’s department. I was dressed as a man. For those whom do not know I should briefly explain that I am a man with a transgendered/androgynous nature. I’ve decided to channel my femme looks into my art and therefore often do most of my day to day tasks dressed quite manly.

Shopping in the women’s department dressed as a man is always interesting to me. For one, it’s amazing to reflect upon how I used to feel when doing that. The feelings of any trans person shopping for clothes that fit how they feel but often the opposite they look can be very stressful. When you get to the level where you can shop in public and not give a fuck (dressed as your trans self or not) it’s a very free refreshing feeling.

As I browsed the racks of boring clothes I noticed three other very gay men dress shopping as well. I lingered around them for quite some time because I was curious as to why they were dress shopping. Were they trans? Were they drag queens? Were they like me!? After about 15 minutes an old woman employee approached them and nervously asked if there was anything she could help them with. They, in a very feminine, gay tone, carried on about how they were going to a Red Dress Party for “a gag” and had to wear red dresses. The attendant got quite a laugh out of it trying to then help them find a dress that would work.

While in the jewelry department I heard the old lady explaining to her co-workers what the men were doing in the women’s department. “It’s for a fundraiser … it’s a gag!” She said it over and over. Every bit of her story was laced with the disclaimer, “but it’s for a fundraiser.”

Then later I heard her quietly saying, “they were swishy as hell … I mean swishy gay … that’s a word we used back in our day. Those men were complete poofs.” The icing on the cake being, “I helped them pick out dresses, I mean it is our job after all … they’re trying on women’s dresses in the men’s dressing room. I wasn’t about to let a bunch of men use the women’s dressing room!”

While she was proudly stating that it was their job she added, “We don’t discriminate. That’s not what we’re here for.”

Anyone with a brain in their head should be able to see why this is just hilariously sad. It’s an amazing display of a phobic person thinking they aren’t. And it made me think of how terrible it was if those “men” were transgendered women who were uncomfortable with using the men’s dressing room. Mind you, they probably wouldn’t have come dressed in men’s clothing but would she (the attendant) have allowed them in the women’s room if they were already wearing dresses and she could tell that they may not have been genetic women?

Beyond the transphobia there was the homophobic angle. We’re not here to discriminate against those men over there buying dresses whom, by the way if you didn’t know, we preferred to call poofs back in the good old days.

In my very androgynous mind I just can’t believe we still have rooms for certain genders and have to separate each other like animals. The men need to stay over here and the women over there or some very uncomfortable uncontrollable animalistic things will go down. If that’s true then that’s sad.

I rarely go out there and mingle with the world as it is but when I do I am sadly mistaken. The general public treat themselves as the damn dirty apes they think they are. Women over here. Men over there. Don’t mix or madness and rape will occur. The mere thought that the general public believes that gender is one way or another and not a billion ways or just plain fluid is ridiculous to me. I can’t believe people are still that stupid.

It’s all a reminder that we must be brave whenever we go out and about. It’s not about them, it’s about you. You are there for your own fashion sense. Your own end result. They don’t know why you’re there or who you may be shopping for. And if someone does ask, you can always make up a silly excuse. Even if you should just stand proud and say, “No, I’m here for me! These clothes are for me. I am a woman!”

View the video of The Artist D telling her tale of the Department Store. Beware: She can get passionate and use words that may offend the delicate ear.


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Category: Transgender Body & Soul, Transgender Fun & Entertainment, Transgender Opinion

The Artist D

About the Author ()

The Artist D is a true raconteur and provocateur! He has been performing online since the mid 1990s. A relic from the cam show age before MySpace was any space. Author of In Bed with Myself, an autobiographical tale of transgenderism and Internet celebrity. Executive Editor of Fourculture Magazine and host of the Kawfeehaus podcast.

Comments (3)

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  1. chrissytime chrissytime says:

    OMG!!! When, oh when will people open their eyes!?! I wanna shop for dresses but my local dept’ store is staffed by total nightmare teens! I’m stunned by the attendants pride in her own opinion, I mean…jezzzus!!! Best response I’ve had was in Topshop, tried on some plum coloured skinny jeans (n’ they look kickin’!) and asked the attendant ‘does my ass work in these?’ she was cool, ‘yeah, looks great!’ she’s replied with a big smile! My heart beamed sunshine for hours after this, they ain’t all bad, not all of ’em 🙂

    Chrissy xx

  2. oh yes, and of course, it’s okay if it’s for a fund raiser. you can always count on swishy poofs to help out with a fund raiser. unbelievable (not really).

  3. janetcd janetcd says:

    Hi Artist D,
    I was out at JC Penny in Rosedale center, Minnesota last week. I was surfing the JC Penny web site and found a skirt I would like to purchase. I went to the store in mostly male attire, I had two stud earrings in each ear, some light eye shadow and black mascara, my hair it about mid ear length on the sides and I had it in a slight curl. I wrote down the skirt I wanted on a piece of paper at home. At the store there was a SA out on the floor of the women’s department. I got her attention and showed her the piece of paper with the name of skirt I wanted. She took me back to the rack where the east5th collection was. She asked me what size. I said sometimes I can wear a size 12 or sometimes a size 10. She smiled and took out one of each size and handed them to me. She then pointed over to the women’s dressing rooms and said,’you can try the skirts on in the dressing room’. At least the SA didn’t send me to the mens dressing room!