Empowerment on Parade: Walking the Queer Catwalk in NYC

Written by | The Lens

Couture can be delicate, daring and dazzling. But at this year’s New York Fashion Week, armor was all the rage.

Models donned impossibly chic apparel as a defense against hetero society’s increasingly hostile attacks. America continues to criminalize drag and marginalize the LGBTQ+ community, but the fashionistas are fighting back.

“Standing in our truths and showing up as our most authentic selves is beautiful, but it is also dangerous.” These were the defiant sentiments of dapperQ magazine owner Anita Dolce Vita. In a statement to NBC News, she continued, “Creating this space is so important because it is a safe space.”

The dapperQ runway show kicked off Fashion Week with a stiletto stab and an eye for collabs. Among the magazine’s partners was Transguy Supply, an Out outlet for contoured clothes and cuddly cakes.

The theme was Bloom, a nod to the ways in which we struggle through the muck of oppression to become radiant and resilient. Bloom’s audience was a who’s-who of haute harmony. Trans model turned activist Jari Jones was in attendance espousing the importance of visibility over vulnerability.

“When we start to see more representation of ourselves, other people start to humanize us — that’s how we change laws, that’s how we change society.”

And that change is a matter of life and death for some at-risk youth.

“These kids’ mental health is at stake,” exclaimed Devin-Norelle, a model who emblazoned the words Protect Trans Kids on their arms for the event.

“I think about all the friends that I lost from suicide because they weren’t respected, because they were targeted.”

Bravely pivoting from the personal to the political, Devin-Norelle concluded, “When you attack trans kids, you attack us too.”

This is a fundamental concept our representatives fail to understand: we are united. You may think you’re scoring cheap political points when you demonize trans athletes or jeopardize gay health care, but your cruelty will double back on you.

Homophobes wither away in a shrinking, pathetic bubble. Meanwhile, our conscience and consideration flourish to vast new volumes with every creative expression we make. One might say our love for inclusion is eternally in Bloom.

Last modified: September 20, 2022