From “Kyle with Style” to Kylie: escaping masculinity and fashion stereotypes

Filth is what was hanging from my hangers. From the time that I was 6 years old, I knew that  the apparel that adorned my closet was wrong. The wretched things that were my boy clothes had to go. Every pair of skinny jeans, fitted shirts, pink and purple polos, denim shorts, suits, ties, were finally off the rack and finally replaced replaced by what I valued most: skirts, form fitting tops, nightgowns, dresses, skinny jeans, and more skirts. My hangers were now adorned with gold.

As shown in this photo where I am on the left side of my sister and my brother is on the right, though my brother and I are twins, my love of fashion and attention to detail when getting dressed always set me apart and even earned me the nickname “Kyle with Style.”

I had been interested in fashion from as early as I could remember and had always been interested in looking my best…and as far away from traditional male stereotypes as I could get. I’d wear skinny jeans and fitted t-shirts of all colors, while my brother wore boot cut jeans and any t-shirt he could find. I valued any acknowledgement of my twin brother Jake being the “masculine” or “sporty”  twin and myself earning the title of “Kyle with style.” I loved shopping, and my style was an outlet of expressing myself.

I further distanced myself from masculinity when transitioning into my true gender identity in the middle of the sixth grade. I was now able to dress as myself a girl, but still found pigeonholed or limited myself to strict gender stereotypes.  I thought that if I didn’t dress obviously feminine there was no chance I’d ever be seen as a girl. In limiting myself in something as fun and free as fashion, I became unhappy. I truly loved being what I deemed extremely feminine in my everyday life, as I truly was and remain a very feminine, girly person, but over time I did come to see that I did not need to limit myself. There is and never was any need to prove anything to anyone, and I am no less feminine when I wear joggers than the classmate sitting next to me, who had the privilege of being born female both physically and mentally.

As a freshman in high school, I am now not only fully comfortable in my own skin, but also in my own clothes.

Today, I can find myself comfortable in almost anything. I am finally to a point where nothing makes me feel less feminine, and where my choice to dress in very feminine ways is a preference, not a necessity. Many people think that upon transitioning, people know exactly who they are,  but that’s not the case. In every circumstance, people are always growing, changing, learning, and overcoming, and for me, my journey with fashion was just one component of becoming the person I was always meant to be.