Stepping “out” in Style

BravoBy Mallorie DeRiggi

I read a recent blog article this month that came out of the Bravo network; they were doing an interview with Tabatha Coffey, the highly acclaimed and very popular hair stylist from Australia who made her television debut as a contestant on the Bravo show “Shear Genius.” Her hard hitting and straight talking style earned her own show, “Tabatha Takes Over” where she is brought into struggling hair salons and businesses to help them get their affairs in order and regain success. Tabatha’s show has been a hit and is in its 5th season currently on Bravo. During her time on television, she has revealed she is a lesbian and has been in a committed relationship for more than a decade. She generally keeps her personal life pretty low key but at the same time she hasn’t been afraid to talk about it if asked. She has done plenty of interviews and there is no doubt that she is advocate for the community on and off her show.

Recently however, she has been receiving some criticism within the community that she dresses too well to be a lesbian. Apparently dressing well is something only reserved for the gay male community?

In response to this criticism in the Huffington Post, Coffey believes, ““…that lesbians “do get stereotyped all the time.”” People are often surprised that the style guru is openly gay. “It bothers me because I don’t know what we’re ‘supposed’ to look like. I just don’t get it and I hate stereotypes whatever they are… all we can keep doing is showing all the different varieties of us, proudly.”

Her response is not only true, but it reminds me that stereotypes are often times embedded even within our community. What is a lesbian or any LGBT person supposed to look like? Yes, there are a variety of tell-tale signs in how someone dresses or appears to others that may give it away, but really as time has progressed and more social equality has been achieved, those tell-tale signs have become less noticeable, less defined even to somebody who is gay themselves. In a way I would say that your gaydar has to be sharper and more refined than ever, because style trends are crossing boundaries.

I would like to think my gaydar is pretty well-honed but I have mistakenly pegged my share of straight girls who I thought were lesbian or bi (or at least I was hoping they were!) I usually try not to jump to conclusions though without a bit more tangible evidence. It’s really up to you how you express your sexuality to others. You owe nothing to anybody to dress and present yourself in a certain way. Maybe you’re very feminine and some people can’t see you as being a lesbian. Who cares? The people who are worth it won’t judge a book by its cover and will want to try and get to know you regardless. Stereotypes will never completely go away but it’s fair to say that there are no rules or definitions of how somebody should look or dress to own their sexuality. In 2013, if you like her and you’re not sure about her sexual orientation; put in the work to find out and get to know her! That’s the best gaydar you can have. Otherwise, you may never know what you may have missed out on!

Guest Blogger – Mallorie DeRiggi
TeamMallorieMallorie DeRiggi is a 20 something marketing manager and communications professional who moved to Chicago over 3 years ago at the start of her career.  Mallorie works in the software/internet marketing space and possesses a strong creative ability to communicate ideas and develop strategy to make those ideas persuasive to others.  She loves to travel and has had a passion for learning new things about the world ever since she was little.  She speaks Italian and Spanish and is working on learning another language in the future.  She loves to write and is in the process of writing a novel.  She has passion for LGBT advocacy, politics, fashion, technology, cooking and following her favorite hockey team.  In her free time, she’s often out and about at different restaurants and bars hanging out with her friends or going out dancing on occasion.

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