Gender is the elephant in the room. This fact hits home whenever I do something as seemingly mundane as going to the restroom. Male or female? Why do I have to make this decision? Why do I feel in danger Why am I forced to think about CeCe Mcdonald the young, Black transgendered woman who after being verbally and physically assaulted is now in prison for second degree manslaughter because she defended herself. This is the problem.
Gender is being read, policed and judged on the battlegrounds of our bodies everyday. When you have a body that does not present either masculinity or femininity in the “right way” you become an easy target. The plight of transfolk is essentially an ontological one, we are questioning what our bodies mean and how we can exist in the world. Unless this issue is addressed on a ground level transgender people will continue to be disempowered. Thinkers such a the French postmodernist, Michel Foucault have taught us that power is not a force that operates top-down, but one which operates between us.
However, we are approaching era in which a national gay agenda is being formed e.g., an increasing number of states now allow same-sex marriage. Yet, when the glass bottle came crashing against Cece’s face gashing her cheek open, marriage must have been the last thing on her mind. Neoliberal politics offers top-down solutions to address grassroots level obstacles. In LGBT politics, the “T” continues to be forgotten. We also forget that in the summer of 1969 it was the retaliation of Transfolk, cross dressers, and drag queens against the police that truly incited the Stonewall Riots. Although they are intertwined, sexuality is different than gender; when we simply focus on sexuality we don’t see how the material reality of our bodies is taken for granted.
Since many trans people do not see a place for themselves in the world, they are most successful when they create themselves in the world. Qamillion is a company that provides clothing, objects of power, and survival techniques to the transgender market. We believe that manifesting an intelligible cannon of beauty beyond the bounds of male and female will imbue our clients with personal power dignity and courage. We must not forget that beauty is inspiring and this movement will not only transform those who embody it but also those who witness it.
The Success of Qamillion lies in its niche market status. The transgender market is one that is waiting to be reached. Although there are a few up and coming fashion lines that focus on androgynous style most of these companies do not have the expansive vision that Qamillion does. Qamillion does not simply put male clothes on women or female clothes on men but also works to construct clothing that is in itself transgender. Our clothing will allow our clients to become the artists of their own bodies.
Yet, we believe that the most innovative and contentious element of Qamillion is that it also helps our clients pass as “real” men and “real” women. We understand that even though our fashion will work to create space and representation for transgender bodies, we have a long way to go. This notion of passing entails the pursuit of a unique art form that requires a close examination of what our society considers a “real” man or woman. In this way we will help our clients stand out when they want to and blend in when they have to.