Queer Signaling in Fashion

The world of fashion is so extensive; a lot of the times it blurs and blends with other concepts, ideals, and issues. One of these many angles of fashion is that of Gender and Sexuality. How do we see gender norms being broken in fashion? How do these gender norms relate to sexual orientation? How is queerness implied through fashion?

The LGBTQ+ community is so diverse and complex in its essence. There are so many niches, identities, and more embedded into the community that makes the sMost of the queer community hides themselves by merging in with “straight” culture or hiding in the metaphorical closet. Even those that are “out” even choose to distance themselves from the community as sexuality is not an outwardly recognizable identity. However, the community as a whole adapts to certain markers to communicate with one another. These items serve as non verbal acknowledgments of sexual orientation and some have even become so common that heterosexual culture recognizes them as well.

There are so many facets to the concept of queer signaling through fashion that many of us even in the community get confused. Some of the most common staples include but are not limited to the left Gay earring, the lesbian flannel, asexual black ring, and the handkerchief code. These signals in fashion goes even further to the extent that queer micro-labels identify their own staple labels. The lesbian community is known to have smaller staples such as silver and turquoise rings that go beyond butch and femme labelings. Honestly, this goes to show how fashion creates unity within the queer community.

It is harmful to generalize the queer community as “fashion-conscious” as such actions tend to trivialize the depth of the community. There are quite a few of these stereotypes regarding fashion in the community that muddle the importance of queer signaling. Ideas that coastal queers are more fashionable than those in the midwest and pushing the idea that all gay men are into fashion can cause the community to stray away from signaling in a show of divergence from the norm. In trying to breakdown these harmful stereotypes, the community can also distance itself from fashion based signaling which is quite essential.

It is consequently important to recognize the importance of fashion in the community as fashion creates bonding on a tribal level in the gay community.

Sources

Fashion and Clothing: Gay Identities

Queer Fashion and Style

Queer Semiotics in Dress

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