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Fashion and the LGBTQ Community: A Partnership Working For Freedom

The LGBTQ community and fashion have long been intertwined. From shows like “Queer Eye” delivering makeovers to people around Atlanta to the Met Gala celebrating camp fashion in 2019, you don’t have to look hard to find intersections between style and sexuality. While the LGBTQ community has shaped fashion as the modern world knows it, it goes beyond just stylistic choices. There’s a certain freedom to be found in the partnership of queerness and style.

LGBTQ Designers 

Since high fashion houses came about, queer designers have been at the forefront. Born in 1905, Christian Dior rose to fame around World War 2, when he began his own fashion house that is still wildly influential today. Although it wasn’t acceptable by society then, Dior was known to have an interest in men, something that young queer designers have looked up to ever since.

In more recent history, icons like Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana of Dolce & Gabbana have always been open about their sexuality. Coming onto the scene in the mid-1980s, the world wasn’t nearly as closed off toward LGBTQ creators. The designs Dolce & Gabbana pioneered in the 38 years the fashion house has been around have shaped modern style, from the use of animal prints to the re-popularization of the corset as outerwear.

Queer Fashion History

When it comes to queer fashion history, there have been countless notable icons. People like Billy Porter, Elton John, and David Bowie are known worldwide for not only their unique sense of style but also their outspoken sexualities.

Ultimately, fashion is one of the purest forms of self-expression. When liberties like gender-affirming care and basic human rights for LGBTQ people are under attack, freedom of expression can save lives. Although the world seems to have regressed in terms of its tolerance, nothing can stop the joy that exudes from fashion.

Queer folks have always expressed themselves through what they wear, and they will continue to do so. Whether that’s through a white tank top and yellow leather jacket like Freddie Mercury or Sarah Paulson turning heads as Cordelia in “American Horror Story wearing a full D&G ensemble, LGBTQ people will find independence through their clothing.

Pride Month and Fashion

Every June, many countries worldwide celebrate Pride along with the queer community. The famed Stonewall riots happened in late June, which has led to the month being a celebration and remembrance of everything the LGBTQ community has gone through. One of the most notable figures at Stonewall was Marsha P Johnson, a black trans woman, who is also heralded as a fashion icon for many queer people.

Her style was very bold and lively, with florals and pearls being some of her staples. When you look at a picture of Marsha “Pay it No Mind” Johnson, it’s impossible not to feel some of the joy with which she lived her life.

Such is true for many LGBTQ folks today. If you go to a Pride parade or festival, you’ll see fashions you don’t often see on the street that tell of freedom and joy– tenets that queer people may not get to live in their daily lives.

Fashion and the LGBTQ community will always be deeply and intimately connected. Finding liberation, autonomy, and self-expression through fashion has helped build the style industry, and will continue to do so.

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