There is absolutely nothing you must abide by and there’s no such thing as ‘boy things’ and ‘girl things’. Playing with your look is one of heaps of ways you can explore or express your gender.
Some of the things trans and gender diverse persons use to explore their identity. For many trans persons wearing makeup can be like wearing a second skin and a great way to better express yourself. Trans and Gender Diverse persons wear bras and padding. Shopping for bras can be a new, awkward and sometimes a scary and discriminatory experience. It can be hugely rewarding and feel amazing to finally feel like you. Binding is also a way for trans men to feel like they are properly expressing their gender, binding is a temporary and non-surgical way to reduce the size of one’s chest. A binder is used to compress your chest to make it appear flat/smaller. Many trans womxn and gender diverse persons tuck, tucking is used to create a flat front in the pants and reduce the visibility of a penis.
Another way of gender expression is dragging, performing in drag is very liberating and can be used as an advocacy tool. “The potent and confrontational art of drag has often been visible on the front lines of LGBT activism. That tradition continues today in the performances and campaigns of prominent Queens” – Chris Godfrey.
Dressed in feminine or masculine clothing; with elaborate makeup and wigs, Queens and Kings usually adopt an eccentric persona or a character that might act as a means of self-expression of their own personalities or allow them to characterize various personality attributes in order to express their gender freely.
In March 2020 Levi’s ran a LEVI’S® PRIDE 2020 Campaign, they followed and documented a very prominent figure, advocate for self- expression and drag queen in South Africa Manila von Teez. Levi’s championed Manila’s story of change and expression, her story of unapologetic self-expression.” A call to realise that your voice is your power, that it’s the author of your anthem, the vocalization of your expression; the chorus of your community” – LEVI’S®
Watch as Levi ventured from backstage to spotlight, from vulnerable to fierce, through the voice of Manila Von Teez during Cape Town Pride 2020.
Article by Leila Ebrahim